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Route: SE Ridge, ridge to bushwhack drainage return
Elevation Gain: 3,274'
It's late Friday afternoon, the monsoon storm forecast has steadily gotten worse for the weekend. It even went from 40% to 60% during the course of the day for the region I was planning on visiting. Even the "snow" word was mentioned. In my current 13er quest, I haven't quite planned many non-ambitious treks. So with this bad forecast, and my growing dislike of long drives as the season goes on, I was scraping for ideas. What would be fun without the mind numbing long drive that has me burned out and wanting to stay home? Parry Peak and Mt Eva eventually floated to the top of my mind, so I looked up Greenhouseguy's TR from 2009..... "Sorry This site is temporarily unavailable" Darn, all I wanted was the map and the mileage/elevation stats!!! Summitpost didn't have any maps, but it did have the directions to the various trail heads. So this TR is for you last minute, want something close and easy folk!
The Rainbow road was easy for the first 1.5mi and then it got rougher with a few steeper switchbacks. A high clearance 2WD road, if you are skilled. I saw a minivan at the trailhead, so maybe foolish too. Since I got a later start than optimal, I decided to forgo Bancroft's east ridge class 3 scramble. So I angled up the ridge to the north and made my way on very easy class 2 ridge to the unranked summit of Mt Bancroft. It was a rather clear morning so far, could see easily over to Longs Peak to the north.
During my Bancroft summit break I notice some flowers near by. So I decided to play around and photograph the morning dew on them. Since I was solo, I thought it might be fun to finally use the "manual focus" on my camera. I learned how to use a SLR on an old Olympus OM-1, so focusing was really intuitive. How would a compact camera work (Canon S90)? Other than having to go through the menu system to get at the manual focus, the dial turning focus seemed to work well enough. I had been using the camera's "flower focus" setting, but I didn't like that I couldn't get as macro as desired. With the manual focus, I can get much closer to the subject than before.
Once done with this set of flower shots, I head over to Parry Peak along a very easy ridge.
Of course I don't make it 20' off of Parry Peak when I come across more flowers than need to be photographed! These purple spotted things were so much fun to play around with the manual focus. If Darrin would have seen me spend 20 minutes inches away from these flowers, he may have had a coronary!!!
Ok, puffy clouds have started, time to make the final summit of the day, Mt Eva. It is a close by jaunt from neighboring Parry, it didn't take that much time. The old communications tower is still there, if a bit more mangled than before. I wonder when this mess will be removed?
Once done with the Mt Eva summit break, I descend down the drainage to the series of reservoirs and lakes below. It didn't look so bad from above, a series of benches and then I would be back to a jeep road by the "lakes". So I take my time, getting distracted by flowers and flowing streams and waterfalls.
Everything was going well... until the willows, and the willow cliffs. From above the willows didn't look all that tall or troublesome. Well I almost walked off a cliff because it was hidden by a taller willow masquerading the drop-off. Wow, never seen anything this vicious before! So my easy jaunt back to my truck became a maddening willow bashing meandering affair! These willow cliffs were not very photogenic, but I did capture a pretty one from a safe distance and vantage point! In retrospect, I should have stayed along the willow-free northern edge of the drainage for most of the way down.
Once below the willows, I had the wind stunted trees and other bushes to contend with. Even getting down to the reservoirs proved taxing. At least once I got down there, civilization greeted me in all it's glory.
Will the bushwhacking ever end!?!
Flowers and ski turns...
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
I know those willow cliffs a little too well, did this loop in reverse in October a few years ago and postholed to my armpit in one of those willow cliffs! This area looks much better with flowers, nice pictures!
Thanks! Lots of fun with flowers... 08/23/2011 23:16
Mike - Sounds painful! Glad I caught myself the first time...
Caroline - I would have if I hadn't been waffling all evening on what I was going to do the next day! Not sure when I finally decided, but you may have been asleep already (after your day on Grizzly, Cupid & Sniktau)
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