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Mt Bierstadt for Beginners (of 14ers)


                        Mt Bierstadt as seen from Guanella Pass.

I had other hikers ask me recently to lead a 14er hike for those that have never hiked a 14er or have not hiked one recently. Perhaps they can not hike someone else's 14er hike because they have never hiked a 14er before, etc. 

This hike is for those who have never or not lately hiked a 14er but would like to get one under their belt.

Please do not RSVP for this hike if you have already hiked 14ers this year.

You should already have experience hiking at lower elevations and know what hiking essentials you should bring with you.

Bierstadt at 14,065 ft is probably one of the easiest 14ers to hike since the TH is just above timberline at the top of Guanella Pass. Relatively speaking you don't have to hike very far to get to the top of Bierstadt. The elevation gain from Guanella Pass to the summit is 2,391 ft and approximately 3 miles one-way.

Those who do not know how well they hike at high elevation should be able to figure that out on this hike, and determine whether or not they want to hike more 14ers or avoid them.

Here's the plan:

6:00-6:15 : meet at Wolly Mammoth PNR in section HH.
6:20 Leave for Guanella Pass
7:30-7:50 : meet at Guanella Pass and get ready to hike
7:55 Roll Call for those who RSVPd & Review Safety : Stay Together
8:00 Start Hike

Probably 2.5 - 3.5 Hrs to top depending on the individual's strength

Probably 2 - 3 Hrs down again depending on the individual's strength

Hope that all are back in the parking lot somewhere between 2:00 - 3:00.


Directions: From the north: Take the Georgetown exit off of Interstate 70. Drive through Georgetown and follow the signs for the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway. Drive 12 miles to the top of Guanella Pass (11,700’) and park in one of the two large, paved parking areas on either side of the road. The Bierstadt trail starts near the parking area on the east side of the road. The upper parking area (on the west side of the pass) has restrooms.

From the south: Take US 285 west from Denver or east from Fairplay. Drive to the town of Grant which is about 12 miles west of Bailey. In Grant, turn north on the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway and drive approx. 13 miles to Guanella Pass.


Safety Info:

Important that all focus on sticking together in groups and do not stray from the trail. Do not wander off the trail nor hike solo. If you are involuntarily far slower than others in the group or if you are feeling like you can go no further then consider taking a break where you are and then wait for others in the group to come back down and go back to the parking lot with them.

I will likely leave the parking lot for Georgetown by no later than 3:30 with or without everyone accounted for. I have waited for post-hike 'no shows' (those that don't return to the parking lot after the hike with the rest of us) before at the Guanella pass parking lot and that messed up my post-hike food & beer plans afterwards. I decided that I won't wait around and around and around any more and go search for lost hikers.

DO NOT HIKE SOLO. DO NOT STRAY OFF THE TRAIL.

In the most civil way I can say....please do not mess up my day. Those that do not heed my words and do mess up my day will then subsequently need to join other hiking groups in place of this one.


NOTES (PLEASE READ!!):

1) PLEASE READ, UNDERSTAND AND AGREE TO OUR GENERAL RULES, PHILOSIPHY AND LIABILITY WAIVER ON THE MAIN PAGE

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY AND BEHAVIOR ON ANY OUTING WITH THE GROUP. PLEASE USE COMMON SENSE

2) Bring extra water, as high elevations dehydrate the body at a faster rate.

3) Arrive early to secure parking, avoid crowds and afternoon thunderstorms. Be mindful of changing weather patterns and leave the summit well before storms develop. Expect cooler temperatures, strong sun and wind in the open tundra. Carry versatile layers with sun, wind and rain protection.

4) Hiking poles are recommended to assist with steep grades and uneven terrain.

5) Please remember that mountain hiking, especially high altitude hiking is going to mean that we will end up spreading out according to our pace and fitness levels. If you do split off ahead from the group, please wait at the summit for most of the members to arrive.

6) IF you run a carpool, or participate in a carpool, please coordinate with each other as to your individual pace! Don't loose your carpool. 

7). Bring a change of shoes for the restaurant. I suggest some sort of flip-flops. Your feet will thank you!

