Mt. Bierstadt! Our first 14er!
An estimated half a million people climb fourteeners annually in Colorado (Source: Colorado Fourteeners Initiative).
We we’re only four out of 500,000!
Yesterday morning we got up at 5:15 AM to hike Mt. Bierstadt, one of the 53 mountains in the state of Colorado that rise above 14,000 feet. Mt. Bierstadt tops out at 14,060 feet and is a 7 mile roundtrip hike. As far as 14ers go, it’s a beginner level so since it was our cherry popping 14er climb we figured a beginner was perfect and it is conveniently an hours drive from our house.
We definitely underestimated the number of people who would also think that Mt. Bierstadt was a good idea. On the way there, we placed bets on the number of cars that would already be at the parking lot. I guessed 5, Ronen guessed 7, my mom guessed 12 and my dad guessed 18. When we arrived there were at least 50 cars and the Colorado 14ers Initiative said that there were 1000+ people on the mountain yesterday. The Colorado 14ers Initiative was at the base giving information on the importance of preserving our states 14ers (for more information and to volunteer, visit: http://www.14ers.org).
When we started the climb it was 7AM and the sun was just above the summit. First, you meander through willows and cross muddy terrain that has a wooden walkway built over it (this was provided by the Colorado 14ers Initiative) then you boulder hop across a river before zig zagging up the side of the mountain.
About 2/3 of the way up, you reach Hell. Its steep and approximately 12,500 feet of elevation and the rocky trail with boulders does not make it any easier. This spot was where we saw someone puking and people turning around because they were not ready for this type of climb, or the altitude was getting to them.
Once we made it past Hell and reached the last 250 feet of the climb where you have to scramble over boulders to reach the summit. The view from the summit was incredible! With Rocky Mountain peaks surrounding you, it was quite a nice reward for all the hard work to climb up. You could see all the way to Pikes peak in the south and Grays Peak to the North, you could even see South Park basin and Kenosha Pass.
After enjoying the view and resting up, we headed back down the mountain. On the way down, we took our sweet time. We stopped about half-way down and Ronen made us Turkish coffee and we ate some trail mix and relaxed. After our caffeine injection, I had a ton of energy to take a bunch of pictures of flowers, my dad started dancing and singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music!”, and Ronen modeled for us.
Once we reached the bottom we headed to Brooks Place Tavern to have one of their many ice-cold beers on tap. After all, how can you celebrate climbing Mt Bierstadt without a beer? They also have fabulous burgers and great outdoor patio! It was the perfect way to wind down after climbing our first 14er.