Peak(s):  Flora, Mt  -  13,146 feet
Eva, Mt  -  13,130 feet
Parry Pk A  -  13,391 feet
Date Posted:  05/14/2022
Modified:  05/16/2022
Date Climbed:   05/14/2022
Author:  lathielen
 Flora-Eva-Parry Spring Link-Up   

Flora-Eva-Parry Spring Link-Up
AKA Windy Suffer Fest

On Friday, while skinning up at the Mary Jane resort, I kept staring Parry Peak in the face - and conditions looked beautiful up there. The ridge looked dry, and it was sunny and glorious. After skiing, I checked up on the route. Despite a windy forecast, I was pretty determined to get out after being thwarted by high winds for several weekends. I figured the route looked safe enough to hike even with the high wind forecasted. I convinced Elliot to join me, and we decided to head up for a 6:30-ish start.

Peaks Hiked

  • Mt. Flora - 13,148'
  • Mt. Eva - 13,130'
  • Parry Pk A - 13,391'

Hike Statistics

Unfortunately both of us had issues tracking and weren't able to get a recorded GPX from start to finish, but we started at 6:45 and finished at 3:15, so 8.5 hours car to car. The wind really slowed us down on this one!

We hiked roughly 12 miles with around 4,300 feet of vert, however it was probably a little less vertical due to contouring around Eva and Flora on the return trip.

Caltopo Map used for reference:

Trail Description

Without snow, the road at the top of Berthoud Pass and the Mt. Flora trail are very easy to follow from the start. With snow, we made some changes to the route plan, electing for a more direct line at the start. We donned microspikes, and with the firm snow made quick progress.

Looking back to the parking lot after hiking for a few minutes

After reaching the road higher up (bypassing the first couple of switchbacks below) we started heading left/north in the direction of the Mt. Flora trail. We found tracks in the snow that seemed to follow the trail pretty closely.

Following snow-trail

Not long after, we started hitting patches of dry trail. By the time we reached the saddle, we were able to ditch the microspikes. However, this is when the wind really made itself known. Winds were ferocious in the saddle. It was strong enough to be throwing sand and gravel into our faces; we were bracing heavily into the wind, and we were both knocked over at least once. Despite this, we decided to layer up, lean in, and power onward and up towards Mt. Flora along the well-defined trail.

Heading up Mt. Flora
Looking back at Colorado Mines Peak
Easy-to-follow trail heading toward Flora

Despite the wind trying to blow us off the ridge, we made it to the summit of Flora.

View from Flora, looking easterly

We knew we had a long way to go, so we bundled up. I took out a trekking pole, thinking it might help me brace against the wind (I don't know if it actually helped any...).

From Flora, looking towards Eva and Parry

Once we left the summit of Flora, we didn't find any distinct trails on the way to Eva or Parry. I've read there might be a clear trail going to Eva, but if there is, it was covered by the snow. There were obviously cornices on the east side, so we basically stayed just west of the snow line, following the ridge as we traversed to Eva and then to Parry.

The route from Flora to the Flora/Eva saddle was a pretty gentle descent - except for a very steep section in the middle of it. It was surprisingly steep, and instantly we knew that it would probably be the most challenging part of our return trip. We descended about 600 feet in roughly .4 miles, so it was close to a 30% incline on that slope.

Descending from Flora to the Flora/Eva saddle
Looking back at what would be the hardest part of the return trip

Ascending up to Eva was uneventful. At this point we were really beginning to feel the exhaustion from bracing against the winds constantly. Just a few minutes shy of the Eva summit, we found the first wind-sheltered location we'd encountered all day, and took a nice break in the sun and (mostly) out of the wind. After we refueled and rested for a bit, we continued on to Eva's summit. Since we'd already rested, we snapped some photos and continued toward Parry Peak.

Fallen tower on top of Eva - not sure how long it's been there, but bits of wood were all over the place
View of Parry from the top of Eva

The descent from Eva went very quickly. We just followed the ridge line, staying left of the snow. The ascent to Parry Peak was pretty steep, and took about 30 minutes from the Eva/Parry saddle.

Ascending towards Parry Peak.

We hurried up toward the final summit of the day. It was still quite windy on the summit, so we snapped some photos and then started heading down quickly. We found another relatively wind-sheltered spot to take a well-deserved break!

Parry summit views
Looking at our return trip from our resting spot below Parry Peak's summit

On the return trip, we were feeling pretty worn out from the intense winds. Thankfully, even though we still had constant strong winds, they'd died down enough that we weren't needing to brace against the wind constantly. Because we were feeling tired, we decided to contour around the summits of Eva and Flora a bit to conserve energy on the return trip.

Looking back up at Eva - we decided to contour around the summit on the west side (right)
Roughly where we bypassed around the summit of Eva

We contoured around at 12,800 feet, and it worked out perfectly! You wouldn't want to drop any lower than that, or you could end up in some rockier terrain. We came back to the ridge just above the saddle to Flora.

Now for the last mental grind of the day - we had to ascend the steep hill going back to Flora! It was just as challenging as we imagined, and probably the steepest climb of the day.

Okay, here we go... last kicker of the day!

After reaching the top of the hill, we again contoured around just under Mount Flora's summit until we reconnected with the obvious main Flora trail.

Yay trail!

We were finally enjoying some simple on-trail walking without getting knocked over by crazy winds! And then... the snow field. We got to slip, slide, and post-hole down to the car. How we wished we had a sled!

It's deceptive how difficult this last little bit to the car was...

Overall, this route was very simple to follow (stick to the ridge) and quite enjoyable, minus the crazy winds. On a calmer day, I think this would be a great high-altitude training day, as you spend the majority of the hike above 12,000 feet. I am definitely looking forward to trying the point-to-point linking Flora-Eva-Parry-Bancroft-James in the future! (Just... not on a day that windy...)

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
05/18/2022 20:23

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