Was originally planning on hiking Flora from Berthoud Pass, but when I arrived the pass and ridge were inside a cloud. Waited for a little bit to see if it would burn off, but as it wasn't getting any better figured I better find somewhere else to go.
view from Berthoud pass
Drove back down to 70 then up to the Herman Gulch Trail head (Exit 218 ). Decided I'd hit Bard peak via Parnassus.
Basically hike up a little ways, make a right at the junction and follow it up into Watrous Gulch.
turn right here
The trail was well packed into the gulch. After that
it got real as the tracks ended and there was a lot of gain. I headed up the ridge to the left of a gully. There wasn't a ton of snow but I figured the gulley was not the place to be none the less. I got to test out my MSR Lightning's and they did very well, even on the very steep parts. Snow was maybe knee deep to only a couple inches up the ridge.
up tthe gulch
up the ridge (sorry, no picture of gully)
looking down the ridge
It was a beautiful day out, and up through the snow I was comfortable in only a long sleeve shirt (well had pants on too ). Got to a point where there was some wind and no snow so put on a wind shell, packed the shoes and climbed the renaming 1000 or so feet.
near the top
Hiking up I intermittently heard loud booms echoing through the valley, probably explosions setting off prrscribed avalanches to clear dangerous areas, kinda creepy though. Little later saw two flight for life helicopters cruising the area.
Views up top were incredible, pictures do better justice then words could.
Bard Peak a mile a way
Grays and Torreys (double point on right)
Evans, Sawtooth and Beirstadt
Bard peak was on the other side of a saddle a mile away, and I very seriously thought about heading over. But i fought the summit fever because A: it was already 2 thanks to a late start, and B: Bard would be adding at least 2 miles round trip with return over Parnassus or down toward 70 through uncertain terrain.
Got back to the car about 3:40, think I made the right call on Bard (probably wouldn't have made it back till 6), will just need to go back for it!
Since the Loveland Pass exit was quite visible from the top decided to drive up there to see my climb. Not too shabby.
Parnassus from Loveland Pass Exit
upper part of route roughly