Ascent of Mount Evans on 2008-10-18

Climber: David Foster

Others in Party:Vaune
Date:Saturday, October 18, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Evans
    Elevation:14264 ft / 4347 m

Ascent Trip Report

Intended to follow the gps track of Middlebrooks seems to have gone way up on the shoulder of Bierstadt to avoid the swamp. There were some foot prints right at the toe of the mountain, which we started to follow, but then looked to swampy. Probably should have stayed, as willows up the slope were taller. We ended up going about halfway as high as Middlebrook, then dove back down to the flat about when turning the corner East.
Crossed the creek on one of many beaverdams. Then to avoid postholing in maybe 8" of snow (on the North side of Bierstadt, ascended up to traverse on the south facing side of slope, free of snow. Continued traverse until gully got so narrow had to get into it. Here there was a noticeable trail...there might have been trail below, but covered with snow? Gully was dry, but very steep and rock. Slope was probably 35 degrees. Trail switchbacked alot, lots of big rocks.
Top of Gully widened quickly. Saw a beautiful Mtn Goat in heavy, heavy coat. Needed to change direction up here, per the Middlebrook track. Could see what we thought was summit of Evans 9but turned out to be Western false summit...the ridge continued away along our approach bearing. Lots of postholing here, tried to move to islands of rock.
Gained the ridge as planned, found several cairns to confirm this. Saw some cairns disappearing back to the south side of the ridge and mistakenly thought they were to Abyss Lake. Turned out the trail actually dropped down over the ridge, then back up. Contour lines on map to close to see this happening, so mistakenly attempted to climb along the ridgeline to what looked to be the summit. We gained several false summits after alot of Class3 scrambling and without confirming Cairns. Eventually used Middlebrooks track on zoomed in GPS and found the trail to be down on the south side of the ridge. After heading this way alittle while, we saw some cairns traversing the ridge. This was much, much easier travelling then the Class 3 stuff.
Didn't know exactly where the summit was, so started heading for the observatory. A little ways in this direction, gps showed we should go back West, i.e. didn't need to get on the road. Trail was quickly found, it was broad as it is where people in cars climb.
Nice view from summit, but had to leave quickly as we were way behind schedule, and would likely return in the dark. Returned on the trail and confirem that we mistook the cairn thot to be descending to Abyss lake. Snow on the trail added to the confusion.
Returned the way we came until reaching the Beaver dams. Tried staying on the south facing slope as long as possible, to avoid postholing. Ended up gaining forested slopes to the west of swamps, but required several 100 feet of bushwhacking. Forest travel was easy, but decided to abandon to T into Scott Gomer trail, rather than parallel it. This required 100's of yards of swamp slogging, probably made worse by melting snows. Fortunately were able to find fords across the creek to meet the trail about where we first considered leaving it, i.e. east of the creek so we had to cross again. In retrospect, if we had kept a little more west, we didn't even need to cross the creek. But, might have been thwarted by a pond or such.
Back to the cars at end of useable light. The road was under construction, approx. 2 miles around the reservoir. It was said to have closures durning work days. Above the reservoir the road was PAVED...apparently done in the past year.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3964 ft / 1207 m
    Extra Gain:350 ft / 106 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.4 mi / 15.1 km
    Route:Scott Gomer Creek & Sawtooth Gully
    Trailhead:Guanella Pass  11000 ft / 3352 m
    Grade/Class:Class2 except first
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Perfect weather saved the trip
Ascent Statistics
    Time:6 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 45 Minutes

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