Mt. Parnassus  
Condition Updates  
Route: Ruby Gulch TH
Posted On: 2022-07-18, By: kwhit24
Info: I wanted to finally hike The Law Firm so parked at the Ruby Gulch "TH" at 6am and was the first car there. By the time I got back to the car at 12:30pm there were 20ish vehicles there many of which were parked along the road. To get up Engelmann Peak I followed MaryinColorado's TR up the drainage and then used the West NW ridge to gain the summit. The rest of the hike is straight forward. Didn't see any people until I was heading up Parnassus when I saw two groups of two. Coming off Parnassus there were probably 30-40 hiking Woods and/or Parnassus from Herman Gulch TH. Coming down off Woods I traversed the slope via a game half-ass game trail until the old mine road came into view. The traverse isn't great but it looks a lot better then head straight down the steeper slopes. Once I saw the road I head straight down making shortcuts beteen the switchbacks since the slope wasn't bad. There were a couple spots I didn't see the road well but as long as I headed in its general vicinity I always found it again. Shortly after getting in to the tress I just followed to road/trail. It wraps around a little backtracking south and adding some distance but that looked a lot better than bushwhacking threw the dense trees. Plus at each creek crossing there are good rocks or pipes to help cross. (10.38 mi; 5,203' gain; 6:09:23 total time) Start at TH 6:15am; Engelmann Peak 8:10am; Robeson Peak 8:40am; Bard Peak 9:25am; Mt. Parnassus 10:15am; Woods 11:05am; Back to TH 12:25pm 
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Route: Ruby Gulch
Posted On: 2022-05-24, By: dsr80304
Info: With recent snow and a good weather forecast, went up aiming for Drainpipe. Snow coverage looked great, but winds were cranking (vs modest wind forecast) and lots of snow was blowing into Parnassus north basin. Figured it just wouldn't be safe so diverted to mellower slopes on Woods. Snow was suboptimal. Needs a few freeze-thaw cycles to get back to corn mode. Some pics here of Parn, Woods north side and across the way to Torreys. 
Route: via Watrous Gulch
Posted On: 2022-05-06, By: csf-lhiver
Info: Snow in Watrous Gulch. Took a more direct route to the summit and avoided going to the saddle and turning right. Patchy snow on the way to the summit. The posthole session on the way out was my hardest so far, but I hope to break that record soon. Rollerball debris from a prior day. 
Route: Herman gulch
Posted On: 2022-02-12, By: jbealer
Info: Packed trail from TH till the split. we took Watrous Gulch till we turned right towards the upper sign, We broke trail with snowshoes from that point till farther up the right side of the gully where it got to rocky, switched to spikes. Windy as hell today. We took the other ridge down and postholeed to our waist through the trees. Not that bad of day out. 
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Route: Herman Gulch
Posted On: 2021-11-27, By: DorothyK
Info: Starting from Herman Gulch, the first mile or so is completely dry. Then there's a 1" layer of hard pack snow / ice. Further along, closer to where you turn right to go up to the Woods-Parnassus saddle, there are drifts of deeper snow, though going up higher you can meander so as to avoid snow. The south face of Parnassus is a mix of snow, dirt and rock. I found microspikes were helpful on the descent, though my friends did not put theirs on and were okay as well. 
Route: via Watrous Gulch
Posted On: 2021-06-18, By: Chelsea
Info: Summer conditions. All snow on the route is gone now, wildflowers are blooming like crazy. 
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Route: West Slope
Posted On: 2021-06-06, By: dleflar
Info: Watrous Gulch trail to saddle of Woods Mtn and Parnassus, west slope to summit are almost entirely clear of snow. 
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Route: Drainpipe couloir
Posted On: 2021-06-04, By: SnowAlien
Info: Bottom part is on the way out, but the top half skied really well. Line goes practically to the summit cairn with very minor sidestepping. Dropped in at 11am, probably an hour later than should have, but still skied pretty nicely and snow goes almost all the way to the TH (within 0.25 mi). Almost 3k of continuous skiing. Engelmann looks completely dry above treeline. 
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Route: The Drainpipe
Posted On: 2021-05-09, By: ClimberSkierDave64
Info: Climbed and skied the Drainpipe on Parnassus yesterday! The road to the parking pulloff at the Urad mine is clear of snow. There was deep uninterrupted snow all the way to the bottom of the Drainpipe from the car. There was also a snowmobile track that went all the way to the start of the Couloir. The skin up to the bottom was quick and easy and only took a little over an hour. From there we transitioned to crampons and axe for the climb. The choke point of the lower Couloir was all chunky frozen Avy debris. There was a bootpack all the way to the top, so it was fairly quick and easy. It was really WINDY on top and clouds were rolling in quick so we transitioned quick after summiting and started skiing. I did get a look at the NE face and it looked filled in with good corn all the way down, although both the pipe and NE face have big cornices on top with easy entrances on the sides. The top 300 feet was powdery snow with a little wind slab, but it felt well bonded to the snow underneath and it was skied out by many people. After that, it transitioned it soft corn all the way down to the choke and it was some really good skiing! Then, we cut left over a spine and onto a bypass so we didn't have to ski the horrible Avy debris in the choke, and there were some tracks down the area from the day before. The snow was icier in this area before going back to corn on the apron. We saw a couple other groups but we were the last ones down when we got done a little after noon. In total, it took us 6 hours car to car. We started at 6:00 and I think we timed it about perfectly because we got soft snow and the storms rolled in right after we got done. Overall, it was a really fun day of spring skiing! Our ascent is in red and the descent is in blue. 
