Peak(s):  Parnassus, Mt  -  13,574 feet
Date Posted:  03/29/2017
Modified:  03/30/2017
Date Climbed:   03/26/2017
Author:  timashurst
Additional Members:   bbirch77
 Parnassus Drainpipe   

My First Trip Report:

Sunday 3/27/17

Mt. Parnassus
~ 5.88 Miles RT
~ 3300 ft

After an extremely dry March here in the Front Range it's nice that the precipitation started back up this weekend. I had read about this route online and in Fritz Sperry's 2nd book, and with the small snow expected Brett and I decided it was a go. The forecast called for cloudy and ~ 15-20 F with a chance of the clouds breaking in the afternoon so we left later than usual hoping to ski in better light. We left the car at 9:15 AM, checked our beacons, and headed up the skin track someone had already layed down.

Our first observation was about 5"-6" of new snow on top of the firm layer that had developed over the last couple of weeks. We made good time up through the trees and took a break once the terrain flattened out and Parnassus came into view. We realized while following the skin track we had come out of the trees farther south and east than we were planning. This is also when we noticed someone was beating us to it, 2 climbers were in a chute that appeared to top out above the drainpipe.
Ascent Route

We had planned on skinning to the base of the drainpipe and looking at the options lookers right of the chute for ascent but with a bootpack already down we talked it over and decided to ascend the same route as the other climbers. We followed their skin track as it started to get steeper and switchback up to the base of the chute.
Skin track starts to switchback

We transitioned to crampons/axes and talked about if we wanted to follow their initial tracks. We could see from a distance that they had ascended to the left of a rock and then traversed back over into the chute. We decided to go ahead and check out what the other climbers had in mind, only to soon realize it was most likely a mistake. The snow was really shallow in the area they had traversed and one of the sections offered a nice mixed move to get back over into the chute. While making this move I also learned I hadn't tightened my crampons properly because both of them came off my ski boots and were now just in the way of foot placement. I made it over, found a nice spot to sit, and thoroughly cleaned off my boots and got my crampons back on. Brett made his way over and we proceeded up the chute.
Looking back on our skin track.
Making the move over into the chute.

This short section took us quite awhile but once we were kicking steps again it was no time before we were topping out and much of the remaining route came into view. It was at this time we saw our friends slashing pow turns down the North Bowl. We exchanged a wave and they proceeded down to where we were. After chatting for a second they continued down into the Drainpipe. Seeing their turns got us even more excited for the descent. Again in kick step mode we made good time up the bowl and topped out on a small cornice. We put the skis back on and made our way to the summit.
View of Bard Peak from the Summit

We snapped some pics, stared in awe at the North Face of Bard, and decided to start our descent. The summit ridge back to our bootpack was very sharky. I pointed out what looked like a decent line, started gaining speed, and was quickly bucked luckily landing on my pack and then back on my skis.
Me mid shark attack.

We made our way without any more incidents back to the bootpack. I decided to ski the line just skiers right of our bootpack as this was the opposite side the other party had skied. I dropped first enjoying some of the best turns I'd had all season. I pulled off, watched Brett make his way down the face and we continued alternating down to the mountain until the entrance to the Drainpipe.
First turn down the North Bowl
Approaching the Drainpipe

Snow in the Drainpipe was prime. On top of the new snow some wind blown had accumulated in the chute. We weren't even upset that we were the second party down the line, there was plenty to go around. I made my way down first, rounding the corner then making turns on the fall line towards the exit. Approaching the apron I took those few last turns and straightened it out into the meadow below. It was pretty exhilarating floating on perfect snow out of a line I'd been looking forward to for some time.
Lower Section of the Drainpipe.
Looking back on our line

We took one more break in the meadow then skied back out to the car. This was definitely one of the best days I've had in the backcountry. I can't wait to see what the rest of spring has in store!

Thanks for reading! All photos were courtesy of Brett. Hopefully I'll be writing up more reports in the future. Cheers!!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Comments or Questions

Looks Fun
05/19/2017 12:37
Just saw your report. Looks like a great line, I'll definitely put this on the agenda for next spring! Great write up, thanks for the report!

   Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2021®, 14ers Inc.