This was hands down the easiest 14er I have done so far. I spent more time driving to and from this mountain than actually climbing it. Mount Bierstadt is located on the front range and is known as the most populated 14er due to its close proximity to Denver and “easy” trail.
I left my family cabin in Estes Park around 4am or so. I took me a little less than 2 1/2 hours to get to the trailhead which was a bit quicker than I expected. I started my hike in the dark just as twilight was making itself known. It was cold, and I knew it would only get colder as I made my way up on the shady side of the mountain. I passed the lake in the dark but could tell it was there, and worked my way up the switchbacks from the willows. Once I came up over the hill, I got a spectacular view of sawtooth ridge. I was around roughly 13,000′ when the sunrise began to light up the mountains across the valley.
From here it was just slow and steady up to the saddle. The last 250′ vertical or so is the most difficult part, not technically but navigationally. This is an EASY class 2 so if you feel like you are scrambling over boulders you are actually too far off route. There are at least 3 or 4 paths that weave through the rocks to the summit from the saddle. there are cairns, and dirt path through the rocks it is just difficult to keep track of which cairn goes to which route. they all sort of weave in and out of each other so as long as you always have a cairn in line of sight aiming for the summit, you should be good. Typically routes like this are easier to see going down…. in this case, I actually felt like going up was easier to keep track of!
Summit had 360 views. Evans directly to the East, and could see the connection with Sawtooth ridge from the top. Mosquito Range to the Southwest, Greys and Torreys to the West, and Long’s was hiding in the smoke to the North. I can definitely understand why this is the most popular 14er. I got lucky on this fall Thursday and had it all to myself on the summit!
Once returning to the saddle, the rest of the way down was a breeze and I was actually able to jog quite a bit of the descent. The final mile or so at the bottom where it goes back uphill to the car was the worst part of the entire hike honestly. But overall this was a good one! Car to Car was 4 hours, 15 min. Marked my 5th 14er this summer, and 11th overall!