October 7, 2012 - West Ridge from Guanella Pass
I am no stranger to Mt. Bierstadt but this trip was a bit different. I had broken my ankle climbing in the San Juan range 60 days previous and had just received the doctor's clearance to climb so long as I avoided "doing anything stupid." Bob had cooked up a group climb, I wrangled an invitation to join him, and then invited Zach, a newcomer to join us on Mt. Bierstadt.
We departed Cheyenne at about 5:30 and were at the trailhead by about 8 a.m., finding a half dozen cars ahead of us. We took a few minutes to get organized and then started off for the summit, three miles and 3000 vertical feet distant. It was a bit chilly but not too bad as the predicted wind had not come about . . . yet. We hiked the boardwalks . . . then on down to Scott Gomer Creek, where we went downstream just a bit to make a rock crossing that was ice negotiable. Then it was the usual route, up the first promontory and onto the broad shoulder of the peak. The trail had a bit of ice from the many feet before us packing the few inches of snow that fell or was blown into the trail rut.
We made good time to the upper ridge and then on up to the summit where we gathered about for a group photo and quickly agreed to descend to the base of the summit cone for lunch. The summit was more than a bit chilly but the base seemed oriented just right to cut off the wind. After lunch we made time for the car as there was the promise of BeauJo's pizza just down the road in Idaho Springs.
We were out for about 5 hours and covered the route without trouble. I was particularly happy to do so as I needed to test out the ankle and I was hoping for the best. Given that I pulled off the climb without pain, without swelling and without both the following morning, I'd say this climb of Bierstadt provided all that was asked of it.
Bierstadt in the summer and the winter . . . or the Sawtooth Ridge