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Abyss Lake Basin

Colorado > Alpine Rock > Mt Evans


The Abyss Lake basin sits between Mt. Evans and Mt. Bierstadt in a pristine, alpine, Zen garden of boulderfields and meadows just above treeline. It is home of the route Doubloons, 5.14 and some bouldering. I haven't come across much else on climbing history here. I found one old piton and a few newer bolts on some of the more easily accessible formations. Mostly, it's just been me and a few friends putting up routes here for the last few years. The rock quality varies from amazing to funky and crumbly alpine granite. I've never seen anyone else climbing here.

Louder Than Eleven made a bouldering video about this area that can be found here:

Getting There

There are two main options: the easiest way, or if the Mount Evans Road is closed, is to hike 6 miles on the Scott Gomer Trail, up Guanella Pass Road. The fastest way is to drive up the Mount Evans Road and park on the left at the third switchback past Summit Lake. Follow the very short, well-defined flat trail that leads to an overlook of Mount Bierstadt. From the end of the defined trail, there are several loose gullies that descend 1,000 feet to the Abyss Lake Trail below. I've been down most all of them now, and while most will work, they can be a pretty loose and scary. The best option isn't too bad, and I would say 3rd Class if you find all my cairns. I took some flatlanders down there with packs full of beer for my bachelor party, so how bad can it be? At the end of the short defined trail, take a hard left, and pass a wooden post and the most obvious descent gully. It's loose and cliffs out at the bottom (which you can cut left if you find yourself in this gully). Instead, take the next gully skier's left, but stay to the right side of the gully. As you descend, stay to the right until you pass under some small slabs that look like they could host some cool, yet super short routes. Continue switchbacking down along grassy ledges until it gets steep and loose and cut right to join the "obvious descent gully" at the bottom (below where it cliffs out). If you miss the right turn and stay in the "skier's left" gully, it's not too bad and is probably a bit faster. At the bottom of the gully, continue straight toward Bierstadt until you run into the Abyss Lake Trail.

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Wind Tower looking southwest.

Photo credit: Ben Scott.
[Hide Photo] Wind Tower looking southwest. Photo credit: Ben Scott.