| 13er fun in James Peak Wilderness
Bancroft,Parry,Eva, Flora, Witter, Breckinridge
Round Trip Milage- approx: 10MI
Vertical Feet-appox: 4800 Vertical Feet
Wonderful Ascent, Miserable Descent
The culmination of my spring hiking this year was a big one. I have always wanted to hike Bancroft, Parry, Eva, and Flora as I see these peaks everyday outside of my condo balcony. After climbing James last year, I knew I had to get back. I had planned this hike a few months ago, as I wanted it to take place a week before my wedding.
I met up with JasonF, my trusty hiking partner at 430am in Denver and made our way to the Fall River Trailhead. I was a little hesitant on going up there with all of the reports of trash, guns, and obnoxious behavior in the area. I was pleasantly surprised to see very little of this when we made it to the trailhead.
After reading a few reports on the road, I was surprised how rough it actually was. We made it to within about a .25 mile from the dam. Here is shot of the road on where we stopped.
Just before the dam, there were two or three snow drifts 10+ feet deep and I was amazed at why these people would want to take there SUV's this far.
Our original plan was to take two cars, park one at the Fall River trailhead and the other at Berthoud Pass. We changed our mind last minute, as we didn't feel the timing would work out.
Jason and I started up the southeast ridge on Bancroft. We had to do a little bushwhacking through the dense trees above the dam and thankfully the snow was still frozen and we were above tree line in just over half an hour. Looking down on the reservoir as we made it to the ridge.
We decided to stay low and traverse below the ridge on Bancroft. We were then greeted to some awesome views of Parry and Eva. Looks like a few wet slides. I also noticed three skiers who we eventually met on the top of Eva later in the day.
After an hour and half of hiking, we made it to the ridge at 12,500 and got our first glimpse of Bancroft and the summit.
At the same point, looking due south was G&T. I swear I could see a line of people going up Gray's and was thinking to myself, so nice to not see any crowds today.
The rest of the southeast ridge on Bancroft is easy talus hopping but not really a defined trail. We made it to Bancroft's summit in just over two and half hours. Looking north, James Peak and IPW and RMNP in the background
Summit photo with Parry Peak behind me
A quick stay on the summit and after signing the make shift registry we were off to Parry. The saddle between the two peaks is only around 250ft so we were able to make it to Parry in a half an hour. A huge snowdrift blocks direct passage to the summit but we were able to kick step into the snow. While on the summit of Parry, the snow was so soft; I sank into the snow up to my waist and was a little annoyed that I couldn't enjoy this summit. Looking west from the summit of Parry.
We only stayed on Parry for 1-2 minutes and headed over to Eva. The ridge from Parry to Eva had very little snow, however a sweet cornice had formed on the saddle.
I managed to find a safe spot to peer over the edge and I managed to capture the huge snowfield and slides between Eva and Parry.
The hike up Eva was a little slower as there is around 400-500 feet of loss between Parry and Eva. I managed to talus hop onto Eva's summit from Parry in just over 45 minutes.
As Jason headed over to Witter Peak, I descended down between Witter and flora some 500 feet to around 12,400. I was amazed at how low the saddle between the peaks was when I read my GPS. The route back up to Flora looked a little intimidating after all ready summiting 4 peaks.
It took us a good hour and half to get from Eva to Flora but the route was snow free and mostly on tundra. A quick shot back over at Eva and Parry from the summit of Flora.
We came to the decision to take the CD trail over to Breckinridge peak and then descend into the drainage between Breckinridge and Witter instead of having to hike back over Witter and into Chinns Basin. We would later regret that decision as we encountered a 2 hour miserable death march in waste deep snow.
I managed to get a great shot of the Evans massif while on the CD trail. The previous week I had climbed Warren, Spalding, Gray Wolfe, and Evans. It was a neat vantage point to see what I had accomplished the prior week.
On the CD trail with a shot of Breckinridge Peak
Looking back at Mount Flora with Ethyl Lake below the summit
After a an absolute miserable endeavor of waste deep snow and navigating over three fairly large creeks, we climbed back up 700 feet to the ridge just above Chinns Lake. We then descended into the basin, which was fairly steep and rather sketchy with all of the snow.
A neat shot of Chinns Lake and Witter Peak in the background.
Finally after 9.5 hours after we began, we had made it back to Fall river. A parting shot of a very neat and very underrated area.
If you don't like crowds, have a decent SUV, and don't mind annoying people shooting their guns at stuff, hike here!!!
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