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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2014-10-14||Route: West Ridge from Guanella Pass
Info: Willow areas were covered with ice in the morning and some of it almost held weight. They are certainly easier to walk through this time of year. A crunchy layer of snow was in much of the lower open areas, difficulties began after crossing Scott Gomer creek (didn‘t take the gully up). For the rest of the hike, constant post-holing with depths from ankle to mid calf, and a few unluckier steps in knee deep drifts. Harsh winds on the ridge, blowing snow up at times. Some patches were crusty enough to not break through while walking over. In the afternoon, nearing slushy/sticky snow, made the ridge and gully descent much trickier. Also, very slippery mud near the bottom of the gully.
|2014-10-11||Route: West Ridge via the West Gully
Info: Ascended via the gully to the West Ridge. Conditions were good. Significant amounts of snow above 12,000 ft. In some locations, the snow was knee deep, others it was shallow due to blowing. Snow slowed us down and made the trail more difficult to hike. Also noted some solid ice covering the ground above the gully, but it is easy to avoid. Snow was melting on our way down the mountain. Ground was still very marshy near the creek and in the willows.
|2014-09-18||Route: Tour de Abyss
Info: Tour de Abyss in perfect condition right now, no new snow. Highly recommended for experienced scramblers, do it before new snow comes, may be sketchy then. See my Mt. Evans Road update for the latest regulations and fees.
|2014-07-21||Route: Parking Lot at Top
Info: WIND! Constant nearly gale force winds from Summit Lake to top. Went with 8 year old planning on a possible West Ridge attempt, instantly called it a no-go uppon arrival at Summit Lake. Next time. For today it was fun to drive up to the top and check the view, we didn‘t even attempt the last 200 ft to summit the wind up above 14k was blow-your-hat-off fast and just cold enough to suck the air out of my boy. Fun times at altitude!
|2014-07-19||Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Info: The Sawtooth definitely still has snow on the descent from Bierstadt. It was crossable/avoidable, but a bit hairier than I would have liked (and more so than I remembered from a few years ago). I didn‘t have any traction devices or an ice axe. Previous report said he was "totally comfortable." I was okay, but I wouldn‘t say "totally." Avoiding the snow will take you off route a few times, and added some time. Contrary to a the previous condition report, it seemed that the people that descended from Bierstadt and stayed to the southeast side of the snow (with the snow to your left) almost all the way to the bottom of the snowfield were able to traverse much more quickly. This puts you below the route, and you‘ll have to climb back up a bit. I didn‘t see anyone charge straight across the snow, though, so that comparison is just amongst the groups that were avoiding snow as much as possible.
|2014-07-12||Route: Via Sawtooth from beirstadt
Info: THE SAWTOOTH IS NOT FREE OF SNOW. some guy put on here, maybe two weeks old or even three, that the sawtooth was clear and free from snow. He obviously did not hike it and was posting what he saw from the top of beirstadt. Although it is almost free from snow and only requires two snow crossings early in the traverse. One is on an intermediate slope and we did use micro-spikes. A group of hikers behind us did not have microspikes and decided to drop below the snow fields to cross on boulders and it added almost an hour to their trip by the time they hit the summit on evans. We did not have an ice axe and felt fine, totally comfortable. The total distance traveled over snow is probably only 150-200 feet in both fields, but we hit them early (8 a.m.) and the snow was rock solid and icy, a slip here would send you into the lake below, but a later crossing would probably soften up the snow enough to kick-step safely. No need for crampons, some reports say traversing with poles was stable enough. We did not have poles, but we did use microspikes and it was a great day, summer conditions everywhere else. Also we took the high route (the dotted line on 14ers.com) thru the part after the ‘exit ramp‘ and it was really pretty stable. The guy before us was walking the high line with his dog and they both pretty much scampered across with no issues. Overall great hike, sawtooth was fun.
|2014-07-12||Route: Northeast Face of Evans, Sawtooth, Mt. Spalding
Info: I hiked with five people total and started at the Summit Lake Parking area on the road to Mt. Evans at 6:30, summited Mt. Evans at 8AM via the Northeast face, worked backwards across the Sawtooth, summited Mt. Bierstadt at 11:20, back across the Sawtooth, and down via Mt. Spalding. Total time: 7:30, 8.4 miles. The Sawtooth saw regular traffic (a party every half hour or so) and there were easily 200 people on top of Mt. Bierstadt. Awesome hike, huge snow field going up Bierstadt from Sawtooth/coming down Bierstadt to Sawtooth but easily avoidable on either side. Stable footing across Sawtooth and easily passable. Route looked exactly like the pictures in the description and it made for a very successful and awesome day of hiking. Thank you 14ers.com! Fog rolled in as we came across the Sawtooth for the second time (back to Evans) but we made it down before the rain started. We also came across an individual who had fallen over backwards and hit his head and scraped his knee. Fortunately, I had a first aid kid and was able to patch him up and send him on his way. Don‘t hike alone! Enjoy!
