Brannan also invited a friend of his, Kevin. The 3
of us met at the Share-A-Ride lot just off I70 at the
Morrison Exit. Unfortunately, there was a pretty
bad RV fire just past that exit on I70. The highway
became a parking lot. It took Brannan and Kevin much
longer to get to the lot than we expected and so we started
Finally, they both got there and we loaded up my
Blazer and headed up the hill to Georgetown and Guanella Pass. We
camped along the side of the road.
Here is a photo of Kevin and Brannan setting up tents in
|We agreed to wake up at 5AM to get an early start.
Kevin and I both had trouble sleeping. I guess I was just too
excited about the next day's climb. Apparently Brannan
had no troubles.
We got up, packed up,
ate a little bit, and most importantly got some coffee in
our systems. Then we headed up to the Mt. Bierstadt
Here is a picture of the first part of our goal... Mt
Bierstadt on the right. You can see the "saw-tooth"
right next to it.
|| We started our climb a little after 6:30.
The weather was just beautiful as the sun rose in front of
This picture is looking back toward the parking lot close
to the beginning of the climb.
Kevin did a real good job pacing us. He had some magic
"Alternate Step" breathing method that helped him keep pace.
Brannan and I both tried it and just about passed out.
Apparently, it takes some practice.
This is another photo looking back toward the parking
lot... a little bit higher up.
||Our goal slowly but surely got closer and closer.
At this point, I think I am going to point out that people
usually say Mt. Bierstadt is one of the easiest 14ers.
While this is true... Mt. Bierstadt is easier than most
(if not all) 14ers... that does not make it easy.
Every 14er is difficult, and Mt. Bierstadt is no
exception. The main route is 6 miles with 2770 feet
elevation gain. 6 miles (round-trip) doesn't sound
like much, but 2770 feet elevation gain over 3 miles is not
at all easy.
Anyway, here are me and Brannan close to the top of
Bierstadt. This just happens to be where my wife
stopped when she and I climbed Bierstadt a few years ago.
I'll never understand why she stopped here... so don't ask
It was just a quick scramble up some rocks to the top
||Here is Brannan at 14,060 feet (actually just a little
bit lower I think) with Guanella pass behind him.
of mountain after mountain is quite a site to behold.
It is extremely beautiful and the photo does not give it
justice. We could see quite a bit of the Continental
Here is Kevin and me at the top, or close to it... you can
tell Brannan is looking down on us while taking the picture
... but honest, we did make it to 14,060 feet.
It took us
a little less than 2 and a half hours to get to the top.
It would have taken me longer without two companions setting
the pace (especially one with the magic breathing method).
||Then, we were done with the "easy" class-two stuff.
We started climbing down across the "Saw-Tooth". This
is a class-three climb, so we are no longer hiking at this
This was fun, but a little scary in some spots.
All the written descriptions I've read say this part is not
as bad as it looks. I disagree. It is exactly as
bad as it looks.
But is certainly do-able... I'm living proof.
In this picture, I am actually in the lead, so I thought I
would take a quick shot of Kevin and Brannan coming down on
top of me. Apparently I was too quick, because it came
You can tell, though, that they are definitely above me.
We are definitely climbing down.
||This is another shot of the Saw-Tooth. It is fun,
but a little bit frustrating. We kept going down and
down, knowing that eventually we had a hell of a climb back
It is also sort of an exercise in faith, because you can
never see a good clear path as to where you are actually
going. You have to trust that a Cairn will present
itself and that whoever set them up was not just playing
some cruel joke on us.
This is the parking lot from the Saw-Tooth.
More impressive are the continental divide and miles and
miles of other mountains. As I said before, these
photos don't really do justice to the beauty.
||This photo is my attempt at showing just what a daunting
task this part was. I think I failed in that attempt.
However, just try to imagine that you are scrambling along
and still going down, and you see this massive rock in front
of you. You know you have to eventually get way up
there (and then higher).
I think this photo is the low spot of the Saw-Tooth. I
am looking back towards Bierstadt... and not seeing it.
The two people in the lower right hand corner are part of
another 3-person group that we ended up being around quite a
bit. We would pass them... they would pass us... it
was nice to know there were other people as foolish as us.
And coming back down, it was nice to know if we were
lost, we had others with us.
||This is a look down where we would fall. The photo
doesn't really capture how steep and dangerous it seemed at
You probably can tell from the picture, though
that falling would not be a good idea.
Here, we are finally climbing out of the Saw-Tooth.
Personally I was exhausted and began to wonder if I would be
able to make it to Evans at this point.
||We are now back to Class-Two. It is again just a
hike. I am looking back at Bierstadt.
Just a little farther along. This was a great look at
the peak of Bierstadt and its little saw-tooth.
It really looked like we are looking down at the
14er. I think that is a slight optical illusion... but we were close.
||And eventually we all made it.
Kevin kicked butt the
last "little" bit and left Brannan in his dust.
Brannan left me in his dust.
But, eventually, I did make it somehow. I got to
the top right around 5 and a half hours after starting.
That, actually, is not that bad a time.
And I felt sorry for all those suckers who drove
to the top... how much fun could that be?
The clouds started coming in and we bolted. We got
pretty lucky with the weather. I felt a few
rain-drops, but it never really rained on us.
the trip down, we skipped the saw-tooth and veered North.
The bowl is pretty marshy with no real trail. We ended
up doing quite a bit of bush-whacking. We ended hiking
with the 3-person group I mentioned above. As I said,
it was nice to have other fools around. If we got
lost, we'd be lost together.
So, we made it back down. Round trip took us until
about 2PM ... a little less than 7 and a half hours.
Brannan and Kevin both made it back to the truck before I
did. I'm sort of glad I was driving so I knew they
wouldn't take off without me (just kidding ... sort of).