Shakespere’s sonnets of solitude

Route Stats:

Started a ½ mile west of the parking lot (9785’) on the north side of the Bakerville exit on I-70 and picked up the faint trail which we followed North East to the creek. Skinned along the banks of the creek to the base of a broad gully directly south of the summit (Shakespere). Climbed Shakespereto the summit and reversed our ascent route on skis. Great route info here – http://www.frontrangeskimo.com/bard-peak/.

Crew: Brian and Prakash.

Distance and Elevation Gained: ~7 miles and ~3900 feet, ~6.5 hours round trip

I wanted a quick tour with a late-ish start that would still get us back to Denver in time for Divya’s performance. I was interested in Buffalo and Brian suggested Bancroft which I’d skied before. We landed on Bard and Brian agreed. We carpooled from the Wooly Mammoth lot and were at the Bakerville exit beginning the approach at about 7:30AM. A bit of bushwhacking was encountered as we gently mozied up our route along the banks of the creek.

Skinning up the creek bed
Skinning up the creek bed

At about 9AM we approached a clearing that allowed a view of the saddle between Parnassus and Bard and took a short break to refuel and hydrate.

Finally out of the forest
Finally out of the forest

At this point we continued traversing the slope aware that we needed to turn north east at some point and enter the gully that we were to ski. As we got in the gully the Sawtooth, Grays, and Torreys presented themselves across the highway.

Evans and the Sawtooth behind Brian
Evans and the Sawtooth behind Brian

Clouds darkened behind the Sawtooth while Brian competed with the scenery for attention…

The rest of the way to the summit was a low angle slog up hard-packed snow and blue ice which weren’t a delight for my weary dusty skins. The route’s character was quite the opposite of what I would have expected of something called Shakespere.

Shakespere
Shakespere

We were alone on the route all day though and were grateful for the peace. We topped out on the summit a little before noon and hung out there for quite a while since we’d made decent time.

Brian on the summit of Bard
Brian on the summit of Bard
On the summit of Bard
On the summit of Bard

Occasionally I get asked if it really is worth lugging skis all the way up a mountain for just one run.

It does feel a lot like work and the skiing is often marginal, but sometimes I think it’s worth it just for the unadulterated vistas and for the opportunity to listen to the sweet sound of solitude.

Grays and Torreys off the summit of Bard
Grays and Torreys off the summit of Bard
Brian getting ready for it...
Brian getting ready for it…

I’ve felt there is much camaraderie built, and a lot to reflect on later with friends made while climbing mountains (although often we speak little during the climb itself). Putting in hard physical work together with someone appears to create friendships and memories that last. Brian getting ready for it…

Brian skis Shakespere
Brian skis Shakespere
Shakespere
Shakespere

The ski above treeline went very quickly and then the ski through the thick trees with light coverage was a little iffy. The bottom 800 or so feet were ski-boot depth slush with reggae sharks protruding through and we decided it wasn’t worth trying to ski through and plunge stepped down. We were back down at the car by about 2PM and found a lot of flight-for-life activity in the valley opposite. We were told that there was a rescue in progress up high on Torreys where a skier had broken a leg and several rescue crews were being flown up hastily in an attempt to beat the incoming storm. There didn’t seem much for us to do and we got out of the way quickly and sped off to Divi’s show in Denver.

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