Peak(s):  Bard Peak  -  13,641 feet
Date Posted:  07/06/2021
Date Climbed:   07/04/2021
Author:  jibler
 Set the Controls for the Heart of the Afternoon   

Ok - this one warrants Trip Report status to note: A) the unique late day attack plan - very intentional - and B) the unique return route?

Yes I have actually noted this area before re: Parnassus - coming at this area from north is just amazing to me.

But coming up on the 4th - the day with the best forecast of the weekend - I had been up listening to the Oysterhead webcast and also had nothing but time for that 4th. So rather than get there sort of late - and see some clouds higher up that would scare me down - I just set the whole plan around arriving late - and playing cat and mouse with whatever weather there was!

But all the chips fell in my favor as it was. I kept a steady watch because starting off a storm was passing over Berthoud Pass - but moving quick. And every other cloud that afternoon - despite forming up a bit - didn't press in.

But I did hit up that Bard angle weird - because I ended up on the very steepest shoulder - coming up like 70degree slope or something.


Summit West Parnassus looks like the portal to heaven!

So yes - thinking I was clever - on the way up I spotted some kind of weather old rock slide/goat path - and just for kicks I jumped in!

Is this a thing?

Part of me was thinking - 'this is a thing other people do when here - a shortcut back'

At bottom of slide looking up

It is debatable whether it was a shortcut at all. and was quite difficult at times. most of the top 3rd was OK - rock surfing

but the low end grew progressively steeper actually. and I was tired from the before mentioned webcast and that steep slope bustup too.

there were weirdly different sections of the slide too - like a real life video game with progressively difficult levels. at one point I just had to give in to my unconcious - I decided I would "Neo-like" just Matrix my way down the mtn.

But the slide path did lead to a place I now call 'the Alaksan Highlands'


That's slide path center - thru the rocks ledge up higher. And Bard is Center too.

Yes - started at 2:45 - landed at 8:20 - and then proceeded to Summit County along empty highways - it was beautiful.

finish line

But what's the deal? Tell me I wasn't the first one dumb enough to do that return move - right? That upper highland area was actually very nice - so it did work out beautifully more or less as loop route.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
questions are not rhetorical
07/08/2021 19:24
What about this washed out old rock fall path?

I don't think the goats could have made it look like that on their own?

No idea
07/09/2021 13:06
But interested in your ascent route - did you go up Robeson on the way up? I took the Robeson ridge to get Englemann a few weeks ago and it was awesome. I found Englemann's 4th gully on the descent actually wasnt too bad.

route lines
07/09/2021 13:39
Yes this should tell the tale - Purple Up and Green that down 'path'

on the way up - I meant to hit shoulder more to the left there - like I said that was not a good way up. but at the time I was busier scanning clouds than thinking about optimal way up.

But the return was nice because I had stashed water there and I managed to return to that exact spot on the way back without having to look around for my area.

Nice report
07/09/2021 14:28
Cool title, too (and yes, I know what your inspiration was).

To your question
07/10/2021 12:15
Goats and elk can definitely make trails on their own. Just look at the tic tac toe board all over San Luis Peak. This is the reason you can find superb trails up and across really obscure peaks quite often, they are what is called ‘game trailsť.

I‘ve done similar descents where I thought to myself the whole time I was being dumb, but it turned out fine. The issue is there‘s a fine line between rock surfing and super sketchy terrain. Mountain goats can negotiate much more difficult terrain with much more ease than we can, though if it turned out alright, I won‘t say it‘s a bad move.

There‘s also the whole thing about LNT with regards to scree skiing, I think we all feel a little bad about but will also gladly take it.

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