My Dad and I have wanted to climb Parry Peak in the Indian Peaks Wilderness for many years. We have climbed most of the Indian Peaks, and we wanted to get Parry Peak in. What happened later that hike, will be remembered for a long time. This climb was 12 miles long with 5500 feet of elevation gain the whole day. However, after climbing Parry Peak for the first time, we wanted to climb Mount Bancroft. So, early this last summer, we decided to climb Parry Peak and Mount Bancroft from Fall River Reservoir. That hike did not not go well for us, but will also be remembered. This hike was 8 miles long and had 4500 feet of elevation gain.
Parry Peak with a Blizzard
During the first week of October 2008, I found a hiking book that showed us a route up Parry Peak from Berthoud Pass. We really wanted to get Parry in that year, so we decided to go for it the next week. We drove up from Denver early in the morning, and arrived at Berthoud Pass around six in the morning. We had not expected it to be so cold, as the temperature was just above freezing when we started out. We followed the road up Colorado Mines peak, as the sun came out and started to warm us up. We quickly crested the summit of Colorado Mines Peak, and descended towards Mount Flora. Here the wind started to pick up. The wind would blow around fifteen to twenty miles an hour for the next several hours, without letting up. We followed the gentle ridge up to Mount Flora, and we were feeling really good, without knowing how much harder the net part of the hike was. We stopped to have a quick bite to eat, and then started out towards Mount Eva.
The first part of the ridge between Mount Flora and Mount Eva was mostly flat, and after a while on the ridge, my dad said to me, that "we must not have to descend much at all to reach Eva". Nearly immediately after he said that, the ridge dropped out from under us, and descended a steep 500 feet down to the saddle. Going down this slope was not bad, but we realized that it would be quite hard to back it on the way back. We made our way up the other side of the saddle to Mount Eva. We reached the top, and we could finally see our prize of Parry Peak ahead of us. We dropped down quickly and started the 800 or so feet up to the summit of Parry Peak. It was an uneventful slow climb up Parry to the summit. The view from the top is one of the best I have seen from a peak. The entire Indian Peak Wilderness was in sight to me, and I could also see far to the south. Parry is the tallest peak in the area for many miles. The closest taller peaks are the Arapahoe Peaks further north. We enjoyed lunch at the top, and prepared for the long hike back.
As we headed down Parry Peak, I noticed a large line of storm clouds to our west. My dad saw them too, and we hoped that they would not come and hit us on the hike. We were wrong. After descending parry, we skirted the summit of Mount Eva as the storm hit us. With five minutes of when it started snowing, it turned into a complete whiteout around us. We had a GPS with us, so at least we didn't get lost. We also walked over a boulder field in the snow, we quickly managed to get out of it before we got hurt very much. We then started to climb up the slope up to Mount Flora, and after climbing four peaks and skirting a fifth, we were getting very tired. However, we marched up, and as we reached the top of Flora, our GPS died, and we were truly on our own. This was the coldest time of the hike, and we only had very thin gloves on to keep our hands warm. We made our way down Flora without even pausing at the top of Mount Flora. We were to tired and to cold to stop moving. Thankfully, the wind died down at this time. We cut down below Colorado Mines peak, and the sun started to come out. As we approached our car, we finally started to thaw out. We reached the car at six thirty in the evening as the sun was setting.
We got back in the car and drove to Winter Park and stayed the night there. We ate at the Creekside eatery, and I have never eaten so much food in my life. After eating, when I talked to my mom, did I find out how worried se was about us. She had called us several times on our way back, but my dad did not answer them because he was so cold. She panicked, and only started to calm down when we told her we were safe an off the mountains. This hike had us climb five peaks, but I love driving up to Winter Par seeing what I managed to climb.
Parry Peak from Fall River
This last July, My dad and I decided that we needed to climb Mount Bancroft and Parry Peak together from Fall river Reservoir. We found the route of Parry from Roach's Indian Peaks Book. We left Winter Park, drove over Berthoud Pass and descended to Fall River. The road into Fall River Reservoir was not good at all. It took us nearly 45 minutes for us to travel the last few miles on he road up to the reservoir. We parked at the reservoir, got ready and started out on the trail. We followed he trail along Fall River Reservoir until the trail ended at the far side of the lake. From here we bushwhacked up the steep slope next the Fall River. Here we realized that we had left our hiking poles in the car. We decided not to get them, an we bushwhacked next to a cascade until we topped out above tree line. The bushwhacking was very hard, and we thought that it was the hardest part of our hike at that time, little did we know that our fu was just beginning.
The valley above the trees was very beautiful and pristine, and we saw almost no trace that anyone else had been in this valley. We followed this valley to about 12,000 feet and when we were right below Parry Peak. Above us, there were two ways up, and thin grass ramp, and a horrible scree slope. For some reason, we ignored our GPS, and thought we were much higher and we took the scree slope. This scree slope was a 1000 feet tall, and it was a very long slope up. Going up the slope, especially near the top, it was like taking two steps up, and going one to two steps back down. Eventually, after nearly two hours of painful slogging, we made it up the scree slope to the saddle between Parry Peak and Mount Bancroft. We turned to our east and quickly made it to the top of Bancroft. We stopped for a minute, enjoying the views, and then turned around to bag Parry Peak in as well.
As I started descending, I nearly stepped on this beautiful Ptarmigan, that was hiding next to a rock. It was brown with flecks of gold, red and yellow, and was so beautiful. We headed back to Parry, and it was an uneventful climb up to the top of Parry. We ate lunch on top of Parry, but we decided to not go down the way we came up. We thought that we saw a route down from the saddle between Parry and Mount Eva. Therefore, we went down that way, but when we reached the saddle, we realized that there was no route down the steep rock faces. This resulted in us having us to climb Mount Eva. We climbed our third peak on the day, and then descended down a steep ridge and then down a steep grass slope to the valley below Parry Peak. Thankfully we thought, we could avoid the scree. We followed the valley down, and got back into the trees. We bushwhacked back to the reservoir, killed off the mosquitos that were attacking us, and descended back to the car as a storm moved in.
This hike was very eventful, and it showed me the power of scree and, bushwhacking, and mosquitos. Both of these hikes were very fun and enjoyable.
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