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 Peak(s):  Parnassus, Mt  -  13,574 feet
Bard Pk  -  13,641 feet
 Post Date:  06/12/2011
 Date Climbed:   06/11/2011
 Posted By:  avs88fan

 Hidden Gems along the Front Range   

Party: myself and 49ersrule
Mileage: Approx. 8.5 miles
VF: Approx. 4400 VF
Climb Time: 8 hours

After putting out a thread looking for a partner for this weekend to climb these seldom climbed peaks, I was fortunate to get someone who was interested in joining. I met 49ersrule off of I-70 and Morrison at 330AM, and made it to the Herman Gultch Trailhead a little after 4AM. I was surprised to all ready see a few cars at the trailhead. Apparently there was a CMC ski day up the Citadel.

The trail up Watrous Gulch was snow free until about 11,000 feet. Most of the snow was still firm and there were numerous ski tracks which made it relatively easy to navigate in the dark.

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First view of Torreys and Grizzly from Watrous Gulch.
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Beginning our ascent up the West Slope up Parnassus I was surprised to see the lack of snow above treeline. There were a few minor snow fields but could be avoided if needed.

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Slope of Parnassus looking north toward Woods Mtn.
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Mount Sniktau and Loveland Pass from Parnassus slope
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Above treeline, its a relatively easy hike over a huge expanse of tundra and a few talus slopes to summit Parnassus.

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I-70, Mount Bethel, Hagar and the Citadel come into view
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After just over three hours, we were on the summit of Parnassus. I was a little relieved when I saw the ridge traverse over to Bard because of the information given from Kiefer about the potential of a huge cornice and snowfield between the two peaks.

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Bard Peak from the summit of Parnassus
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We didn't stay long on the summit and started down to the saddle of the two peaks. There were a couple of sections of scrambling but nothing I would consider class 3.

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There was a short snowfield around 200 feet long along the saddle of the two peaks and it looked very safe to cross. It took us just over an hour to summit Bard.

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A ton of Snow on Grays
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Roberson and Englemann from Bard
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Grays, Torreys, Edwards, Kelso from Bard
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Parnassus from Bard
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We decided to resummit Parnassus as the safest way to get back to the trailhead. We met another hiker along the saddle who had come up from the Bakerville exit.

A shot of the short snowfield in between the two peaks.

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After resummiting Parnassus we wanted to get down with ease and we were very concerned the sloppy mess that could await us.

We totally lucked out and ended up glissading down one of the gully's of Parnassus for a good 1000 feet.

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After getting back below treeline, potholing was unavoidable however it was not as bad I would have thought. Back on the trail there was a mix of snow and mud and finally around 10,600 the trail was totally dry.

A great day hiking two great mountains with almost complete solitude!!!


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (2)
12ersRule


Lots o fun!     2013-07-29 12:29:11
Great outing! Thanks for inviting me along. Great views from both these summits. The minor postholing was worth it for a day with a lot of vertical and fairly easy traveling.


chamonix


”Hidden” gem no more....     2011-08-08 15:46:08
That's the problem with these reports. One has to decide between broadcasting their accomplishments and opening the flood gates to more crowds on those peaks. Pride vs. Quality for the next hiker...



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