2014 Pikes Peak Marathon

2014 Pikes Peak Marathon
2014 Pikes Peak Marathon, Ready to Rock (or be rocked)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday, 5/30/09 Mount Parnassus (13,574) and Woods Mountain (12,940)

Mount Parnassus (13,574) and Woods Mountain (12,940)
5/30/09
~7 miles
~3,800 vertical
~5 hours
Jeff and Allison Valliere, Kevin Lund and Sierra

The plan for Saturday was to do something up high. What that was, nobody knew until we set foot on the trail. We had a few ideas, but none of those ideas included getting up too early, driving far, carrying snowshoes or heavy packs, so with a lack of any novel ideas, we found ourselves at the Watrous/Herman Gulch TH a bit before 8am. The names Pettingill and Citadel came up in conversation, but those involved gear and planning, which we were short on, so Parnassus it was.

The trail up to Watrous Gulch was snow free and just prior to the creek crossing, we made our own route, hopped the creek and headed directly up the fall line. As we quickly ascended and I-70 became more distant, a large dark cloud was building, guess where? Directly above Parnassus of all places. Step by step, we did not know if we would summit, or be running back down the hill any minute. Being the major chicken that I am when it comes to lightning, I was going to take no risks to bag Parnassus for the umpteenth time.

Luck was on our side though and we made the summit after a leisurely 2:20 ascent, topping out at 10:30am. Conditions were perfect as the cloud dissipated and we lounged for a good half hour. We were hoping to get Woods and then ring the gulch by finishing with Machebeuf, but once we topped out on Woods around 11:30am, the clouds were quickly building and there was some threatening thunder over Stevens Gulch.

Playing things on the safe side, we bailed back to the saddle, descended toward Watrous Gulch, but just prior to tree line, we contoured left, piecing together nice patches of dry ground all the way back to the mostly melted out trail. Of course the sun came out and we were bummed we opted to head down so soon, but better safe than sorry. We took full advantage of the sunny weather window and lounged for quite some time in the high valley next to the babbling brook, snacking and laughing. Although leisurely and local, it was a great morning to be up high and get a little exercise.

Pics:
http://s147.photobucket.com/albums/r296/jeffvalliere/2009_05_30_Parnassus/