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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-03-01||Route: West Slopes
Info: Guanella Pass was clear all the way to the winter trail head. I left the lot at 7:50 and put on my snowshoes as soon as I got to the snow packed road. There was a nice 2-4 inches of fresh powder, but I could still make out previous tracks. I am sure that spikes would have been fine, but I didn't want to have to carry my snowshoes - and it was just easier to have them on. The 1.25 miles up the road was beautiful and quiet, with occasional gusts of wind and snow. As soon as I reached the Bierstadt Trail parking lot, the wind was about as brutal as I have seen here. As usual, it was blowing directly from the east - bringing some extra power this morning. The trail was easy to find for the short trek to the large sign, but was nearly impossible to find after that due to the constantly moving snow drifts. I occasionally found some previous snowshoe tracks (I was the only car and only person out here today) and did my best to follow them. Since the wind was mostly at my back, I was able to see a decent distance in front of me. From mile 1.3 to about 2.5, I struggled often to find the trail, but only had a few post holes here and there. From mile 2.5 the trail was easily visible, and around mile 4, the snowshoe trail deviated left of the actual trail. I realized that I was off the official trail, but I was on firm snow and cutting off some distance by following the previous tracks. I did this for about half a mile where I ended up tacking off the snowshoes since I was traversing almost completely on the rocks (I probably could have taken them off earlier, but I wanted to see what the snow was like near the top). With the snowshoes off and the wind blasting harder than ever, the peak was in sight and I joyfully hiked the final pitch. Although I did have spikes with me, the wind was too brutal for me to stop and put them on. (It was so cold, my GoPro and iPhone both were not able to turn on.) I hung out at the top for just enough time for a few pictures, and then headed back down. Usually this is the easiest part of the hike, but I now had to endure four miles of 50+ mph head winds blasting snow and ice in my face making it near impossible to see more than a few feet in front of me. I maintained my original trail for only a short time where I soon found myself far off path and post holing far more than I wanted to. At around mile 5.6, I deviated SW of the trail and ended up finding the trail again around mile 6.4 - to where the original trail was nearly impossible to spot due to the ever blowing snow. Overal, it was an easy hike with difficult elements. Snowshoes were a must and goggles would have helped greatly. Link to my Garmin Report: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1070038339
|2016-02-28||Route: West Slopes
Info: Firstly the guanella pass is closed 1.7 miles from trailhead (3.4 miles added to total route). But anyways we started at 7 a.m. and didn't finish for 11 hours! We stopped and relaxed a lot but if you are doing this in the winter, give yourself time!! Snow shoes in the meadows would have been extremely helpful but not necessity and boot spikes were a plus. I personally didn't wear mine and I did just fine. The snow adds one hell of an extra element but all in all if you are looking for a challenging but safe winter 14er, this is it!
|2016-02-20||Route: West Slopes
Info: Started at 8:30ish. 12 miles round trip exactly from parking lot. Trail was good all the way (minor post holing), brought snowshoes and didn't need them at all! Very windy, especially on top. Felt like 50+ mph constant winds. Wind didn't bother us, we dressed appropriately. Gear: Microspikes, Gortex windbreaker outshells, ski mask and ski goggles with warm boots and gloves made it all happen comfortably. Pictures show trail conditions.
|2016-02-20||Route: West Slopes
Info: Snowshoes aren't necessary but are recommended. I used them for about 2/3rds of the trail. Microspikes might be nice afterwords as there is lots of hard, windblown snow towards the top.
|2016-02-14||Route: West Slopes
Info: Cold.... The road is closed at the Guanella Pass Campground exactly 1.7 miles from the summer TH. 3.4 extra round trip. Reached the summer TH at 4:30am. Continued on with our headlamps following a slightly visible snow-packed trail. The winds were strong even from the very start. We brought snowshoes, but actually didn‘t use them the entire trip. If you did venture off the trail, you found yourself in knee deep of snow. We got to the peak of Bierstadt just before 7am as the sun was rising. The last few hundred feet to the top was definitely the most treacherous as we were scrambling from rock-to-rock nearly getting pushed over a few times. The plan was also to attempt Mt. Evans via Sawtooth, but the brutal winds made us weary and the route unappealing. Once, we got back below treeline, the winds had tapered off alittle and it actually was a beautiful day. BH
|2016-02-06||Route: West Slopes
Info: I wore spikes up Guanella road just for extra grip. Not needed but stay on the packed route or you may fall into knee deep snow. From the TH on, snowshoes are good to have. Postholing even a few inches the whole way will wear you down. It was pretty windy and miserable yesterday.
