Peak(s):  Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Mt. Bierstadt  -  14,060 feet
Sawtooth, The  -  13,780 feet
Date Posted:  07/23/2014
Date Climbed:   07/22/2014
Author:  Trotter
Additional Members:   Housefly
 Sawtooth Route through Bierstadt and Evens  

Met up with Housefly in Denver and headed to the Bierstadt TH of Guanella Pass. Got a good start at 6 am. We pushed pretty hard and summited at 8 am. We felt pretty good about a 2 hour climb. Spent a few minutes catching our breath and headed to the Sawtooth. Neither of us had done it before, but both of us had seen it from Bierstadt or Evens on previous hikes. When I had first seen it I thought it looked impossible. So we were pretty pumped up.

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Sawtooth from Guanella Pass.

We started the decent to the lowest notch. There is still a fairly large hard snow patch on the trail. We didn't want to descend all the way beneath it, so we decided to cross it. The top inch was soft and slippery, beneath that was very hard and impossible to kick a toehold into using just our boots. So we slithered and slipped our way across it.

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Slippery snow

When we got to the second sawtooth, we decided to go the low path rather then the high path. The 14ers app pictures were helpful in figuring out routes.

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Low Route

However, the routes were well marked with Cairns and enough people had taken the routes to make tiny paths in between the rocks. We did manage to get a little too high once and had to descend back to the path, which caused housefly to scrape his arm. This arm scrape must have been rubbed with salt and acid since I had to hear about it constantly the rest of the hike

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Class 3

We finally crossed the ridge to the west side. That ledge that takes you out looks terrifying, till you get onto it and see its actually several feet wide.

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Sawtooth ledge. Looks scary


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Actually a few feet wide.


We headed out the sawtooth and headed for Mt Evans. Along the way we saw some mountain goats, including a baby one.


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Goats

We topped out on evens at 11 am. Watched the tourists and listened to them complain about the tough "hike" from the parking lot. We headed back down to Guanella pass trail. The trail is really hard to find in the rocky meadows, so we just headed towards the gully. The gully trail is very rocky, dusty, and full of scree so it was a pain.

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Gully


After we popped out of the gully, theres about a nice half mile of meadow until you hit the willows.

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Nice Meadow


The willows sucked. The path is either muddy, or underwater. We frequently had mud over the top of our boots. Also, the trail is so narrow that you are continually whipped by the willow branches. So, 3 miles of slogging through the mud and willows until we finally hit the Bierstadt trail. I helpfully utilized this time to frequently complain about the 5 blisters I ended up getting from hiking in soggy boots . We made it back to the TH by 3 pm, so we were pretty proud overall for our speed.

So in conclusion, if you hate hiking through ankle deep mud and narrow willows, then this route back to TH is not for you.

We also saw some CFI workers working on the Bierstadt trail. We appreciate their efforts.



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