Looking for an alternate way up to Kelso Ridge - I know Emporer and Eroica are accessed from Grizzly Gulch, but I am not the winter climber I will be someday (also North Ridge, damn Torrey's has some routes!)
I am not familiar with this road - how far can a 4WD vehicle get before you run out of road, or private property issues merit you stopping?
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You've never really stopped even if you feel like you have.
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There are at least three stream crossings on the road that your vehicle will cross depending on how far up you go. The road requires a good deal of clearance. It is borderline in my Blazer with my comfortability/skill level and no skid plates. I usually park at the first stream crossing and just hike. Access is pretty easy. I just wear sandals for the hike to wade through the creeks on the road and then throw on boots for the rest but if determined in a good 4wd vehicle you should be able to drive all the way up to the base of the Tuning Fork or further. You should be able to gain the saddle between Torreys and Kelso with one more creek crossing and a steepish bushwack through a good deal of down timber up from Grizzly road road. It will be harder access than Stephens Gulch for that route but definitely do able. There is private property up there but pretty easily avoidable in my experiences up there. Kelso ridge is mostly clear of snow and an axe is no longer necessary but there was still enough snow in the Emperor that people were skiing on it the weekend before last when I scrambled Kelso ridge so you could potentially bring snow climbing gear and do a snow climb too if you were looking for other options.
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