Peak(s):  Mt. Evans  -  14,268 feet
"Epaulie" - 13,530 feet
Epaulet Mtn - 13,523 feet
Rosalie Pk - 13,575 feet
Date Posted:  03/09/2020
Date Climbed:   03/09/2020
Author:  VeraUndertow
 Take the long way home (via Deer Creek trailhead)   

I recently moved to Colorado and love hiking, especially the solitude you can find in winter. Where I lived before we didn't have avalanches, so I haven't done much back country or big mountains here since I don't have any training (yet). However I do watch that CAIC website and when the front range went all green I planned out a route that had no avalanche terrain, and also almost no snow at all so I could ascend the mountains I stare at on my commute every day. Originally I was just intending to do Rosalie but then as I read more people recommend the "Epaulie" & Epaulet combo if conditions were good. Seemed like a fine challenge and a day on the ridgeline sounds heavenly if weather permits! So that was the plan, until I was like wait Mt. Evans is only another 1000+ feet and a few miles round trip. Put that on the maybe if everything is perfect goals, knowing just Rosalie would be a success in my eyes, since she will be my first 13er!

Day started good, got up at 5am and left my house in Arvada at 5:45 which isn't bad for daylight savings and closing work the night before, maybe a little to excited or focused and got pulled over on 285 heading to 43a when the speed limit dropped to 45 from 65 and I was spacing. Oops, that slowed me down about 20 -25 minutes so I got started at 7:30 from the split with the campground but still got to see a beautiful full moon over the mountains on my way in. I read, quite accurately, that a low/medium car won't make it over the center hump so I added the extra .8 miles each way and set off knowing I had a long day. Made good time up the road and hit the trailhead before I knew it. Honestly the packed trail was better than the road and I made great time to the switchbacks and had done 3.5 miles in the first hour with just basic traction on. The trail got a little rougher as it ascended thru the forest but eventually I got a peak of the pass I was hiking towards the treeline. Going was still quick and smooth up until tree line where it got windy very quickly up in the bristlecone pine trees so I quickly put on more clothes and warmer gloves and kept climbing up the windswept but visible trail. I made the saddle between Rosalie and Pegmatite Points around 9:30 am. (I'm new here but that's basically the first 6 photos in order)

Once I hit the saddle and Rosalie was blocking the wind it warmed up significantly and I was quickly opening up layers as I ascended the mostly bare east face, what snow there was I could walk on without breaking through the surface further than an inch or two. (photo 7 shows the Roosevelt Lakes from this gradual incline) I am still getting used to altitude hiking being from the coast so I like to take frequent short breathers, but I made decent time and was at the summit of Rosalie at 11 with a great view and still feeling quite fresh. I quickly descended and was soon staring up at the fun scramble up to the summit of "Epaulie". This was the only place I really needed to use my hands to climb. It was windy at summit so I descended into the saddle and got a snack with a great view nestled between some boulders that were conveniently blocking the wind. This was right around noon and the weather was actually really nice right now, so I was feeling very blessed for a perfect day at 13+. I continued on to the summit of Epaulet which was pretty simple walk with around 200 ft of elevation gain. Photo 12 is looking back at Epaulie and Rosalie and 13 is looking forwards towards Mt Evans

I was in the saddle of Mt Evans looking at the gorgeous landscape staring Bierstadt and the Sawtooth ridge by 12:50 and took a break to assess if I was ready to summit Evans having come all this way and not wanting to run out of legs having to climb back over all the peaks I had already done. The weather was still cooperating so far and I was feeling good so I decided to go for it. I climbed across the switchbacks of the road mostly since it was bare and I could usually find a path of least resistance. The sheep were the only other creatures up there with me and I gave them a lot of space since they didn't seem to keen on my company. I made it up to the summit at 2:25pm and though it was windy it was not too cold for a summit so I enjoyed the view for about 10 minutes. Definitely a good day so far probably 9+ miles and 6k in total elevation gain.Knowing how far I had to go, I wanted to make haste and get to my car before I had to take out the headlamp if possible. On the way back I avoided all the summits which maybe saves 350 ft total but it's still about 1000 ft. I made good time and was back at the ridge between Rosalie and Pegmatite by 5. I took a picture of the biggest snow pack above tree line on my way down to meet back up with Tanglewood trail. There were 4 patches of solid snow on the east slope of Rosalie above this that I was able to gently glissade down which was fun and saved about 10 minutes of walking. I made it back to the tree line by 5:20 and then once I hit the packed trail I made great time and got back to the trailhead at 6:13 and my car by 6:25 so the sun was still out, never having to use my snowshoes and I got to hike 18+ miles in winter and hit 4 peaks and my first 13er(s) and 14er all in one day. Definitely not an easy hike although not very technically challenging it was a test of my mind and body. I had a blast and thought I'd write a report since I have never seen anyone report hiking Evans from Deer Creek trailhead. No gps data since I never even thought about it. Also thanks for all the great reports everyone, I find them super inspiring and helpful.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Comments or Questions
Very Impressed
03/13/2020 06:35
That is one long day in Winter! I have done Rosalie from there in the snow and have been thinking about going back for Epaulet/Epaulie. Thanks for the reminder about that area, and nice first trip report!

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