(Last Updated On: April 25, 2015)
This is part of an ongoing series re-telling Brittany’s fourteener-skiing story. Look for the reports every Thursday, as part of a Throwback Thursday theme.
Mount Bierstadt is one of those fourteeners that can be done quickly. I was cranking out the fourteenrs that season and somehow got it in my head that I wanted to do one after work. Bierstadt fit the bill. Since Mount Bierstadt isn’t the most thrilling of fourteeners, I had a little fun writing the report 🙂 Below is a slightly modified version of my original trip report from Mount Bierstadt, my 21st fourteener skied.
How to ski a 14er after work
Well, this TR is about Mt. Bierstadt which is not exactly the most thrilling of 14er skis. I wasn’t going to post a TR, but Frank and I had such amazing light that our pics kinda turned out pretty good and I thought some of the maggots might appreciate them. So, here it goes!
Tip #1: Pick an easy 14er, like Mt. Bierstadt.
For those of you who don’t know, the Guanella Pass road which is used to access the Beirstadt TH is not being plowed this year, so it does make access more difficult. I was able to drive up to about 10,800 ft. But it did double the distance of the hike.
Tip #2: If it starts snowing at the start, hope that it stops….. soon.
Tip #3: Try to climb a 14er on a day where the moon will be full or close to full at night. That way if your climb/ski happen to run into nighttime hours, you can still be guided by the moonlight.
Tip #4: Not forgetting your headlamp is a good thing.
Tip #5: Having a job whose workday ends earlier than most is ideal.
Tip #6: Make sure to enjoy the evening scenery and take lots of pics.
Looking at the old ski area Geneva Basin.
Square top with Gray’s and Torrey’s to the right.
Square top in changing light.
Tip #7: Don’t fall on 10 feet downhill in a boulder field on an easy mountain while boot packing like Frank did. “Ouch, my butt hurts!” The hardest fall he’s taken all year happened on Beirstadt.
Tip #8: Try to beat the wildlife to the top. If you don’t swear you’ll do it next time.
Tip #9: Enjoy the lines that could be had, if the snow were right.
Southwest of Spalding
Northwest side of Bierstadt
Tip #10: Take the obligatory summit pics
Tip #11: Try to avoid oncoming storm clouds.
Tip #12: Know how to use your camera for action shots when it gets dark. Don’t be like us! Our action shots turned out dark. Here’s a few all the same.
Tip #13: Ski off into the sunset.
Tip #14: When the road says to turn, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the sign.
Tip #15: Head to the closest bar for beer and grub when done. Have a jolly old time there!
Disclaimer: The above is not intended for those who have never climbed a fourteener before, nor is it intended for someone who does not ski. This task can only be completed if you live in the general vicinity of a 14er, or your work is located within 2 hours of driving of a 14er. In other words, if you live in Kansas, this task is no for you. Furthermore, this is not recommended for flatlanders. The above are tips and tips only for how to climb a fourteener after work. They are not intended to guarantee success. In fact, don’t pay attention to any of the tips. They are all worthless. Don’t pay attention to any thing I have to say here….
How It Really Went
Bierstadt is one of those easy mountains. It seemed ashame to spend an entire day climbing and skiing this mountain, so when Frank suggested we should do it after school one day, I thought that was a great idea! I was able to get out of school a tad early and meet Frank in Golden. From there we drove to Georgetown and then up Guanella Pass. The pass was still closed due to snow cover, so we drove up to the snow line.
By the time we left it was 2:40 pm. We figured it would probably take us 3-4 hours to climb Bierstadt. That meant that we could potentially be finishing in the dark. So we made sure to bring headlamps.
We began skinning while it was snowing, which made us leary. Our friends Chris and Pam had been up Bierstadt the day before in a complete white-out. They weren’t able to see where to go up or where to go down, but they still were able to their way up and down the mountain. I had visions of these conditions in my head, but thankfully the snow let up. We were left with beautiful skies, full of looming clouds everywhere. The looming clouds seemed to stay in their places, far away from Beirstadt. But they did provide a fantastic scene along with the evening light.
With the beautiful scenery, we were able to make good time to the summit. I was able to skin all the way to the summit, while Frank chose to boot pack for the last 30 minutes or so. When nearing the summit we could see footprints of a mountain goat or bighorn sheep that had itself reached the summit earlier that day.
We were able to ski from the summit. The evening was getting darker and darker. Clouds also moved in during our ski, which made the scene quite dark, hence why our ski photos look dark. When we reached the bottom of the mountain the sun had come back out from behind the clouds. I guess we should have waited a few more minutes before skiing!
We followed the Guanella Pass road all the way back to the car, skiing the entire way. We reached the car at 7:45 pm, just as it was getting dark.
After packing up, we headed down to Georgetown and enjoyed a great dinner there at the Red Ram Rathskeller. I kind of felt in a daze, amazed that we were able to ski a fourteener after school. What a great way to knock off another fourteener!
Looking back, this was a creative way to ski a fourteener that isn’t particularly demanding. That left me wondering… Could I ski a fourteener BEFORE work? 😉
Like this report? See more of Brittany’s 14er skiing journey.