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Base Camp

  • Statistics:
    • Date Hiked:  February 11, 2005
    • Miles Hiked:  9.0
    • Elevation Gain:  4,835''
    • Hiking Partner(s):  None
  • Description:
    • Barnassoods is short for Bard Peak, Mount Parnassus, and Woods Mountain.  A couple of quality trip reports have been posted recently regarding these mountains, so I thought I'd check it out myself.  In addition to trying to take advantage of the broken trail, these peaks are relatively close to Denver and provide a good workout.  I'd recommend this hike for anyone who doesn't have a lot of time, but wants to get into the mountains.
    • I started hiking at 7:00 am from the Herman Gulch Trailhead.  The trail was well packed to the point where it crosses to the east side of Watrous Gulch.  I was able to stay on it for a while, but it was becoming much less distinct.  I'm kind of lazy when it comes to snow shoeing, so instead of putting them on, I simply turned east and started to ascend Mount Parnassus' west shoulder.  Apparently, this is the "Watrous Gulch Variation" route.  It was fairly steep and the rock wasn't entirely stable.  Since there was little snow and it was a more direct route, I continued.
    • I finally tied back into the standard northwest slopes route at 13,270'.  At this point, I dropped my snowshoes and some water.  I finished the hike to the top of Parnassus and enjoyed the 360 degree views.  It was only mid-morning and I felt good, so I dropped off the east ridge and made my way to the 13,037' saddle between Parnassus and Bard.  Including Bard Peak to the hike requires approximately 2 more miles of hiking and an  additional 1,150' of vertical gain.  Descending this ridge was the most difficult, but most exciting part of the day.  There was a fair amount of snow and it was relatively steep.
    • I generally stayed directly on the ridge unless I detected a cornice, then I simply moved to the south a bit where the slopes dropped off to Bakerville.  The snow on the ascent of the west ridge of Bard was wind blown and consolidated making it much easier to negotiate that the east ridge of Parnassus.  Unless I wanted to hitch hike from the exit 221 up to 218 where my vehicle was, I had to retrace my steps back to Parnassus, so I didn't stay long on Bard.
    • I returned to Parnassus and picked up my snowshoes while heading towards the 12,500' saddle between Parnassus and Woods.  From the saddle, Woods was less than a half a mile and only 440' away.  I dropped my pack and snowshoes and made a quick scamper to the summit.  I stayed on Woods Mountain long enough to take a few photos and then returned to my pack.  On the way back to Watrous Gulch, I was unable to pick up the broken trail until I was around 11,800'.  Even then, it was faint and I often stepped off the side sinking deeply into the snow.  Still reluctant to don my snowshoes, I stumbled back to where the trail was more defined and then made my way back to my vehicle.
    • As I mentioned earlier, this is a great hike because of trailhead access, proximity to Denver, and options for different mountains in the area.  It would also be possible to add Mount Machebeuf and Robeson Peak to the loop.  I might also recommend a shuttle from Exit 221 to Herman Gulch Trailhead so that you could descend into Bakerville and eliminate some elevation gain.  The ridge wasn't technical, but it did provide somewhat of an "alpine" feel that kept you on your toes in certain sections.
Leg Description Start End G (L) Grade Miles
1. Herman Gulch Trailhead - Mt. Parnassus 10,320' 13,574' 3,254' 22.0% 2.8
2. Mt. Parnassus - Mt. Parnassus/Bard Pk. Saddle 13,574' 13,037' (537')   0.5
3. Mt. Parnassus/Bard Pk. Saddle - Bard Pk. 13,037' 13,641' 604' 22.9% 0.5
4. Bard Pk. - Mt. Parnassus/Bard Pk. Saddle 13,641' 13,037' (604')   0.5
5. Mt. Parnassus/Bard Pk. Saddle - Mt. Parnassus 13,037' 13,574' 537' 20.3% 0.5
6. Mt. Parnassus - Mt. Parnassus/Woods Mtn. Saddle 13,574' 12,500' (1,074')   0.8
7. Mt. Parnassus/Woods Mtn. Saddle - Woods Mtn. 12,500' 12,940' 440' 20.8% 0.4
8. Woods Mtn. - Herman Gulch Trailhead 12,940' 10,320' (2,620')   3.0
  Cumulative Elevation Gain/Grade/Miles   4,835' 20.3% 9.0
    Time Timer  
Leg Description Beg. End Start Stop Minutes
1. Trailhead - 12,000' 7:00 8:25 0:00 1:25 85
2. Break 1 8:25 8:35 1:25 1:35 10
3. 12,000' - Mount Parnassus 8:35 9:50 1:35 2:50 75
4. Break 2 (Summit) 9:50 10:05 2:50 3:05 15
5. Mount Parnassus - Bard Peak 10:05 10:55 3:05 3:55 50
6. Break 3 (Summit) 10:55 11:10 3:55 4:10 15
7. Bard Peak - Mount Parnassus 11:10 12:00 4:10 5:00 50
8. Break 4 (Summit) 12:00 12:05 5:00 5:05 5
9. Mount Parnassus - Woods Mountain 12:05 12:50 5:05 5:50 45
10. Break 5 (Summit) 12:50 12:55 5:50 5:55 5
11. Woods Mountain - Trailhead 12:55 2:05 5:55 7:05 70
  Totals 7 Hrs. 05 Mins. 425





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