8) Have fun!!


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  • Bryce

    I really had a great and easy hike with everybody! Thanks all for being cool hiking buds!

    September 9, 2013

  • Paul T.

    A good choice for anyone's first 14er. The trail is gradual and very obvious. There were lots of other hikers on the trail as well.

    September 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Awesome hike and great people. I look forward to the next.

    September 8, 2013

  • Tom

    Great Hike! Tom and Bryce did an excellent job of keeping everyone together and the hike moving along smoothly

    September 8, 2013

  • Christeen

    So where is this group meeting? And it is at 8am correct?

    September 7, 2013

    • Bryce

      Ultimate gathering at Guanella Pass. Be there by 7:45 at the latest.

      September 7, 2013

  • Christeen

    Hi I just got confirmed from being in the waiting list. Can't wait to do my first 14er! Ill be driving from Glendale area if anyone needs a ride. I would like to leave by 645 seeing how its an hr away. Let me know!

    September 7, 2013

    • Bryce

      I would give yourself 1 hr 15 min at least from West Denver to Guanella pass. 45 min from West Denver to Georgetown and another 30 min from Georgetown to Guanella Pass.

      September 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Never mind I just read the directions and take Grant.

    September 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looks like latest post is Guanella Pass at 7:30 am. I've never been there and unfortunately google maps don't direct same as the 14ers.com...can anyone confirm if I go to Georgetown, Rd 381 way or Grant, Guanella Pass Scenic Byway?

    September 7, 2013

  • Tom

    So we all meet at Guanella Pass at 7:30 AM-NOT Wooly-got it.

    September 7, 2013

    • Tom

      Tom, people have their choice. I simply wanted the group to know I will go straight to the trailhead.

      September 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi. I just joined. I would like to attend. Is there availability? I haven't climbed a 14er since 1987. But I have been hiking.

    September 7, 2013

    • Bryce

      Very unlikely at this point

      September 7, 2013

  • Tom

    I will meet everyone at Guanella Pass at the trailhead not at Wolly

    September 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have to work and train a temp last minute sorry. I must miss this hike.

    September 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    How much water is recommended please? I'm not sure how to calculate six strenuous hours worth.

    September 7, 2013

  • Tom

    Was told I'm going as part of the first group so just removed myself off the wait list for the 2nd group.Will be sure to be at the Wooly Mammoth parking lot early.

    September 7, 2013

  • Christeen

    If we are still in wait list, does that mean we are in the 2nd group or 3rd that's not through this meet up?

    September 6, 2013

  • Tom

    Might try it independent of the group of coarse.Would go up earlier-does anyone know what time the park opens? Would still like to meet the group after however at Lucina Cantina in Georgetown.

    September 6, 2013

  • Rob

    Hello Bierstadt Attendees and Hopefuls:

    We have seen some moves to try and organize a third group for this hike. If you decide to do this, please understand that it cannot be endorsed or done through Trails and Ales. We already are putting 28 people on the trail, even if staggered, for a hike the Rangers restrict to 17. In addition, we do not endorse hikes organized without working with the Leadership team. If you do decide to do a hike of Bierstadt independent of the leadership team, please understand that you are on your own and not recognized as being organized through our group. Please do not use the Trails and Ales site to coordinate your effort.

    Thanks for your understanding in this matter.

    Cheers!

    Rob

    September 6, 2013

  • Tom

    There seems to be an overwhelming demand for this hike (even for the 2nd group).Any chance one of the hike leaders might offer to lead another one to the same location the following week or sometime soon after?

    September 2, 2013

    • Tom

      Once this Bierstadt climb is accomplished, I have other peaks to get in before skiing so I will not be leading another one this year up Mt. Bierstadt.

      1 · September 3, 2013

  • Eleni

    I would also need car pool from wolly mammoth & share gas cost.

    August 28, 2013

  • Bria

    Any chance you could send a link with the exact meeting location?

    August 27, 2013

    • Bryce

      I provided more Directions in the Posting above.

      August 27, 2013

    • Bria

      Thank you!