|2014-07-06||Route: Northeast Face
Info: As most of you know the road to Summit Lake is paved and so there are no issues with any type of car getting there. The drift mentioned in other reports at the junction of the road and trail is mostly melted but you still have to watch for the trail at .6 miles from the lake. The hike is steep but short - there‘s no snow at all. There were only a couple of other hikers as most people elected to drive to the observatory. I did see bighorn sheep and mountain goats near the top.
|2014-07-05||Route: West Ridge via Mt. Spalding
Info: Summit Lake parking lot was full at 9:00 AM on a Saturday morning. The route is free of snow.
|2014-06-29||Route: West Ridge via Mt. Spalding
Info: Trail is basically completely free of snow and mostly dry. The wind was strong and cold, but the sun was out and not a cloud in the sky all day. The alpine wildflowers are blooming too! (I‘ve also included a picture of Bierstadt and the sawtooth for anyone looking for their conditions)
|2014-06-29||Route: sunrise couloir
Info: Sunrise is still in, the overhang on the cornice at the top is gone but there is now a 90 degree wall to climb over at the top. The normal exit on climbers right is out and we found an exit that only required two moves over 80 degrees on the left hand side of the snow, or you can exit on the rocks to the right hand side. We scoped out Crystal and it‘s melted out at the top. The West Ridge route is in good condition as well Here is a link to a video from the climb, I made sure to include clips where you can see the condition of the upper portion of the climb http://vimeo.com/99483353
|2014-06-14||Route: North Face Moderate
Info: We hit the base of north face moderate route at 7 am and there was some mixed climbing the last 80 feet. We exited a little to the left of the normal exit. Snow stayed firm in the shade till about 8 am. I also did a second lap and climbed the west gully at 9 am with my skis and skied down. Still a 6 foot drop off the cornice and minor runnels.
|2014-06-12||Route: Northeast Face
Info: The Northeast face is in pretty good condition. The biggest issue you will have is finding the trail off of the road since it is buried under a snow bank. Your best option is to find where the snow bank is lowest and start making your way up to connect with the trail. Over all there are only a few snow fields left on the face so snow is not an issue once you get past the snow bank next to the road.
Info: Everything on Evans looks pretty good. Very little snow on the Sawtooth where it‘s actually an issue - didn‘t don crampons or use an axe (grumble grumble all those miles, all that weight). One place that it is, is on one the last towers - there‘s a part where you scamper up a bit, before sneaking to the east. I never liked the scamper up on snow, as I usually hit it pretty late in the day, and it‘s just a mess to try. Rather, I climbed the rocks to the right. If you‘re not comfortable with that, don‘t do the route. There was minimal snow on that horrid gravel incline that seems to me at least the crux of the climb, given the exposure - I opted for the higher version of the route: you‘ll need to scramble up a slight slot before it - there‘s a dark granite hunk of rock that marks the beginning. The Snave is also still in, be aware that the easiest way is probably to exit to the climber‘s right, and that a big hunk of cornice on that exact line really really wants to calf off. I‘d say the chunk is about 5‘ square, so be very careful, it is def. detached from the rest of the cornice. Lots of other snow routes on that face look great for climbing. I passed a party of 3 that were hiking up the route to Spalding hoping to hit chutes on Grey Wolf. That would have been unwise, as they don‘t bottom out - they look real thin. I agree with the advice that one should climb UP what one wants to slide DOWN, but that‘s just me. I think it‘s obvious from the top, but that‘s not always the case. Hoo boy, talking of couloirs, there‘s a beautiful one on Rosalie Peak of all places, just beautiful, totally in, what an incredible scene. 2nd apron also looks nice and dry! The rock there looks so nice.
|2014-06-07||Route: North Face Moderate
Info: Temperature upon arrival at the Summit Lake parking lot read 32F, but skys were clear up high. Everything else below was covered in a thick cloud layer. There have been some wet sluffs on Evans but none on the north moderate route. It‘s well shaded in the morning, and we had some wind and cloud cover that prevented the sun from ever softening the surface while we were on it The north moderate route is full of graupel that is welded together pretty well in most places. In most places you can kick good steps with some effort or front point. There were a few areas that you will punch through the crust a little but these are few and far between. The top of the route is melted out and you‘ll have to do some scrambling for the ridge to the summit.