|2016-01-23||Route: West Slopes
Info: Road closed at campground. Hard packed snow up to Guanella Pass, fine without traction / flotation. Snowshoes needed for willows and beyond.
|2016-01-11||Route: West Slopes
Info: The road is closed at the Guanella Pass Campground exactly 1.7 miles from the summer TH. 3.4 extra round trip. The road is easy to walk. I did not get the summit because I did not bring snow shoes which are absolutely necessary to get through the willows to the base of the west slopes. Bring snow shoes or some sort of flotation device.
|2015-12-27||Route: West Slopes
Info: Road Closure is just past the Guanella Pass campground.The road is plowed, but snow covered till the closure. Any car with good tires would be able to get there. Road above closure to trailhead has a bootpack. Was able to hike up without snowshoes or spikes. Thanks to the people who hiked up there today, there is a nice path though the marshes. Just after the stream crossing, it heads uphill. there is also a good bootpath to the top of the ridge. from the ridge to the peak, the snow is unconsolidated, sometimes hard windslab, sometime soft. snowshoes are needed from the parking lot to the summit.
|2015-12-06||Route: West Slopes
Info: The summer road to Guanella Pass was closed when coming from the north. The road to the lower parking lot had a lot of icy patches and winter tires are recommended. Trail was well-packed snow and although we had snowshoes, they were unnecessary. Microspikes would have been handy. Conditions were good overall.
|2015-11-21||Route: West Slopes
Info: The road was passable from both directions this morning, but from Grant almost to the TH was deep snow. Georgetown to the TH was plowed but slightly slippery in the corners. I didn‘t get very far along the trail before I reached waist deep snow and decided to turn around and come back later. Was counting on someone else breaking the trail today since I don‘t have snowshoes yet, so I was under prepared for such deep snow.
|2015-11-15||Route: West Slopes
Info: Road is clear to the Guanella Pass summit although a bit icy in sections. Left the trailhead at 7:30am with perfect conditions. Trail was well packed the entire way. Microspikes were extremely helpful (especially on the decent). Crystal clear skies on the summit with moderate wind gusts. Basically a perfect day!!!
|2015-11-08||Route: West Slopes
Info: The trail was entirely covered in snow once you passed the first couple plank ‘bridges‘. The snow was well packed in all but a few places, but was up to about 12-14 inches off the trodden path. I managed the whole way in trail runners with no spikes or poles but it absolutely would have been easier with them. Perfect weather too! There wasn‘t a cloud in sight and it wasn‘t too windy even at the summit. RT took a little over 4 hours with a couple short breaks. I couldn‘t have asked for a better day for my 1st 14er!
|2015-11-07||Route: West Slopes
Info: Some snow up to the first ridge, above the ridge snow 2-16 inches. Microspikes were crucial. The boot packed trail above the first ridge seems a little longer than the actual trail. Was a perfect day to climb with no clouds in sight.
|2015-11-06||Route: West Slopes
Info: Guanella Pass is still open as of today (11/6) but snow packed and icy in spots (they are keeping it sanded). Light snow all morning with gentle winds - my car was reading in the mid 20s at the TH. Trail is now fully covered in snow (mostly powder) - anywhere from 3 to 12 inches depending on location. As a first timer, I wouldn‘t have been able to hike the trail had someone not beat me to it by about 30 minutes (I followed his prints). Microspikes are a must. I made it up to the Northwest Shoulder and made the decision to turn back because of erratic visibility (I‘m a noob - no risk taking, especially since I was flying solo). Hiking back down, all sets of prints were nearly covered and barely visible; by the time I got back to my car, Evans and Bierstadt were both engulfed with snow clouds. Gorgeous climb; looking forward to a summit next spring!
