Mount Bierstadt
Two days after reaching the summit of Mount Elbert, I was hoping to tag another '14er' near Denver, Colorado before my vacation wrapped up.  The persistent snow pack limited my choices in the area, and in the end, I settled on Mount Bierstadt mainly because its trailhead at Guanella Pass was one of the few that was currently accessible.  I left my hotel before dawn on the morning of 10 June 2011 and headed west on the I-70 under overcast skies, but by the time I reached the turnoff at Georgetown, the clouds were already clearing out nicely.  A large portion of the northern access road to Guanella Pass was under construction, but at that early hour, there was no construction activity.  Several cars were already in the parking lot when I arrived at the trailhead, but with no one in sight, I simply grabbed my gear and started hiking down the trail.  Immediately, I ran into deep snow which was still prevalent all across Guanella Pass.  Fortunately, the snow, still crusty hard, was very supportive and easy to walk on, and plenty of recent footprints made the trail easy to follow.  After descending to Scott Gomer Creek, I began climbing in earnest up the broad northwest ridge of Mount Bierstadt.  I eventually caught up to a group of hikers ahead of me and then noticed several other parties above me, some of them descending from the summit already.  Looking back across Guanella Pass, I could also see several other parties behind me.  This was one busy mountain for a work day albeit a Friday!  In retrospect, this probably should not have been so surprising to me given Mount Bierstadt's enormous popularity and its close proximity to Denver.

Unlike my trip up Mount Elbert two days before, I had a much easier time with the rarefied air on Mount Bierstadt.  Of course, Mount Bierstadt is a much shorter trip, and perhaps the previous day's rest in Denver helped me acclimatize better to the high altitude.  In any case, I seemed to get into a much better hiking rhythm on this day and easily reached the summit without much trouble.  I spent about 50 minutes there chatting with a local who had already climbed all the '14ers' in Colorado but was just out that day to walk his dog.  I considered traversing the connecting ridge known as the Sawtooth to nearby Mount Evans, but with snow on the route and having left my crampons in the car, I decided that it was not worth the added risk on this day.  Instead, I more or less retraced my steps back to the trailhead though I had a much tougher time with the softening snow in Guanella Pass on my return trip.  A lengthy construction delay on my drive back down the access road allowed me to relax in my car and eat my lunch while dreaming about my next vacation.
Sure, I'll try to 'stay on trail'! There is still a lot of snow on the trail to Mount Bierstadt.
Not sure if there is actually a bridge here when the snow is gone... A snow bridge spans Scott Gomer Creek.
The terrain is relatively gentle. This is the broad northwest ridge of Mount Bierstadt.
The snow patches actually made the climb easier. Some hikers ascend the summit ridge.
Be careful with the cornices on the right! Here is a close-up of the summit ridge.
My right leg looks broken! Sonny stands at the 4287-metre summit of Mount Bierstadt.
I was expecting to see the top of Mount Evans teeming with tourists, but perhaps it was still too early in the day. Mount Evans dominates the view to the east.
The two peaks can be easily hiked from the Mount Evans Road. To the southeast are Epaulet Mountain (shadowed ridge at left) and Rosalie Peak.
Grays and Torreys were on my radar, but the trailhead was not accessible on this day. The summit of Mount Bierstadt provides an expansive view of Guanella Pass.  Grays Peak and Torreys Peak are visible on the horizon at far right.
The route was probably doable on this day without an ice axe or crampons, but I felt the reward (Mount Evans) was not worth the risk. This is the Sawtooth as seen from the top of Mount Bierstadt.
Note the curious lines created by the avalanche. South of Mount Bierstadt, Frozen Lake live up to its name.
Can you spot the trailhead parking lot? Here is another look at Guanella Pass from lower down Mount Bierstadt's northwest ridge.  From left to right are Square Top Mountain, Argentine Peak, Mount Wilcox, and Mount Edwards (peeking over shoulder of Mount Wilcox).
You won't find any otters playing in this lake though. This is an unnamed lake in Guanella Pass.  At left is Otter Mountain.
Wow. I don't recall ever finishing a peak-bagging trip before noon! Here is a final look at the Sawtooth (left) and Mount Bierstadt from the parking lot.
My GPS showed the trailhead to be 10 metres higher at the end of the trip! Total Distance:  12.1 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  5 hours 21 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  749 metres

GPX Data