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Celebrating Bastille Day on Mt. Bierstadt (Standard Route)
July 14, 2014
Total distance 7.22 miles
Total elevation 3,400 feet
Start time 0715
End time 1345
Truth be told, there was no mention of Bastille Day, but it makes a nice title. The standard route up Bierstadt is very straightforward with a clear trail (and a bunch of people) all the way to the top.
Our friends have a place in Silverthorne which has become a natural staging ground for the front range 14ers. Last year my son Will and I tackled Grays and Torreys and two years ago we headed a little south and summited Quandary in a crazy fog. This year, I thought that Will and I could attempt Bierstadt-Sawtooth-Evans loop, but I also opened the possibility to our friends of a hike up Bierstadt as a way to let them begin their 14er experience. To my delight, they took us up on it. And the week before, our daughter Brett summited her first 14er (Elbert) and she was ready for more. So the Sawtooth was out (for now), and the six of us - my friend Mike and his two teenage girls and me and my two kids - left Silverthorne early in the morning, arrived at a nearly full trailhead around 0700 and began hiking by 0715. Here are the kids - Will, Lydia, Sydney, and Brett - ready to go.
I know there is controversy about the bridges over the marshes, but the bridges sure are nice. It would change the hike considerably to make the hike without them.
We reached the creek crossing at 0715 where Mike promptly fell in - oops. Of course, just upstream was a much easier crossing point. We certainly should have taken our time in making that crossing. We reached the first ridge and the first stake at 0825 after 1.93 miles and an elevation of 12,250 and then reached the second stake at 0840. The trail is nicely marked, and there were many many people hiking. This is probably not the best solitude hike around.
Grays and Torreys to the northwest.
Here is the upper stretch to the top.
At 1005 we had reached the ridge heading toward the summit at 13,700 feet and 3.26 miles. Here is Mike taking pictures in front of the snowfield.
Here are Brett and Sydney working their way up the final rocky section with Grays and Torreys in the background.
We arrived at the summit at 1035 after 3.59 miles and had just crazy views. Here are the kids at the top.
And here are the girls celebrating their accomplishments.
Here I am enjoying lunch at the top of the mountain. Nice view.
Here are Mike and his girls.
And me and my kids (with Grays and Torreys in the background).
A little card playing at the top.
We stayed at the summit for nearly an hour, enjoying the scenery and the company of the other hikers on the mountain, including a group of young women enjoying some Summer Shandy. We left at 1120 and were back at the trailhead at 1345 for a round trip hike of 7.22 miles and a total elevation gain of 3400 feet.
We had some R&R on the way down.
Here are Will and Brett at the (much easier) creek crossing. Head north just around the bend in the creek to find it. These rocks provide easier access across.
And on the way back to Silverthorne had a nice encounter with some mountain goats.
And we had to end our adventure at Dairy Queen with celebration blizzards. Hopefully the first of many hikes with Mike, Syd, and Lid.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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