“A fun run with an introductory scramble between two popular 14ers.”
— Tyler Prince
If you bring a dog on this, you're assuming a huge risk. While some athletic pups may manage the scrambling just fine, most will need to be carried for a large portion of the run. A couple years ago a hiker brought a dog on this traverse, and, with turning weather and a slow dog, descended alone. Other runners found the dog a few days later, tired but alive. After a couple court hearings, the original owner lost the dog, who now resides with the runners who found him!
Dogs: No Dogs
The Sawtooth is a class 2+/3 scramble, which makes running near impossible. Some fast scramblers may enjoy some rapid parkour, however. The trail to the Mt. Evans summit is rocky but flat.
Finally, the descent back to Guanella Pass is steep and loose. Expect slides with large strides while descending the gully along the creek, and a couple tangles with willows once you make it down. The running gets good again once you make it back to the Mt. Bierstadt
From the summit of Mt. Bierstadt
, you can return to Guanella Pass or continue to Mt. Evans via a low class 3 traverse known as "the Sawtooth."
Runners continuing over The Sawtooth should descend NE off the summit, walking down a vague trail just to the right of the ridge defining the Sawtooth. Scramble down to the Bierstadt-Evans saddle at 13,300 ft. None of this terrain should be too hard - the rock should be solid and exposure moderate at worst. If things get difficult, you have likely stayed too high on the ridge.
Once at the notch, you'll encounter a large gendarme. Stay to the right to avoid class 4 terrain, scrambling up the right side of the first crux. Once over this, you'll almost immediately encounter a second crux. For the first time, drop to the left of the ridge, walking along a catwalk. This is the most exposed part of the climb. Runners may elect to stay to the right of this catwalk to avoid exposure and loose rock, or to stay to the left to avoid the low-grade scrambling required by this route. After a class 2+ scramble off the catwalk ramp, angle to the right to regain solid ground.
Walk on nearly flat, rocky but often undefined trail to gain the Mt. Evans Trail
Flora & Fauna
This class 2+/3 traverse is rocky and offers little in the way of wildflowers. Marmots and pikas will certainly pop out from time to time, however.