Ascent of Mount Evans on 2014-08-21

Climber: Dan Hildebrand

Date:Thursday, August 21, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Evans
    Elevation:14264 ft / 4347 m

Ascent Trip Report

My first 14er!

I was planning on doing my first 14ers the next day, but I managed to get out of my conference in Denver a little earlier than anticipated and needed something today. Having done plenty of research on 14ers before heading to the state, I knew that afternoons weren't exactly the ideal time to head to the mountains, but when Mt. Evans was the most highly rated Denver attraction on TripAdvisor, I know I had to at least drive up and experience life about 14K.

Naturally, it was hailing as I drove up the road (at least I knew to expect it) but when I got up to summit lake, the clouds broke and the hail slowly turned to sunshine. I wasn't planning on it, but as long as the weather held, I wanted to get to the top on my own power.

I strolled past the lake and towards the trail up to Mount Spalding. My first vertical ascent in CO high elevations was a little rough. I was doing some really killer hikes on the east coast over the last few months, but moving up at this altitude was a bit of a shock! Of course I trudged on and adjusted my normal breakneck pace for the lack of O2.

I quickly hit Spalding and launched over the ridge towards Evans. I'm pretty sure I spent as much time off the trail as on, but it's all pretty passable. I hit the summit and enjoyed a few minutes of triumph over attaining 14K at long last.

Unfortunately, I felt guilty, because this seemed like the cheater way of getting up. In order to ramp the mileage a bit, I decided to walk down access road, hitting all of the switchbacks along the way. That tactic worked pretty well, I ended up at almost 9 miles, which didn't quick feel like cheating anymore. After looking at my GPS and seeing 1800' of elevation gain, I think I'm OK with my drive-almost-to-the-top first 14er.
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