Ascent of Mount Evans on 2012-08-14

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Petter Bjørstad
Date:Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Evans
    Elevation:14264 ft / 4347 m

Ascent Trip Report

After our morning ascent of Puma Peak, we get gasoline and food in Jefferson village; I suggest a quick visit to Mt Evans as it's a drive-up P600... and end up doing the full traverse via Bierstadt and the Sawtooth Ridge! Petter has done all this years ago and kindly drops me of at the Guanella Pass, agreeing to drive round and meet me at the Mt Evans parking lot (just below the summit) in a few hours. An August afternoon ascent in Colorado can often be risky due to thunderstorms but today the weather is set fair and remains so all afternoon.

The trail, rather counter intuitively starts (N39.59649 W105.71014, 3545m) at the top corner of the car park, near the toilet block. There is a signboard, then an obvious trail which descends through dense willow scrub to cross a small creek (N39.59412 W105.69712, 3507m) then climbs to the summit of Bierstadt, with impressive views of the Sawtooth Ridge at several points along the way.

The final climb to the summit is on boulders, with a fine view opening to the R of the ridge. At the summit (N39.58255 W105.66888, 4292m) I visit a few boulders vying for highpoint honours, make a brief unsuccessful attempt to get the summit register open, and photograph the summit trig plaque (on examining my photo I'm intrigued to see the word "Rob" in the same font as "Bierstadt", seeming to suggest the surveyor's name was Rob. Petter points out that Bierstadt is quite similar to Bjorstad...

Descending towards the ridge I notice there's a clear trail bending R: this may be the line which bypasses the first half of the ridge completely, on the R, descending directly to the saddle. However I'm keen to do some scrambling so I keep on or close to the ridge crest all the way down. The rock is mostly sound and makes for enjoyable scrambling.

In the vicinity of the col is a fairly complex area with two notches and two spires: I bypass the first spire on a trail but try to go over the second bigger spire, without success, making a couple of attempts to descend before I find a Class 3 route which leads down to the cairned trail which leads to the Bierstadt saddle (xxx, implying P243 approx for Bierstadt.

Beyond the saddle the Sawtooth Ridge rears up quite dramatically. To the L I see cairn making the start of a bypass ledge. This seems to be missing out on the fun so I keep R, climb an easy steep gully then scramble up R, leading to a ridge. This connects directly with the W ridge of Evans but the ground is complicated, with a choice of routes. I ignore an obvious trail going L in favour of a more scrambly route keeping farther R: this doesn't go quite where I expected and I have a fiddly out of balance Class 4 downclimb before I'm at last on the slopes of Evans.

I contour round on easy, fairly exposed ledges at 4130m then the traverse angles upward to meet the W ridge of Evans at a cairn (N39.59140 W105.66540). Glancing at the GPS indicates that Evans is still nearly 2 km away: rather more of an effort than was expected. I walk up to the nearby summit (The Sawtooth) to enjoy the views back along the Sawtooth ridge, down into the cwm and along to Evans. Then I jog down to the col and commence the Evans climb, leading via a good trail to a neck. Then Evans rears up steeply and it seems unclear what exact route to take. The crest seems tricky in places; partly I follow it; partly I traverse below it on the R side. In this way I bypass West Evans then from its E saddle, more or less follow the fine blocky crest to Evans itself, enjoying the views down L to the Evans access road and Summit Lake.

Mt Evans summit (N39.58834 W105.64369)has 3 survey markers (trig, BM and some kind of blank bolt, presumably a backup) plus a couple of defunct summit register containers; the highest point is a large boulder. I see our SUV manoeuvring in the parking lot just below (Petter arrived a couple of hours ago and has been people-watching on the summit). I jog down a decent stony trail to the car and we drive back to Denver. Next day another classic 14er scramble - Longs Peak.

Bierstadt + Evans photo album
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4143 ft / 1262 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1666 ft / 507 m
    Round-Trip Distance:13.7 mi / 22 km
    Grade/Class:Yds 3
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3388 ft / 1032 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2633 ft / 802 m; Extra: 755 ft / 230m
    Loss on way in:755 ft / 230 m
    Distance:6.8 mi / 11 km
    Route:Bierstadt and Sawtooth Ridge
    Start Trailhead:11631 ft / 3545 m
    Time:3 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:911 ft / 277 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 156 ft / 47 m; Extra: 755 ft / 230m
    Gain on way out:755 ft / 230 m
    Distance:6.8 mi / 11 km
    Route:Bierstadt and Sawtooth Ridge
    End Trailhead:Summit parking lot  14108 ft / 4300 m
    Time:5 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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