The People's Mountain and Evans

August 10 2020

The Front Range 14ers are notoriously crowded. Generally, one can avoid the current of hikers by taking a non-standard route or starting before 3:30am. Soph and I have employed the aforementioned tactics, usually in conjunction, for all our previous Front Range endeavors as well as other highly accessible peaks such as Quandary and Elbert. On this past Saturday, we broke our rule and started at 4:30am on the standard route of Bierstadt, which we’ve come to learn may be the most travelled 14er of the fifty eight. It was obscene how many people were there. The parking lot was full by 10pm Friday night. There was even a gaggle of college students doing beer bong rips three cars down as we attempted to sleep.

While I appreciated the extra shut eye that sleeping in till 4am afforded, I was a bit dismayed when I spotted the sea of headlamps meandering it’s way across the face of the mountain. Soph appropriately exclaimed “huh, I guess this mountain belongs to the people”, which is the origin of our new favorite nickname for Bierstadt.

4:52am looking back at the parking lot. The light trail extended equally in the opposite direction as well

We reached the summit fairly quickly, snapped a few photos, then headed down the ridge across the class 3 sawtooth route. Fortunately only a dozen or so folks decided to try for the combo that day so we were relatively alone for the next several hours as we scrambled to our second peak.

All smiles on top of Bierstadt. If only we knew what was to come.

Evans is one of two 14ers that had a paved road to the summit and is accessible by passenger vehicle. A silver lining to the pandemic is that the road to Evans has been closed for the 2020 season. I imagine it would have been fairly demoralizing to crest the final ridge and be greeted to an overflowing car park. Instead our time on the peak consisted of casual conversations with a few road bikers, mostly about the herd of mountain goats that had taken residence on the empty blacktop, and a short nap.

Yours truly along the ridge of the sawtooth

JM and myself on a bit of scree in the sawtooth’s exit. Looks worse than it is.

The route back to the Bierstadt trailhead from Evans is notoriously awful. Nearly every person I’ve spoken to about it strongly suggests taking an alternative route. Naturally I ignored their advice and chose to descend through the steep scree, mud bogs, and overgrown willows. 1/10, would not recommend.

Sophia was all smiles on Evans summit. This lady is pretty freaking dope if you ask me!

Soph and JM in the mud, willows, and smell. Sometimes you just have to laugh.