|2015-11-02||Route: West Slopes
Info: Camped overnight on Sunday to get an early start on Monday. The trail through the lower section in the willows was mostly hard ice while the upper sections were snow packed. The summit was quite cold and gusty. Got much warmer on the way down and the lower icy sections turned to mud. This was my first 14er and it was spectacular. Thanks to everyone on 14ers.com and all the resources here I was well prepared, knew exactly where to go and what to expect.
|2015-11-02||Route: West Slopes
Info: Hiked from 8am to 1pm on Monday with beautiful sunny weather but freakish wind gusts on the summit, with wind chills in the single digits to teens. The summit wind gusts were so bad that I could barely get my gloves off to take a picture before my fingers started to get numb. Also, I can‘t stress enough how important micro spikes are for Mt. Bierstadt‘s current condition. Maybe half of the people I saw today weren‘t wearing them and they were all miserable. The first third of the trail is slush/mud, the second third is ice, and the final third is rather deep powder on the steepest section, so I had my spikes on the whole hike and I didn‘t fall once, whereas people without them were slipping and sliding all over the place. The trail is very well-marked and easy to follow in most places and as long as you stick to the footprints, you won‘t fall into deep snow. However, this all could change with snow showers expected to dump 10" on Bierstadt 11/4-11/5.
|2015-10-31||Route: West Slopes
Info: I started my solo ascent around sunrise yesterday morning (10/31). The trail was snow-packed most of the way. There was some minor post-holing on the ascent to the ridge, but not enough to warrant snow shoes. Micro-spikes were sufficient for me, and there were only a couple instances of slippage. The weather was almost perfect, but it was a bit windy most of the day. I had the summit to myself at one point, which really was a special experience. It was a beautiful hike.
|2015-10-24||Route: West Slopes
Info: I went up this morning around 9:00 or so with a friend of mine. This was my first 14er, so I approached it pretty cautiously. It was decently cold initially, so we were bundled up and ready to go. About 30 minutes into the trip, we began unziping our jackets and taking off a layer because it was decently warm once you got going. We got past the halfway point (1.75m) without much trouble as most of the snow was packed down, so it was easy to walk on. But once we went past that it was a bit more difficult. The snow got deeper, and less packed down, so you had to be careful with your steps. There weren‘t a ton of rocks during this part, so it made it a lot tougher. Around 10:30 some of the wind started to blow pretty hard making it pretty cold, and a lot of snow began to blow into the path, making it harder to navigate. Once we made it to about the 13,300‘ mark, there were a lot more rocks, making it easier to keep good footing. Throughout the last stretch, the weather began to cooperate. There was nearly no wind, and the sun came out which made it warmer. Through the last 700‘ I didn‘t wear gloves because it was decently warm. At the summit, it was perfect out, no wind and there were a lot of hikers up there with us. The descent wasn‘t too hard, but making it back down that final pitch is fairly difficult. Once we got back down to the 13,300‘ mark, we took off our jackets because it was fairly warm while you were hiking. We had to watch our step on the way down, as it was easy to slide in some of the snow, I would advise some sort of spikes, but it wasn‘t necessary in our case. Once we made it back to the halfway point, the rest of the hike down is really easy. Overall it was a great day, with great weather for the most part. Would highly recommend this route to someone doing their first 14er. The path is easy to follow throughout the journey, but make sure to bring plenty of water, and take your time.
|2015-10-24||Route: West Slopes
Info: I left the lower parking lot at around 6:00AM it was roughly 20-30 degrees (F) with minimal wind less that 5MPH. Was a good hike and slowly warmed up as we went up the trail. at the last saddle, roughly 600 feet below the summit the wind picked up to a steady 20 MPH or so with gusts up to 40mph. The temp on the summit itself was about 15 degrees (F). It was so cold I didn‘t even take a picture from the summit, I was there about a minute and then started my descent, the plan was to do the saw tooth ridge as well, but it had a lot of snow on it and the wind was too high. There is about 6 inches of snow on the lower parts of the mountain with drifts up to 5feet as you ascend, we where potholing up to our thighs quite frequently higher up. Gaiters and crampons/ yak tracks / micro spikes would be useful. sky was clear untill around 10:00AM where some clouds started to form, nothing serious.