Length: 10 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,964'
Difficulty: class 3
The Sawtooth is a classic class 3 line in Colorado's Front Range that connects Mt. Bierstadt and Mt Evans. It allows you to do both mountains together. It is a moderately long and challenging climb with fun exposure and generally good rock, and it is very popular and busy in the summertime.
|The Sawtooth Ridge in the early morning light|
From Guanella Pass you climb the "West Slopes" route up Mt. Bierstadt to its summit (3.4 miles, 2,400' elevation gain). This trek is short and mostly class 1 with a little class 2 when you get close to the summit. From the summit of Mt. Bierstadt you get an amazing look at the Sawtooth Ridge. Don't fear, it is much easier than it looks. Still, the next portion of the route requires a considerable amount of time, class 3-4 climbing depending on your exact route, and some route-finding skills to avoid wasted time and harder climbing off-route, so if you aren't feeling up to it or the weather looks like it could build, turn around here.
|Looking across the Sawtooth from Mt. Bierstadt|
|Approaching the crux section of the Sawtooth|
|The beginning of the crucial ledge|
Once across the ledge, you emerge on easier ground in a large boulderfield on the west slopes of Mt. Evans. Thirteener Mt. Spalding (13,842', unranked) is just to your north/northeast. The rest of the route to Mt. Evans is mostly easy (class 2) but deceptively long. At one point you cross the ridgeline to your right and descend onto Evans' south face. If you stay on the ridgeline you can climb some class 2+/3 and climb "West Evans" (14,262') on the way. Unless it is winter, expect a crowd on Mt. Evans summit. It is the only Colorado 14er with a paved road all the way to the summit.
|The parking lot near the Mt. Evans summit|
|The cliffs and waterfall at the base of the Sawtooth|
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