      August 28, 2013

  • Petra

    Would anyone like to carpool from Boulder? Normally I carpool from 3 margaritas since there is so much extra parking available. We could meet somewhere else if anyone has any suggestions.

    August 28, 2013

  • Bryce

    Correction : both groups will have the same Schedule. We will decide at the 8:00 which group will leave first.

    August 27, 2013

  • Bryce

    I will lead the slowest 16. Tom will lead the fastest 12.

    August 27, 2013

  • Bryce

    It was suggested and I agree that we can split the 2 groups into a Slow Group and a Fast Group. The Slow group should arrive 1st and start hiking first so it will follow the Schedule in the 1st Group. The 2nd Group will start hiking 15 minutes after the 1st Group. I think it is just fine if the 2nd Group passes the 1st Group along the hike. I want to be the last person going up anyway to monitor others going up and try my best to make certain nobody is left behind.

    August 27, 2013

  • Bryce

    I will be posting a 2nd Group later tonight....Stay Tuned.

    August 27, 2013

    • Julie M.

      If you have another host for the second group, any chance there will be groups separated based on pace. I like how the 4th of July hike was separated into 2 different paced groups. If so..I am a fan of the faster hiking pace! ...and thank you for organizing a 2nd group for the those on the wait list!

      August 27, 2013

    • Bryce

      Yes we can segregate the 2 groups into a Slow group and a Fast group and that can be setup at the Trail Head. I think the Slow Group should be my group since it leaves earlier and the Fast Group should be the 2nd Group since it leaves later. It's totally fine if the Fast Group 'passes' the Slow Group. I want to be the last person going up anyway to monitor others going up and try my best to make certain nobody is left behind.

      August 27, 2013

  • Bryce

    Those remaining on the Wait List, I moved about half over to 2nd Group so your odds of jumping on have doubled (I think).

    August 27, 2013

  • Bryce

    I have created a 2nd Group and pulled the top 12 listed in the Wait List from the 1st Group. Tom will be leading the 2nd Group. The schedule for the 2nd Group is the same as the 1st Group but everything is 15 minutes later in their schedule.

    August 27, 2013

  • Bryce

    For those on the Wait List...do not despair at this point...I am looking for another Hiking Leader to form a 2nd group. I honestly want to see everyone interested in this hike reach the top of a 14er and of course back to the bottom and in good enough shape to hang out afterwards! Not sure if any Beer joint is gonna like our size, but I really hate to turn anybody away!

    1 · August 26, 2013

    • Brad G.

      Yes! Thanks so much.

      August 27, 2013

    • Bria

      That would be fantastic!

      August 27, 2013

  • Bryce

    I realize that some of my 'threats' etc. may sound harsh to you, but if you've lead a bunch of hikes and been on as many hikes as myself then you will perhaps appreciate my perspective a little more. Since I am allowing anyone to hike this and preferably those that are new to climbing 14ers then I feel the need to lay the ground rules out there for people I have never hiked with before. If I were to lead a more advanced hike and picked out my hikers from a Wait List then I wouldn't need to say anything because I know they already know how to hike safely or I know they are very skilled so I don't need to worry about their well being...at least no where near as much.

    August 26, 2013

  • Evelyn

    PLEASE READ: Harsh? I don’t think so. Think about how 1 stray hiker can ruin it for everyone. 15 others may not be able to complete the hike because of one person. Or worst yet, a "beginner 14th'er hiker” might be forced to hike in the dark while looking for the missing hiker. Are you equipped for that as part of the group of 15, or worst yet, the solo hiker? Should a Mountain Rescue Team be called? Who will incur the costs? No one will be left on the mountain. Let’s be safe!

    Meetup organizers are sharing their free time and experiences with you, some of your complete strangers. There's a start time, and somewhat of an end time. There are rules, if we can't follow them, then we shouldn't go. There are many other meetup hiking groups that don't have such rules so you choose Your hikes according to the write up and decide for yourself.

    August 26, 2013

  • Deanne

    I have hiked a 14er but did not do it well enough for my liking. I would like to be on this trip but i have realized i would be taking someone else's s

    August 26, 2013

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