Mt. Evans  
Condition Updates  
Route: West Ridge from Guanella Pass
Posted On: 2021-11-27, By: Chicago Transplant
Info: Looped Evans, Spaulding, Gray Wolf and 12959. Very dry on my route no need for any snow gear. Most snow encountered was on the north side of Spaulding but still not enough for gaitors. Unless doing sawtooth, leave the snow gear behind. Left trail near creek crossing through open meadows and followed loose trail in trees, not much willows this way. It's farther west than the normal route but has far less willows. Talked to some guys who did sawtooth and they postholed coming off Bierstadt. You may want gaitors, microspikes and axe for that route. I didn't climb Bierstadt today. 
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Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Posted On: 2021-10-30, By: Eli Watson
Info: Summited Bierstadt > Sawtooth > Evans from Guanella Pass TH. Bierstadt There's enough Bierstadt Condition Reports out there. Microspikes would have been helpful for like 100 ft where there were some icy and snow packed rocks, but we managed without them. Sawtooth The crux of the route is getting off Bierstadt. There's a bunch of unconsolidated sugar snow on the downclimb from the summit, but we managed without traction or too much difficulty. Evans Basically dry to the summit. In addition to the usual Evans mountain goats, we saw ~24 bighorn sheep of all ages! Some were full grown and some were real young, likely born this past spring. Getting down the gully to the meadow is straightforward. There's some marshy bits but if you pick the right game trail through the willows you'll be fine, maybe a bit muddy. Splits: 11.2 mi, 4000' 7:37 TH to TH 7:24 AM (0:00) Guanella Pass TH 9:11 AM (1:47) Bierstadt Summit - 10 min Break 12:14 PM (3:03) Evans Summit - 23 min Break 3:01 PM (2:24) Guanella Pass TH 
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Route: West Ridge from Summit Lake
Posted On: 2021-09-23, By: Drone_Boss78
Info: Beautiful day. Very little wind. Cold in the mornings and warm on the South side of Evans Make sure you follow the cairns. 
Route: West Ridge from Guanella Pass
Posted On: 2021-09-18, By: Meldufva
Info: Approached Mt. Evans (Arapahoe-Cheyenne) from Guanella through the Willows. Started at 5:45 am, it was dark so route finding through the willows was difficult, however a lot of the mud and loam was frozen, which helps. Approaching, I did not find a trail until coming around the bend for the hill. After that, the trail is very defined all the way to the gully and all the way up the notch. From there, look for cairns to the summit. Coming back, there are definitive trails from the gully to the main Bierstadt trail, and they hug the hillside. Some are quite muddy. In these trails (the willows), there is quite a bit of mud but it can be avoided by taking side routes. All in all, not as terrible as others make it out to seem. My boots got half muddy, but if they are waterproof, you should have no problem. I also had my white dog with me, he got muddy to his chest, but it brushed off after 30 minutes of activity, and he was white again. Ha! Finished at 12:40. 
Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Posted On: 2021-09-17, By: Kcmartinez22
Info: Stayed high descending Bierstadt. I didn't have much light to work with but I think this makes the most sense. Dropping down doesn't appear to help at all. Read about staying high at the final tower instead of going left, which I did. I was able to avoid the scree this way and the ledges weren't very narrow at all. 
Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Posted On: 2021-09-13, By: lauradaughtry
Info: Perfect summer conditions still. I mainly wanted to post this in regards to the sections of this loop people most often complain about: the gully and the willows. The gully looks worse than it is, even with someone like me who has a weaker knee prone to injury. There is a little bit of scree and loose rock; but there are larger rocks that aid in foot-placement. My suggestion is to hug the right side of the gully while descending. You'll see the narrow trail as you get closer to the bottom, so you will eventually cut left. The willows don't deserve the gripe they receive. Route-finding was not a problem, AT ALL. No bushwhacking was necessary. Yes, there is mud in sections; but there are rocks that aid in foot placement, and if you take it slow and watch your step, you'll only end up with a little mud on your boots by the end. Bonus: the shot of willows from the top of the gully will take your breath away. The willows are turning yellow now, and they're so beautiful to walk through. Loved this route so much. 
Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Posted On: 2021-09-09, By: the_hare
Info: Mainly want to comment on the descent gully after Evans and the willow marsh. I hear a lot of griping about these features online but from our experience they were way overblown and some of the most beautiful parts of the trail. There was only one small part of the gully near the beginning that was steep and loose but the rest of it is stepped and has plenty of solid rock to tread on. Some parts of the gully look volcanic and the cliffs below look painted by rainbows. There's also a small stream in the gully where you can easily access and filter water. The trail thru the willow marsh is def muddy which fills the whole trail at times. But there's enough features to navigate around the worst parts like common trails, rocks, and grabbing on to the willow branches and walking along the side of the trail. I only briefly slipped into the mud once only bc I didn't wait for my partner to pass completely thru one mud hole first. Also, if the trail seems to split shoot left—the water collects downhill to the right. It really was cool to walk thru their marsh and see the whole valley unfold with the Sawtooth looming behind us. I'm very glad I didn't get a ride back at Evans or go up the loose and steep path back up Bierstadt. This standard Sawtooth descent only required a little extra maneuvering and it sure was worth it!! 
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Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Posted On: 2021-08-15, By: jordanthebuff
Info: Going up Bierstadt was a line of people, but the trail is wide and easily navigable. The downclimb from the summit was pretty straightforward. There was another couple people that started this part about the same time. We stayed a bit lower on the ridge than them and it seemed like we had the easier terrain. Everything was stable enough to not be too stressful. The crux was lots of fun and depending on the line you take is class 3 or 4 climbing. The route was fairly easy to follow all the way to Evans and back to the top of the descent gully. Coming down the gully started out dicey but really wasn't too bad. The rock was a little loose but better than other gullies on some standard routes. The willows were okay at best. For the first 2/3 of the willows, the trail is mostly dry and easy to follow with maybe 5-10 small areas with wet/ankle deep mud. If you get creative with your foot placement you can avoid getting your feet wet. The final 1/3 of the willows were much more difficult to follow. Lots of wet/mucky areas and the trail becomes harder to follow. We took our time to try to make sure we stayed on the best route, which helped some. At times we were bushwhacking (more like the bushes were whacking us!) pretty hard to avoid some nasty areas. Overall, I avoided getting my socks wet, though my shoes were pretty muddy, while my partner ended up knee deep at one point because he opted to go right through the mud -- bad idea. Overall, take your time through the willows and look for little side trails that cut around the muddiest areas. Or just embrace the mud, I don't care. Your choice! 
Route: West Ridge from Summit Lake
Posted On: 2021-08-11, By: marcusmartin
Info: Arrived at the Forest Service ticket office (at the H103 & H5 junction) at 7:45 am. They were there! Told me I needed a reservation, which of course I did not have. The guy was nice to tell me that if I drove 2 miles up H103 to Squaw Mtn. that there was cell service and I could get the last reservation on Recreation.gov. Drove up there and BOOM! Got the last one for 10 am. Cost $17. Drove back down and showed up again at the ticket office at 8:30 am with a 10 am reservation and the guy was so nice he just let me in. The parking lot at Summit Lake is apparently owned by the City of Denver and there is a $5 parking fee. There were 2 Forest Service personnel in the lot when I returned monitoring reservations and parking so be on notice. Hike to summit was perfect. T-Shirt and shorts. No wind. Amazingly clear day too for all the recent smoke in the area. 
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Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Posted On: 2021-08-09, By: cgobel
Info: Excellent conditions. I followed this alternate route through the final part of the traverse: https://www.mountainouswords.com/mountain-air/sawtooth-ridge-traverse-colorado/. Don't understand why this is not mentioned on 14ers.com. (Note: this higher line starts at the notch/saddle and later connects with the upper traverse above the final rock wall/slab described on 14ers.com). Excellent line (& cairned); thanks to James Dziezynski for the info! Willows: muddy and you will get wet feet, but much less unpleasant than some route descriptions suggest (pretty fun, actually). If you pay some attention you can't really get lost (w/ current conditions). 
Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Posted On: 2021-08-06, By: Sambvaughan
Info: Route was a little wet in spots, there were a couple streams, but nothing major. Little looser on the ramp than usual, but we took the higher route and found no issues. We saw one group planning on doing the willows but we did not as it would be rather terrible with the rain - if you can get a ride from summit lake or something I'd recommend that in a heartbeat. Ended up being a great day. 
Route: West Ridge from Echo Lake
Posted On: 2021-08-01, By: ColoradoNoll
Info: Minor trail washing due to excessive rains. A few rock cairns appeared to be knocked over on the western side of the ridge along Evans. Made trail navigation somewhat more difficult during foggy weather. 
