Peak(s):  Mt. Evans  -  14,268 feet
Date Posted:  06/06/2009
Modified:  06/09/2009
Date Climbed:   06/05/2009
Author:  Gene913
 Evans via Spalding with NE Face Descent   

Having spent the week in Denver at a financial crimes conference, I refused to head back home to "central time" in Kansas City without first getting in some real "mountain time." After reading Aubrey's trip report from his time on Massive and Elbert the previous weekend, I was ready to head toward Elbert and put to good use the gear I had intentionally brought along with me. Mike Oliver from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Springfield, Missouri and Ed Walker from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock, Arkansas were also ready for the challenge which, upon further deliberation, we decided should be Evans rather than Elbert. For me, this would be a repeat of an August 2008 climb of Evans from Summit Lake via Mount Spalding and Evans' west ridge. Moral of this trip report: repeating a 14er is better than leaving Colorado without doing a 14er at all.


The sky was still overcast and grey when we looked up at Mount Spalding from the Summit Lake trailhead parking lot.


But as we began our ascent up the ridge to Mount Spalding, the sky began to turn blue for us.


The route was completely snow covered, but others had gone before us, making it easy to follow in their tracks and footsteps.


This was Mike's first 14er and he was pleased as we neared the summit of Mount Spalding while the sky had cleared to a bluebird day.




Mike and Ed just below the Spalding summit.

The wind really began to pick up at this point. The gusts, at times, were quite strong and, in my estimate, were in the 30 to 40 mph range.


Mike dropping down from Spalding and into the saddle leading up to Evans' west ridge. I broke out the ice axe here and had a short glissade part way down from the Spalding summit to the saddle.


We were making good time and took a quick food break and looked back at Spalding from across the saddle. Judging by the parallel tracks, it looked like someone had recently been through here in anticipation of a ski descent down one of Evans' couloirs.


Ed and Mike making their way up to Evans' west ridge. The sky had turned a brilliant blue and it was a simply glorious day to be in the mountains. Given that this was Evans on a Friday in June, I was quite surprised we had not encountered anyone else on the peak since leaving the trailhead.


We reached Evans' west ridge above the Sawtooth and took time to look back toward Spalding as well look ahead to the task before us.


Things changed significantly here. First, the clouds had started to build and while not looking threatening, the sky now had our attention. Second, the standard route takes you on a mostly ascending traverse up Evans' west ridge, first to a false summit and then to the summit itself. Although the route had been well kicked in on the snow, the slope angle increased dramatically and the snow had a nice ice crust on top. A misstep here could be deadly or life threatening, especially at the start of the west ridge ascent, where there was literally nothing except an ice-covered snow slope between us and Abyss Lake more than a thousand feet below. Needless to say, the route had our full attention, especially when my new Sigg water bottle decided to pop out of the side pouch of my pack and we watched it slide and careen down the slope to its death below us. Sorry there are not some pictures to help tell the story of our ascent up the west ridge, but my full attention was on the slope and helping my less experienced friends.


We completed the ascending traverse without further incident and could see folks on the summit as we approached it.

We made the summit in time to greet a couple of guys who were just strapping in for a ski descent down the Snave couloir. As we watched them make their descent, Mike and Ed both acknowledged they were tired and experiencing headaches. Fearing that they were in the onset of altitude sickness, and knowing I could make faster time on my own, I volunteered to make a quick descent down the northeast face of Evans, retrieve the car, and come back to get them. They accepted. WhiIe descending the northeast face, I managed to get in a few more glissades, but the snow on this face was quite soft and the slope angle was not near as steep as the west ridge, so I had to tromp down the slope for about half of the descent. I ran into the two skiers as I got close to the car, and they asked me where my two friends were. When I told the skiers I was going to drive up to the top of the road and pick up my buddies, it was no time before the three of us were headed up the road together with the twofold purpose of getting Mike and Ed plus operating the Mount Evans ski lift.

It was a great way to end the week and a perfect way for a flatlander like me to start the summer climbing season. Will be back for more in late July.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Comments or Questions
From a fellow flatlander...
06/07/2009 15:07
Great trip report & photos! What a brilliant blue sky you had through most of the ascent. Looking forward to July & climbing with you for your three peat.

06/08/2009 02:15
USAKeller and I parked next to you guys - we climbed and skied the North Face. Nice morning!! Hope you guys had a good time. The two guys that you saw skiing from the summit skied the North Face couloir after us, so we missed seeing you on the summit.

Audiotom, you missed out on some good climbing conditions.

Thanks Fellas
06/10/2009 02:19
Subway/John: The ”three peat” will be special. Can‘t wait to share it with you and the rest of the Colonial guys.

Audiotom/Tom: Your assessment of conditions early in the day convinced you to go with Plan B. No way for you to know then that conditions would improve. Good job trusting your instincts and having the courage to recognize that you needed to be adaptable.

Oh my goodness!
11/30/2010 17:28
Bill - I clearly remember seeing the two of you gearing up when we pulled up next to you in the parking lot but I had no idea it was you and Caroline! Either I was totally oblivious, or the two of you were incognito, or both. I know that we spoke and I remember telling the two of you to have a good one as you took off while we finished gearing up. Sounds like you and Caroline did have a great time, just like we did. As I said in the trip report, this was Mike's first 14er and I was pretty proud of him when he got it done under those conditions. He is now completely hooked! But for his next one, he will have to make the descent on his own, right? And I stand corrected: the skiers were on the North Face couloir rather than the Snave. Never completely trust a flatlander, eh? Gene

what a difference time and the right face make
11/30/2010 17:28
Bill - I got some great climbing in saturday on Cristo Coulour and sunday on Elbert. Friday was one of the few times being too early wasn't a good thing - did ski A Basin - no slush all day

Gene was right - the south face was frozen death ice early friday
not a good place to be at all

glad someone made it friday
02/05/2011 00:22
nice trip report - glad someone made it up there from below

I sorta slept at the summit lot thursday night
winds 50 gust 70 moving my cars suspension

at five a.m. I tested the snow, hard glass ice
I could barely get my ice axe in it
if it hadn‘t been for old steps I would never have made the short jog to the top

wind died to nothing on top for 5 minutes while I took in early morning view

had to crab down - it was so slippery

I had planned to do from summit lake
but the conditions were too risky even with crampons
and very dark to west - strom coming in
but went skiing at A basin instead
no slush - very nice - everything cleared to morning blu bird

early bird didn‘t get the worm this time

   Not registered?

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

Please respect private property: supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.

© 2023®, 14ers Inc.