Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Mt. Bierstadt - 14er #10

Today, I successfully hiked up Mt. Bierstadt.   This marks my 10th Colorado 14er (2nd 14er for this year).      Here's a quick trip report.

I had originally planned to arrive the night before, but client matters demanded my attention and I wasn't able to sneak away last night.    Luckily, Bierstadt is on the front range and so easy to access that it didn't even require an overnight stay.     

The route:
My actual tracks (click for a large version)
I took the Western Slopes route (standard).    My GPS said I covered 7.55 miles and ascended about 2,800 feet.  The official route description says the round trip should take seven miles.    I guess I don't walk a straight line.

In my former life, I'd be late leaving for work right around now.
I rolled out of Boulder at O'dark Thirty, made a quick pit stop at Starbucks, and arrived at the trail head just after 8am.    Not too shabby.  

The usual suspects bailed on me, so Mr. Spot was my hiking companion for the day.      

Only a half mile from the trail head to this lovely scene.    If you don't see the giant bull moose, click the picture above for a larger version.

   This is what the trail looks like as you're heading up the mountain.    Mt. Bierstadt is on the right.   Mt. Evans is on the left.

As you climb, low shrubs and heathers are the only ground cover.   You get great views when you start above the tree line (rare).    Pikas and Ptarmigans abound...

This is me at the summit, just past 11am.     There's nothing like kicking back and enjoying the view from a 14er.    A little haze in the air made me wonder if we were still getting smoke from fires in New Mexico and Arizona.

As it turned out, Mr. Spot wasn't my only companion.   There were plenty of other hikers enjoying Mt. Bierstadt on a Wednesday afternoon.     Don't these people have jobs?  

It feels great to kick off your boots at the summit, especially on a day like today.    No wind, warm sunshine, and perfect conditions.     p.s. Don't let the tape scare you.   It was entirely prophylactic.

Sign in at the top.        p.s. who names their kid "Palmer?"

This was my first trip out with trekking poles.  I picked up these carbon fiber babies at Costco a couple of weeks ago and they performed exceptionally well.   Look for the full review on Gear Thoughts, coming soon.

Parting shot from the ride home.   The road over Guanella pass was recently paved.    It's now smooth and twisty.  If you ignore the 20mph speed limit, it makes for good fun on a motorcycle.   Not so much with a 4Runner but still a spectacular view.

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