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Route: Woods-Parnassus-Bard-Robeson-Engelmann
Posted On: 2021-03-20, By: gluckhikes
Info: Windswept snow and tundra from Woods saddle. Ridge to Bard is well packed with snow, easy to plunge step while avoiding cornices to the north. A pair of snowshoers also climbed from Watrous Gulch. 
Route: Watrous Gulch Route
Posted On: 2020-09-16, By: Brittanyjomad
Info: No snow on the route minus a few very small, easily avoided patches. So no spikes needed. GPS clocked 7.2 miles round trip and 4 hours 23 minutes (includes a 5-10 min stop at the top) Once you reach the saddle there is no more trail, but you can easily follow the ridge up to the summit. Arrived at TH (Herman Gulch TH)at 5:55 am and was only the second car there. It was pretty full by the time we were leaving. Although the peak forecast said high of 57 and 8 mph winds it was much higher winds and much lower temperature- water was freezing. Winter hiking appears to be officially here! 
Route: Watrous Gulch
Posted On: 2020-06-18, By: madadraw1
Info: Summer conditions for Parnassus. See my Bard Pk condition report for Parnassus-Bard loop. 
Route: Watrous Gulch
Posted On: 2020-06-16, By: gavyns
Info: Beautiful day! We started at 1:50pm, took 2h10mins to summit, back to the lot but 6:15pm. The trail is pretty dry the whole way up! There are a couple piles of snow along the trail still just after crossing the creek before making the left turn north on the Watrous (easily avoidable, I'd say 20ft wide and maybe 10-35ft long). There was about a 150yd stretch of snow on the trail about half a mile down from the saddle of Woods Mountain and Parnassus, but easily navigable up the left (West) side. The trail pretty much disappears after the snow field below the saddle, but just head East up the ridge and switchback as necessary, it can get steep! No problem staying dry all day, in terms of weather or on foot! We only saw one other couple all afternoon! 
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Route: Watrous Gulch
Posted On: 2020-06-14, By: CaptainSuburbia
Info: No snow to worry about. 
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Route: From Herman / Watrous Gulch
Posted On: 2020-06-07, By: WildWanderer
Info: No traction needed to get to Parnassus or Woods (last photo). There is still some snow on the trail, but it's avoidable. 
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Route: Watrous Gulch
Posted On: 2020-05-31, By: VeraUndertow
Info: Climbed Woods and Parnassus early this morning, left my car at around 5:45 from Watrous Gulch. Really nice trail dry on the way in till you get to the big stream crossing, I waded across this morning because the log bridge was icy. After this I turned left up the gulch where the trail splits with bard trail. There is a pretty solid boot pack the whole way if you stay on trail or you could be like me and find your own way and posthole and smash your shins on icy punch crust. IDK why I do that to myself, but it was more fun I guess. Snow stops about 500 ft vertical from the saddle but can mostly be avoided by staying on the well packed trail. Once on the saddle I went up woods first and summited around 7:40, there is a nice summit register but no pencil or paper inside so if you head this way it could use some supplies. Back to the saddle at 8 and on the summit of parnassus by 8:40. Was back at my car by 10:40 after a leisurely descent. 
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Route: Watrous Gulch
Posted On: 2020-05-29, By: Piotr
Info: The trail is snow-free all the way to creek crossing. Afterwards you can find a line without any snow all the way to the top. Top of the gulch still has lots of snow. 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2020-03-09, By: bkcheck
Info: Trail is decently packed down up to the Bard trail junction, but the snow is deep and not particularly supportive between the junction and treeline. Snowshoes recommended. A little after treeline the snow diminishes and you can pick a snow-free route all the way to the summit. The ridge up to Woods Mountain is dry as well. 
Route: Herman Gulch TH
Posted On: 2020-03-02, By: durkan
Info: Leap day spent atop Parnassus. Microspikes on at trailhead. Donned snowshoes at the Bard-Watrous Trail junction, but stayed to the west of the creek and did not cross toward the sign. Snowshoes stashed at saddle. Traction was not needed today from saddle to summit. 
Route: NW ridge via Watrous Gulch
Posted On: 2020-02-16, By: nickle
Info: Good skintrack/snowshoe track from the Herman Gulch TH to approx 2/3 up Watrous Gulch. Put in a good trench from the end of the skintrack all the way to treeline where the route is windscoured. All gullies that are steep enough to slide are wind scoured so there is little avy risk on the primary route. We did get one big 'whumpf' in a low angle area, the snowpack is sensitive, so be aware of route choices. The W face of Parnassus is totally windscoured and not a hazard. The ridge to Bard also looks scoured and low risk, we opted not to make the traverse due to the wind and temps. Beautiful day out. Photo #1: W face of Parnassus Photo #2: Ridge to Bard 
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