Route: Bierstadt, Sawtooth, Evans
Posted On: 2021-07-14, By: Dkotula
Info: If you're planning on descending via the willows, don't do it. The entire basin is filled with water and mud. Knee deep mud in some places. I wasn't able to find any way around it. You finally find a rock on the trail and think, "I can finally take a step without resoaking my socks". Nope. The rock sinks into the knee deep mud hole along with your foot. On top of that, all of the willows still had water on them, so walking through them soaked the rest of my body to match my mud covered and also soaked legs. Immediately after exiting the gully, I wished I had climbed back over Bierstadt. Or climbed down to Evan's Summit Lake and walked via I70 back to Guanella pass. That would have been better. 
Route: West Ridge from Summit Lake
Posted On: 2021-07-07, By: lululime1702
Info: Starting our ascent at 5:45 am, clear skies, temperatures about 50 degrees F. Peaked out at 8:45 am, 3 hours total to reach the peak. Severe storms with lightening, rain, and hail, started around 11:30 am. Lots of tourists at the upper most parking lot which created quite a bit of crowding by 11am on the peak. Barely any snow, rocks were dry when hiking, some boulder hopping, and quite a bit of stepping up from rock to rock required. Usually my dog joins me on hikes, however, I would not suggest bringing your pup on this hike. The stepping up from one boulder to another would have been too much scrambling for her. 
Route: West Ridge from Echo Lake
Posted On: 2021-06-24, By: jakeandorbake
Info: Started 6:25am Wednesday, perfect summer conditions all the way up to Chicago lakes. The usual handful of "stream crossings" and annoying mud piles around the willows near the lakes, but nothing trail shoes can't handle. The snowfield right before upper Chicago is melted now to the point where it doesn't interfere with the trail at all. At the vert wall, you have a couple short snow crossings that can be easily skirted around. No unavoidable snow on-route until you're past Spalding, and even then with some boulder scrambling you could keep your shoes fully dry. It's so packed down and miniscule anyway that I'd say having traction is useless weight on this route until next snowfall. As for weather, honestly seemed reallllllly warm the whole way up - definitely did not need more than a light windbreaker. My hands get hella cold generally, but I only occasionally used hand warmers, no gloves. 6hrs moving time 
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Route: West Ridge from Summit Lake
Posted On: 2021-06-20, By: jamie09302
Info: Route is in good condition, sometimes trail is hard to follow. Almost no snow, micro spikes not necessary. There were a few scrambles that were hard on my 40 lb dog (had to pick him up). Very windy today. We arrived before the first check in time (8am) and had no issues with parking, though I did pay & reserve online in advance. 
Route: West Ridge from Summit Lake
Posted On: 2021-06-20, By: jamie09302
Info: Route is in good condition, sometimes trail is hard to follow. Almost no snow, micro spikes not necessary. There were a few scrambles that were hard on my 40 lb dog (had to pick him up). Very windy today. We arrived before the first check in time (8am) and had no issues with parking, though I did pay & reserve online in advance. 
Route: West Ridge from Summit Lake
Posted On: 2021-06-18, By: FlipFlap55
Info: Parked at Summit Lake around 7am, the lot was about 1/3 full. In its current condition the trail is in summer conditions aside from two inconsequential ~15ft long snowfields that have been heavily compacted by other hikers. I stuck to the ridge on the way up and took the proper trail down, and I didn't have any issues with either route. I didn't pay any fees as the ranger station at the base of the road is closed until 8, and the Summit Lake park, which now charges 5 dollars for entry, was out of permits at the self pay station. 
Route: West Ridge from Summit Lake
Posted On: 2021-06-13, By: mholloway987
Info: Small patches of snow throughout the route but nothing that couldn't be easily crossed by following clear footprint holes or just going around it. 
Route: West Ridge from Summit Lake
Posted On: 2021-06-10, By: etradio1
Info: Took west ridge route from summit lake. Some snow on the way to Spalding but didn't require spikes for it since snow was solid in the morning. Route to Evan's summit after Spalding was a little tricky to navigate due to patches of snow. I used my spikes here once but it was easier to just hop on rocks to progress, but it wouldn't hurt to bring spikes along depending on your comfort level. Snowshoes not needed at all. 

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