Mount Bierstadt

September 18, 2011

This trip report is written by my daughter Ellie.
(with some help from me of course).

My old 2002 trip report is here.

All summer long I had wanted to hike another 14er with my dad. Last winter though was a very heavy snow year so it wasn't until much later in the year than normal that the routes were clearing of snow. Then my dad tried to through hike the Weminuche Wilderness and injured his knee. It was over a month before he could think about hiking again. Between that and everything else going on in the summer, well we nearly missed the summer. Our original plan was to hike on Saturday the 17th, but the weather looked terrible. So we thought we'd missed our only chance for the summer. Fortunately our schedule cleared up the next day and the weather forecast was good. I called my cousin with whom I always hike 14ers and she could go too. I was very excited.

Distance:7 miles
Elevation Gain:2,700 vertical feet
Time:8 hours

My dad always gets early starts on mountains and today was no exception. We started while it was still dark and had to use headlamps.

It had been snowing when we left the trailhead, but that didn't last too long. Just enough to make the ground white and the boardwalks through the willows slick.

We made quick time crossing the flats around Scott Gomer Creek and were soon at the base of the mountain.

We'd been pretty warm up until now, but as we climbed the air got colder and the wind picked up speed.

At the first snow patch we just had to play in the snow. Dad said it wasn't a good idea to play in snow until later in the day when things warmed up, but we just couldn't resist. It was after all the first snow we'd been in for months.

As we continued higher we got into more and more snow.

We took breaks near some of the larger cairns and used them as wind blocks. We were getting pretty cold and tired though. We could see the sun warming the slopes across the valley but it seemed to take forever to get to us.

Finally when we nearly reached the summit ridge we got into the sunlight. It felt wonderful, but by this time we were wearing all the clothes we had brought and we were still a little cold.

Luckily dad found a spot protected from the wind where we could take a break in the sun. It felt much better. Dad took our shoes and socks off and warmed our feet inside his jacket. Then put two dry pairs of socks back on each of us. My feet were still a little cold, but doing a lot better after that. We stayed in this spot just 300 feet below the summit for a long time. Dad made sure we both ate a lot and drank a lot and had warm feet before we continued. By the time we headed out again we felt great.

The view of Frozen Lake from our resting spot was amazing. I asked dad why it looked so beautiful there, he just replied "that's the way God wanted to make it for us."

Rejuvenated Kezi and I set out to reach the top.

The trail was a little hard to follow with all the snow, but we climbed our way up the rocks as best we could.

It had been a long time since I'd been so high up a mountain so I think the altitude got to me a little. It was super duper hard to breathe. I had to take another break before I reached the top.

Amazingly after all the cold and wind, the summit was warm and calm.

Dad brought a special treat for us on the summit, a bottle of Green Apple Jones Soda. Yummy!

This was our 4th summit together. It had been tough but we were proud that we made it to the top.

Then came my favorite part. On one slick part my dad told us to sit on our bottoms and carefully slide down rather than try to walk down it and slip and fall. We did, which turned out to be so much fun we did it a lot more.

Click play to see a couple videos of us sliding down the trail. I think we made the trail slick for my dad though, he slipped and fell once. Too bad we didn't get a video of that, ha ha.

We tried making snow angles, but the snow was frozen too solid for them to work. When I moved my arms and legs it was so slippery that I slipped off the snow and down onto the trail.

Things had really warmed up lower on the mountain so we were able to put most of our heavy clothing back in my dad's backpack. We even tried eating some of the fresh snow, it was delicious.

We were proud to have done a tough hike and were very glad to be out of the really cold weather.

Unfortunately we still had a long ways to get back to the car.

Crossing Scott Gomer Creek was a lot more fun now that it wasn't icy and we could see it better in the daylight. We did see one guy fall in as he crossed, all the way in. It was kind of funny but we felt bad for him because it looked really, really cold.

The last stretch back to the car was uphill, but it went pretty quick.

The view of Square Top Peak on the way out was really cool, but my dad couldn't tell my how it got its name. He doesn't think it looks square at all, but I thought it did a little.

We really liked the bridges through the willows, they helped keep us out of the mud. It would be nice if there was one over the creek.

Finally back at the car we were happy to be done but it had been a fun day. My dad said he was very proud of us for hiking even when things got tough. I've hiked with Kezi every 14er I've hiked and it really helps to have a good friend with me on a long hike. It's also nice to have a daddy that carries everything we need, and some special treats for us too.

You are welcome to contact me with any questions regarding questions about, or problems with, this website. Just send me an e-mail at