Mount Parnassus - 13,574' - Class 2
Bard Peak - 13,641 - Class 2
This trip was the first trip I did of the new decade on a warm January day right after the New Year. Josh and I were on Christmas vacation from school and it was forecasted to be 50 degrees with calm wind in the mountains so we went to the Front Range for some winter bliss. This turned out to be my very first calender winter ascents if you could call it winter. Josh drove us out to the Herman Gulch trailhead just off I-70 shortly before the tunnel where we parked and started hiking up the well beaten trail. We made quick time to a small cabin and a sign which showed a fork in the trail. Here we left the trail and for a short ways post-holed through some trees until we reached treeline where all the snow was wind blown away to bare rock. By now it was getting quite warm as we slogged up steep talus all the way to the summit of Mount Parnassus. The only other person we saw was a solo hiker on the summit already. After a nice chat we decided to do the traverse over to Bard Peak. Since I knew absolutely nothing about snow travel or avalanches I looked over the entire ridge for any place with snow and the only part I could see was a small bit at the saddle. So off we went. The initial descent was very simple and dry but when we reached the saddle, I carefully crossed the snow. It's funny to think at that point I was on dangerous terrain when really there was nothing to worry about. We finished the ridge hike up to the summit of Bard Peak where to my surprise we were able to see Denver! Josh mentioned you can see Bard from Denver if you know exactly where to look. After a half hour on the summit we retraced our steps all the way back over Parnassus and down the steep talus (which was quite painful) to the car. I was very satisfied to finally have done a climb in winter!