Peak(s):  Mt. Evans  -  14,268 feet
Mt. Spalding  -  13,842 feet
Date Posted:  08/25/2018
Date Climbed:   08/24/2018
Author:  snyd2706
 Spalding and Evans from Echo Lake   

Started from Echo Lake a little before 6am via headlamp. The hike starts pretty simple, actually losing decent elevation before climbing a fire road up to Idaho Springs Reservoir. The road is in private property and is properly marked with no trespassing signs.

A little over a mile to the Mount Evans Wilderness - be sure to fill out a free permit at the entrance. This is where the work starts as the trail is pretty "natural" with boulders, roots, willows, ups/downs, etc. This area was really beautiful with wild flowers, deer, water.

Once I got to the upper Chicago Lake the wind really opened up with sustained of 22+ and gusts around 30. It got pretty chilly. Once you get to the upper lake things get serious with a pretty steep climb towards the scenic overlook. The trail is pretty well marked in this section but due to the loose footing seems as if the trail moves.

Once at the scenic overlook and Summit Lake there's a small sign pointing to the Mt Evans trail via Mt Spalding. Unfortunately this is where the people start too. I saw one other person before this junction but crossed paths with about 15 people to the Mt Spalding summit though I did have about 5 minutes on the summit by myself! I had to layer up on the summit - was glad to have gloves, beanie, neck gaiter, and a wind jacket.

Cool note: I saw a herd of about 15 big horned sheep just before the summit of Spalding walking down the trail towards me. It was an ol' fashioned game of chicken...they won and I yielded the trail to them though I had the uphill right away - rude. Two actually stopped right across the trail from me, about 10 foot, and stared me down (I think protecting the two youth). They didn't budge until I made a whistle type noise which scared them off (can't lie I actually thought they might charge me so I was glad my noise worked).

From the summit of Spalding you descend before the final ascent up the west ridge of Evans. Crossed paths with about 20 folks on this final leg. It was actually more exposed in spots than I anticipated...just don't look down!

Once you reach the parking area there's several gentle switchbacks to the actual summit where it's pretty crowded with both hikers and folks who drove up. I used the summit restrooms and then took the NE "shortcut" down to Summit Lake.

A note about the shortcut. It's really difficult to find from the parking lot of the Evans summit. Most hiked down next to the road... but the trail is directly behind the Mt Evans summit sign. Walk down behind it and look carefully for a trail and you'll eventually find it. It's not well marked but easy enough to follow once you find it. It's an easy descent down but very loose rocks in portions. You then walk along the road for about a half mile to the Summit parking lot.

And I caught a ride down from a kind woman (thanks, Kristen!) to Echo. Honestly it was just one of those days where my legs felt like cement and the thought of hiking down through the wilderness sounded awful. Could've been the smoke too - definitely smoky atop each peak.

All in all it was a good hike but like I said, I felt below average and was thankful for the ride down. If you weren't in a hurry it might be cool to do this hike in 2-3 days while staying in the wilderness.

GAIA GPS: 9.75 miles, 3,934' ascent, 6:00:51 hours (including 40:20 stoppage time).


My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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