Mt. Evans - West Ridge via Mt. Spalding
Climbing mountains is dangerous! Please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively. A GPS or cell phone can be very helpful with navigation but you should still be able to use a map+compass in case your device stops working.
(WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. Even the "easy" 14ers (Quandary, Sherman, Grays & Torreys) can be deadly in winter.
|Difficulty:|| Class 2 |
|Total Gain:||2,000 feet|
|RT Length:||5.5 miles if you return over Mt. Spalding.|
4.5 miles if you descend the Northeast face back to Summit Lake.
|USGS Quad.:||Mount Evans|
|County Sheriff:||Clear Creek: 303-679-2376
|National Forests:||Arapaho, Pike|
|Wilderness Area:||Mount Evans|
Take Exit 240 at Idaho Springs on Interstate 70. Drive south on Colorado 103 for 13.5 miles to Echo Lake. Pay the entrance fee and drive 9 miles up the Mt. Evans road (Colorado 5) to the Summit Lake parking area.
From the Summit Lake parking area, walk north past an old rock building to locate the start of a trail that heads toward the north end of the lake - Photo #1 and Photo #2. Hike to the north end of the lake and locate a signed trail that climbs up Spalding's east ridge - Photo #3 and Photo #4. Do not take the lower trail that goes left around the lake. Climb up through some rocks (Photo #4) to reach easier terrain on the ridge - Photo #5. Continue on the trail and, near 13,200', stay left (below) the ridge crest in order to bypass more difficult terrain up to the right. Near 13,300' (Photo #7), climb back toward the ridge crest. Taken from the summit of Evans, Photo #8 provides an overview of Spalding's east ridge. Pop out on the ridge crest near 13,400' to reach easier terrain - Photo #9. Cross a small trough and continue along the rocky ridge (Photo #10) to reach summit of Mt. Spalding ( 39.60006° N, -105.65714° W) - Photo #11 and Photo #12.
Photo #13 is a good look at Evans' west ridge. From the top of Mt. Spalding, follow cairns and/or trail segments south down to the Evans-Spalding saddle at 13,600' - Photo #14. Follow cairns south toward the end of the west ridge - Photo #15. Photo #16 looks back on the hike from Mt. Spalding. At 13,800', reach the end of the ridge and the remaining hike is a bit slow going. Continue toward a hump on the ridge (Photo #17) and reach a notch ( 39.59141° N, -105.65462° W) before the hump.
Drop to the right slightly (Photo #18) and follow the cairned trail east. The trail stays below the ridge for most of the remaining hike to the summit. From the hump on the west end of the ridge, it's almost 1 mile to the summit. Photo #19 shows the summit from a prominent bump called "West Evans" - the photo was taken by leaving the cairned trail and hiking about 75' up to the ridge to see the remaining route. Photo #20 is the view when you get close to the summit area. Hike to a corner of the summit tourist trail and follow it up toward the summit ( 39.588360° N, -105.643333° W) - Photo #21. Photo #22 looks back over the west ridge.
Return via your ascent route or carefully descend via the Northeast Face Route #5.
IMPORTANT: This route enters the Mount Evans Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the Wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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