Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tour d' Abyss- Mt. Bierstadt-Sawtooth-Mt. Evans

Date Climbed: 06/09/2011
Peaks: Mt. Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Mt. Evans
Route: Tour d' Abyss- Class 3 3000' 5 miles
Start: 6:40 am  End: 10:40 am

Josh, Michael, and I drove up to 13300' on Mt. Evans road and started off on the trail. The trail led to a gully that dropped down into the valley in between Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans.

Half way down the gully
Once we reached the bottom of the gully we made our way across the valley through some marsh-like terrain. Josh's shoes got soaked, mine are lined with gortex so my feet stayed dry. On the other side of the valley we were met with the most exhausting part of the climb, a large grass slope to the East Ridge of Bierstadt.
Near the top of the grass slope
View from ridge
Once we gained the ridge the fun class 3 climbing started. The climbing was very exposed at times. The most fun part of the East Ridge were the grass ledges. The ledges were only a few feet wide and were bordered by a deadly drop.
The grass ledges
Mt. Bierstadt from the highpoint on the East Ridge
Josh and Michael on Point 13, something'
From the high point on the East Ridge, we continued to scramble on both large and small boulders all the way to the summit of Bierstadt.
Summit of Bierstadt looking toward the next objective...The Sawtooth
On the summit looking toward the East Ridge
After we summited Bierstadt, we talked about our next objective... The Sawtooth. I overheard another group talking about the same route, a few of the other group expressed that they were gonna pass because they were worried about the difficulty and the reports of the women who had slipped and died on it weeks earlier. We decided to go for it. Glad we did because it was very, very easy. The exposure was pretty intense. The route up the Sawtooth is on a ledge covered in loose dirt and rocks and to the left is a 1000' drop. However, it felt very safe and secure.
Loose conditions on The Sawtooth
Josh on the Sawtooth traverse... the exit can be seen in the top of the photo
After the over hyped Sawtooth traverse we made our way to the trail for the West Ridge of Mt. Evans. The trail to Mt. Evans summit was very easy and straight forward. We hung out on the top for awhile and shot some summit photos. There were a lot of people on the summit, since Mt. Evans has the highest paved road in the U.S. After the summit we made our way back to the car.
Summit Diving Board
Josh on the Diving Board

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