When it comes to 14ers these 2 peaks are as easy as they come. To keep myself sane hiking these popular peaks on a Sunday I decided to switch it up and take the class 3 route up Bierstadt’s East ridge, over the sawtooth connecting Bierstadt and Evans and back to the car. This route is referred to as “Tour De Abyss” by some because you make a big loop up and around Lake Abyss.
Nothing like an awesome sunrise to get me energized for a hike!
To start this route you will park just below the Mt Evans summit at around 13,300. See my GPX for the exact starting spot. From this parking spot you walk a couple hundred yards to a gully that drops you down to Abyss Lake. You will link up with a trail that takes you up and around the north side of the lake once you reach the bottom of the gully. I chose to ignore this trail and head straight across the valley over to Bierstadt’s east ridge.
Step out of car, cross mountain meadow, drop into gully, profit
Get creative, the objective is to make it to the top of that ridge!
Again there is no defined trail going up the East ridge that I could find. Basically just take what ever your brain tells you is the path of least resistance. I think I did a little switching back, but for the most part I just went right up the side until I gained the ridge.
In my opinion this section leaves you more exposed than some parts of the sawtooth
Once you get to the top of the ridge you will encounter a large point that take a little scrambling to get around, I chose to follow the route around the right side like 14ers.org told me to avoid the class 5 ledges. There are a few cairns to follow and the trail around the easy way is pretty obvious.
Mt Bierstadt (6 Flags) summit
The Summit of Bierstadt will be in sight the entire time you make your way across the east ridge. I made my way up to the summit of Mt. Bierstadt, hung out in the 6 flags crowd for about 30 seconds and then began my trek over to Mt. Evans via the sawtooth.
You must be this tall to cross the sawtooth
Route finding down to the sawtooth from Bierstadt was pretty much a free for all, there were so many different variations of the trail. Maybe I was just lost, but there were people above me and below me and none of them appeared to be on a trail. Eventually I found a well traveled trail that took me over to the west side of the sawtooth. I was expecting the sawtooth to be a lot narrower, but it is comfortably wide enough to where I did not feel like I was going to tumble off of the edge at any time. Half way across the sawtooth
Across the sawtooth
If you are looking for a close to Denver 6 mile hike with a decent amount of elevation gain I highly recommend “tour de abyss”. Even with the heavy weekend crowd I was completely alone on the east ridge of Bierstadt.