Mount Bierstadt

Date to Climb: June 19, 2009

Date Climbed: June 8, 2009

Elevation: 14,060

Range: Front

Latitude: 39.58252, Longitude: -105.66862

Route: West Slopes ll, Class 2

Round-Trip Mileage: 6 miles

Pre-Climb Comments

Bierstadt is a fun relatively easy climb. After summiting we will start on the Sawtooth Ridge which connects the two mountains. We climbed it in 07. Jake was not with us. He plans on going with us on this trip. By our doing the route in 07 we found a way to bypass the harder sections in order to keep the route as a hard class 2 instead of a class 3. Once across the Sawtooth it is a seemingly endless walk to Evans. It is not hard, but it keeps going and going. We will start early for the long hike. I think I am going to carry sandals just to wade through the creek. Trying to avoid the willows is just too hard and very time consuming. Jake will definitely like the creek. We might need to carry extra towels for the car.

Post-Climb Comments - Mount Bierstadt

We split up Evans and Bierstadt. Winter is still in the Rockies.

It was 8:15 when we started our hike. The trail crosses the willows and despite trail construction (including boardwalks) it was still really muddy. After crossing the stream we began our slow methodical climb. We were in no hurry, we were just trying to get acclimated.

The higher we climbed, the worse the weather. It soon seemed like we were going to have another Pikes Peak kind of day (see First Hike), but it really didn't matter, we started too late for a real climb. We were just trying to stretch our legs and our lungs. Trudging along we climbed one foot at a time. Once at the snow line, our dog, Jake went wild playing in the snow. We stopped and booted him to help prevent paw injuries. He didn't mind and soon was prancing in his red boots.

Mount Bierstadt, north slope

Summer was not yet alive on the mountain. We were better prepared than on Pikes, but it was still a cold, windy, snow climb. Climbers who had started climbing at a normal hour started trickling toward us as they descended. Most were dressed for the weather. Their layered clothing was an omen to us that the weather was going to get worse. Not to be disappointed, higher on the mountain a small storm blew through giving us a few inches of new snow and chilling winds.

The winter climb of Beirstadt is more direct and thus shorter and steeper than the summer route. From the upper north slopes the winter route goes directly to the summit, bypassing most of the west ridge. Slowly we inched our way upward. Soon it became obvious we were going for the summit. After re-discussing our plans we both agreed that we did not want to walk through the willows again, so if we could find the air to get to the top, we would go for it.

Jake on Summit Bierstadt

Jake on the summit of Bierstadt

At 12:15 we summited, took a few pictures and started back down the hill. Going down was a breeze. We plunge stepped, glissaded, ran, and walked down the slippery slope. All was great, we had snuck up and climbed a peak that we were not really even trying to do.

After crossing the creek again we re-entered the world of mud and willows, but that was not our only problem - we couldn't breathe. It was only a half a mile on easy trail to the car, but it seemed endless. Finally we made it to the parking lot. It took us only two hours to descend, but we felt the pains of not being acclimated. We were happy to summit.

1 peak climbed, 53 to go.

Mount Bierstadt - June 08, 2009  check mark