|2014-06-03||Route: Northeast Face
Info: Don‘t normally post much but didn‘t see much recently. Sorry I didn‘t get a better picture of the actual NE face. There were ski tracks off the summit parking lot. Great day. Some strong winds on the way down. We got a neighbor his first 14er hike. Great day.
|2014-06-01||Route: West Ridge from Guanella Pass
Info: I‘ll start by saying we didn‘t reach the summit but not for a lack of effort. Snowshoes would have been a huge help today as we were postholing the majority of the four miles (round trip) that we spent on the trail from the parking lot to the tree covered hill. Snow is still pretty deep in some areas (waist deep on my 6ft buddy and I) and on perfect sunny hiking days like today, it liked to give way to hidden pools of water as you traverse through what are usually the swampy areas. The banks around Scott Gomer creek are still pretty snow covered and if following the Bierstadt trail you‘ll probably have to get a running jump to get over it in the next couple of days. As you move away from the Bierstadt trail there are patches of the creek that are still snow covered and frozen over so if you are following closely to the creek you‘ll want to watch out for those so as not to accidentally fall through and end up under the ice pack. We didn‘t make it to the gully (too much postholing killed the legs and knees) but it still looked pretty snow covered and so we planned to go the long way towards Grey Wolf and Mt. Spalding. To make a long story short, perfect day for a hike...really, really needed snowshoes.
|2014-03-19||Route: West Ridge from Guanella Pass
Info: Took a day off to hike Mt. Evans with good weather & wind forecast. The road is well packed down from snowshoe/ski/snowmobile traffic. Took an early turn from the road and cut into the basin. The snow is firm enough and skis provided plenty of floatation. Skinned directly to Scott Gomer drainage and up towards Gray Wolf. Stashed skis at 12.5k and hiked to the summit and back in ski boots - not very comfortable but manageable. Fairly long day but skiing down from 12.5k made it a bit shorter. I would recommend bringing skis for this approach. Saw a big herd of sheep. Pic 1 - skinning atop the willows. SquareTop in the background Pic 2 - gaining the ridge Pic 3 - Sawtooth is looking snowy Pic 4 - area near the summit (almost dry)
|2014-03-16||Route: West Ridge from Guanella Pass
Info: Closed my winter on Mt Evans today, but figured I would post for people who might have a weekday off and are looking to sneak one last peak in before the calendar switches to Spring. -Typical winter trailhead, road has a couple of short icy patches, parking lot in good shape. -Road hike well packed out from snowmobile traffic, can carry your snowshoes, was a little softer in the afternoon so I left them on for the descent. The shortcuts for the switchbacks were not trenched, so I stuck to the road. -Trail to Bierstadt split needed to be rebroken, in the morning and again in the afternoon, despite traffic on Bierstadt. Wind wasn‘t bad but steady and enough to blow some powder into the trail, luckily it was only about angle deep. -Willow traverse was better than expect, good consolidation and mostly only ankle deep as well, also needed to rebreak on the exit -Gully in Bill‘s route description was dry, but I didn‘t take it, I left the willows early and worked through some rocks with some willow "trap" postholes, but generally good. Took this to the ridge that forms the left skyline when looking left of the gully from the route description. Stashed snowshoes before gaining the ridge (image 1, early morning so a little dark, sorry I had stashed camera on the way out) -Ridge was a mix of light snow coverage, grass and talus initially, and very windy. Topping out and traversing below Spaulding was in a wind shelter, initially ankle deep snow then weaving through talus and grass to gain the west ridge proper (image 2, aim for point in center to gain west ridge) -West ridge trail was initially snow covered and I stayed above it to avoid side hilling the snow patches. Beyond following the trail was the best option with occasionally avoiding a snow covered section on rock. Some wind, but mostly sheltered, all the way to the summit. -Image 3 is a view of the initial part of the west ridge -Image 4 is a view to the willow basin below from up high on the initial ridge.
|2014-02-09||Route: Mt. Evans Road
Info: Tried to skin up as far as I could along the Mt. Evans road for some exercise and to check out the developing Avvy conditions. I made it up about 4 miles from the Echo Lake Parking area (turned around at about 12,000 feet due to just miserable winds blowing right into me). LOTS of wind transport with this system. The western aspects of the road were almost completely scoured or solid wind slabs. My tracks were obliterated below treeline on the eastern facing sides in the 3 hours that I was out. I witnessed one large slough on a fairly tree-filled area below the road on my descent. Nothing too big, but I suspect more frequent and larger ones are coming soon. As I left, the area was getting another dump of heavy, wet snow in the form of big, fat flakes. I don‘t think conditions will be improving much over the next couple of days.