Spencer McKee approaches the final push of the Sawtooth Ridge. The ridge itself can be see directly behind him, along with a white line coming off of the upper right of his helmet that is part of the trail. The Mount Bierstadt summit can be see in the top right corner of the image. This route features big drops and exposure, along with plenty of route-finding. Do not attempt this time unless you have prior experience on similar terrain.

Spencer McKee approaches the final push of the Sawtooth Ridge. The ridge itself can be see directly behind him, along with a white line coming off of the upper right of his helmet that is part of the trail. The Mount Bierstadt summit can be see in the top right corner of the image. This route features big drops and exposure, along with plenty of route-finding. Do not attempt this time unless you have prior experience on similar terrain.

While class three climbing isn't for everyone, those that enjoy it are sure to love an option stretching off the summit of Colorado's 14,065-foot Mount Bierstadt.

Editor's Note: This article is talking about a dangerous class three climb that requires quite a bit of route finding and previous experience in similar terrain. DO NOT attempt this climb without the proper skills and preparation.

Visible from the Guanella Pass parking lot that most use to summit Mount Bierstadt, the Sawtooth Ridge offers climbers a thrill, while involving a relatively simple approach compared to many other technical ridges around the state.

Colors Explode as the Sun Rises Behind Mount Bierstadt Photo Credit: CharlesWhiting (iStock).

This image shows the Sawtooth Ridge, which extends from the summit of Bierstadt (on the right) to the jagged point on the left. Photo Credit: CharlesWhiting (iStock).

The most common way to access the Sawtooth Ridge is via the standard 3.75-mile west slope summit-bound trail up Mount Bierstadt. From the top of this peak, climbers can drop down onto the Sawtooth Ridge, which ultimately provides a means of connecting Bierstadt to Mount Evans – a nearby fourteener. Some climbers opt to travel across the Sawtooth Ridge, summiting Mount Evans, and then returning to the Bierstadt parking lot via a bushwhacking trail past Scott Gomer Creek. Others treat the Sawtooth like an out-and-back route, traveling this ridge both ways. Maps of the various routes on these mountains can be found on 14ers.com.

Overall, the Sawtooth Ridge traverse is a slow-moving, but satisfying grind. Not much of a trail exists in some spots, so climbers should expect plenty of rock scrambling and cairn spotting. Beautiful views surround the route and feature-options exist to deliver the experience that each climber is seeking. That being said, route-finding can be extremely tricky, especially in the direction headed from Evans to Bierstadt – and getting off route can quickly make class three something extremely more dangerous, in the range of class four or five.

If embarking on this route, prior class three climbing experience is crucial. Though two of Colorado's most popular peaks are in sight, the Sawtooth Ridge route itself doesn't see much traffic. Big drops could be deadly and rockfall potential exists. Do not attempt this route unless adequately prepared, well-researched, and with the full suite of safety equipment, including a satellite communication device and a helmet.

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Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.

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