Peak(s):  Bard Pk  -  13,641 feet
Blaurock, Mt  -  13,616 feet
Date Posted:  05/20/2017
Modified:  10/20/2018
Date Climbed:   05/15/2017
Author:  Mtnman200
Additional Members:   RandyMack
 Point of Snow Return (Bard Peak & Mt. Blaurock)  

Sunday, May 14, 2017
Having not done any climbs since January, Randy and I decided it was time to tackle a couple of bicentennials in their finest spring snow. We were looking for peaks with south-facing approaches, easy access, and minimal avalanche risk. Two peaks that fit the criteria were Bard Peak and Mt. Blaurock. We left our home in the afternoon and drove to Hoosier Pass, intending to camp there for the night, but the road heading west from the parking lot was covered in deep snow. Okay, time for Plan B. We drove up County Road 850 past the Quandary trailhead toward Blue Lakes. Snow blocked the road at an intersection at 11,315', so we stopped there and camped along a side road. High winds made cooking dinner a challenge and convinced us to go to bed early.

Monday, May 15, 2017
We drove through Frisco and east on I-70 to Bakerville (Exit 221). After cooking breakfast, we bushwhacked slightly west of north until we located an informal trail. The trail was dry until it abruptly disappeared under deep snow at about 10,500'.

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Bushwhacking through the trees before we found an informal trail


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This deer or elk had a bad day


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The trail is hiding somewhere under the snow


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Time to put on the snowshoes


We zigzagged our way uphill through the pine trees, eventually finding that the easiest path was on the frozen creek that begins south of the Bard Peak - Mt. Parnassus saddle.

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Our route on the frozen creek made for a nice clear path through the trees


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Looking south toward Mt. Edwards, Kelso Mountain, Grays Peak, and Torreys Peak from near timberline


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Looking north toward the Mt. Parnassus - Bard Peak saddle (Taken from the same location as the previous photo)


We were able to follow continuous snow all the way to the Bard Peak - Mt. Parnassus saddle. The consolidated snow was nice and firm and would have made for a great ski descent if we actually had skis with us.

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Another view south toward Mt. Edwards, Kelso Mountain, Grays Peak, and Torreys Peak from just below the Parnassus - Bard saddle


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Looking toward Mt. Parnassus from just below the Parnassus - Bard saddle; the true summit of Parnassus is not visible


We stashed our snowshoes and switched to microspikes before continuing to the saddle and turning right (east) toward Bard Peak.

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Mt. Parnassus from above the Parnassus - Bard saddle


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Heading up the ridge toward Bard Peak (taken from the same location as the previous photo)


Before long, we found ourselves on the summit of Bard Peak (13,641'). If there was a summit register, it was buried beneath the snow.

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Randy's relaxing on the summit of Bard Peak


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The view from the summit of Bard Peak


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Another view from the summit of Bard Peak


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And another view from the summit of Bard Peak


After having lunch on Bard Peak's summit, we headed back the way we'd ascended. Below the saddle, the snow was getting slushy, but we only had a couple of posthole incidents, and those were in the trees below 11,000'.

Once back at our car, we drove south of Leadville and turned west on the Clear Creek Road to Winfield. Three separate avalanches had recently covered the road, but the debris had been removed and the road was completely clear to Winfield. We continued west of Winfield along North Fork Clear Creek on Forest Road 2A to Grey Copper Creek, where snow (about 18" deep) blocked the road. That's okay, because this is where we planned to camp anyway. One of us (I won't name names) had forgotten to pack our plates, but his son suggested using a lid from the cook kit as a makeshift plate. That made our dinner a lot less messy.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
After crossing to the west side of Grey Copper Creek, we headed uphill through the pines and numerous small aspens toward a ridge that heads north and then north-northeast to Mt. Blaurock's southeast ridge.

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Looking back at Browns Peak, Huron Peak, and West Apostle


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Lower down, the ridge we ascended between Blackbear Creek and Grey Copper Creek was snowfree


We avoided random patches of snow during our ascent of the ridge but eventually reached a point where we put on our microspikes.

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The snow was more continuous (with a few breaks) from about 11,800' to the Mt. Blaurock - Ervin Peak ridge


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Looking back down the ridge we ascended between Blackbear Creek and Grey Copper Creek


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From just above treeline, we got a nice view of Winfield Peak. Notice the old road climbing its northeast flank (lower left)


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Looking up the ascent ridge; Mt. Blaurock's true summit is far left. The other bumps on the ridge look higher but are just false summits


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Ervin Peak (13,531) to the east from the same location as the previous photo. Someone's footprints went up a steep couloir (right of center)


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Looking back at Browns Peak, Huron Peak, Ice Mountain, and West Apostle


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Mt. Blaurock's true summit is far left. We went up the edge of the snow (far right) and then scrambled up the rocky ridge


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Ervin Peak from near where we reached the Blaurock - Ervin ridge. The north-facing slopes are much snowier than the south-facing slopes


We scrambled up the rocks to the Blaurock - Ervin ridge and discovered that the narrow ridge to Mt. Blaurock's summit was almost entirely covered in deep snow. The ridge was corniced on the north side and steep on the south side. We put on our snowshoes and headed along the ridge. Because we were focused on making sure we stepped in the right places on the ridge, we didn't stop to take a photo of it. However, we found a photo (below) in another trip report that shows approximately what the ridge looked like today.

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Ridge to the summit of Mt. Blaurock. Photo by Wyoming Bob (RIP)


At one point, we had to descend below the ridge on the south side before regaining the ridge. We definitely felt a lot safer with ice axes.

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We descended from the snowy saddle before traversing to the left and climbing back to the ridge


Once back on the ridge, we continued to the summit of Mt. Blaurock (13,616'), where we enjoyed the fantastic views while taking a lunch break. The summit register was damp (someone had left the canister upside-down), so we didn't sign it.

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Looking south from Mt. Blaurock's summit


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We found an article about Carl Blaurock on the summit. This peak was named for him in late 2003. Ervin Peak was named then as well


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Mt. Huron and friends from Mt. Blaurock's summit


After resisting the urge to imitate Carl Blaurock with a summit headstand, we carefully retraced our footsteps along the ridge and then descended toward our campsite. The weather was quite cooperative today, with only a few snow flurries the last hour or so. We returned to our campsite feeling pleased with our first May climbs of thirteeners. A stop for pizza in Buena Vista re-energized us for the drive home.

By the way, on Sunday we were delayed a few minutes by two cars involved in a head-on collision on US 24 between Florissant and Divide. Someone obviously was distracted or was going too fast, and luckily no one was killed. Please be careful, everyone.

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Route to Bard Peak from the Bakerville exit (same one for Grays & Torreys, but on the opposite side of I-70)


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Route to Mt. Blaurock from about one mile west of Winfield



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
climbnowworklater

Good times...
05/20/2017 08:26
Personally, I think this is representative of a perfect TR. No links to another website or to a video, just an honest breakdown of your experience along with photo's and commentary. Excellent. Also, agree 100% on the driving as I find this to be the most dangerous part of life. Heck, I feel safer rock climbing or skiing a 14er than I do driving there.


Jay521

Nice
05/30/2017 09:43
Ditto above. A well written report with great pics. Bard is one of my fav peaks and your report reminds me I need to visit her again. Thanks!



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