Peak(s):  Mt. Evans  -  14,264 feet
Date Posted:  05/12/2010
Date Climbed:   05/09/2010
Author:  outsidemike
 Mt Evans- West Ridge/ Ski (Willow Curse)   

We were able to drive all the way up the pass from Grant (Hwy 285) to about 11,200 ft where the gate was closed.
From the gate the road was mostly dry and made for an easy mile and a half hike in. The snow was patchy but firm in the morning across the willow traverse. Once we neared the summit ridge rise, the willows became thick and the trail disappeared. We were able to squeeze through the willows without sinking too bad in the snow although my poor dogs was quite tired at this point (it was his first 14er).
Once above the willows, the snow disappeared on the south face completely and we were able to make good time up the ridge.
The snow was patchy all of the way to the summit and was firm enough to walk easily up. Near the summit, the ridge snow became a bit steep and needed some added traction to cross safely. An ice ax was quite helpful here for added safety.

The patches of snow on the way down were steep enough to glissade easily and we had a good ski the down the only gully with snow on the SW face of the West Evans Ridge although there was only about 1000 vert ft to ski.
Once back to the valley, we began the slow trudge back to the road. The snow had softened the valley significantly and we sank repeatedly to our waist in the rotted snow (even with my 185cm x 105mm skis). One person in our party was on snowshoes and they proved to be almost useless at that point in the day. Once back at the road, the hike out was quick and easy.
There were a few great looking runs coming down the NE face of Bierstadt that ran from the summit all the way down to Abyss Lake that would definitely be worth the carry.

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