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Ascent of Parrott Peak on 2022-06-08

Climber: Jeremy Troy

Date:Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Parrott Peak
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:11857 ft / 3614 m

Ascent Trip Report

Camped in La Plata Canyon to get an early start, and took the Miner's Cabin route through some old forest service roads to a drainage on the northeast side of Parrott Peak. From there, the route goes off-trail and gets quite steep first through some brushy overgrowth, and then through krummholz and scree to the saddle at 11,540'. Turn SE and ascend to the summit of Parrott (11,857') over loose talus.

From Parrott, the ridgeline works its way north over several rolling, but often steep, peaks. After descending back to the saddle, ascend Madden Peak (11,972'), Star Peak (11,761'), Unnamed Peak 11,870', and Unnamed Point 11,931'. That last point doesn't count as a standalone peak because the descent to its saddle with Gibbs is only about 100'. Typical descent between each peak was around 400-500'.

The ascent to the summit of Gibbs is the technical crux of the route. The ridgeline gets cliffed out at the final push, so you have to skirt around to the west, and then ascend some easy class 3ish (or hard class 2, I don't know. It was harder from a technical standpoint than class 2 terrain I've done in the past) terrain to regain the ridge. Walk the ridge the rest of the way to the summit of Gibbs (12,286').

For the descent, traverse to the north subpeak of Gibbs, and work your way down the east ridge. This starts with a downclimb of some class 3ish rock similar to what you saw on the ascent. From there, the grade evens out a bit, but is still steep with loose gravel in place of the solid rock we saw earlier. For me, I find it easier to downclimb class 3 on solid rock than to slip and slide down loose gravel, even if it is 'easier' from a technical standpoint. After a while, the ridge intersects an old trail that switchbacks down to a forest service road. Work your way down to Madden Creek, where you join up with the Madden Creek trail (the first actual trail of the day!) back to the bottom of La Plata Canyon.

The whole route is around 9 miles and 4,900' of elevation gain. I guess I added a little bit to the mileage by roadwalking to and from my campsite. Started around 6:30am and ended around 4pm. Not at all happy with my pace, but thankfully the weather was great all day. There is a bailout point before Gibbs if the weather is threatening.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2969 ft / 904 m
    Total Elevation Loss:395 ft / 120 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.5 mi / 4.1 km
    Grade/Class:2
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2960 ft / 902 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2877 ft / 877 m; Extra: 83 ft / 25m
    Loss on way in:83 ft / 25 m
    Distance:2.3 mi / 3.7 km
    Route:Miner's Cabin
    Start Trailhead:Miner's Cabin  8980 ft / 2737 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:312 ft / 95 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 303 ft / 93 m; Extra: 9 ft / 2m
    Gain on way out:9 ft / 2 m
    Distance:0.2 mi / 0.4 km
    Route:North ridge
    End Trailhead:Madden Creek  11554 ft / 3521 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Parrott-Gibbs Traverse

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Parrott Peak2022-06-08 a2969 ft / 905 m
2Madden Peak2022-06-08 b402 ft / 123 m
3Star Peak2022-06-08 c607 ft / 185 m
4Gibbs Peak2022-06-08 d846 ft / 258 m
Total Trip Gain: 4824 ft / 1471 m    Total Trip Loss: 4756 ft / 1449 m



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