Peaks: Torreys Peak via Kelso Ridge, Grays Peak
Start Time: 5:30 am
Summit Time: Torreys Peak: 8:45 am
Grays Peak: 9:35 am
Finish: 11:30 am
Elevation Gain: 3,600'
Roundtrip Length: 8 miles
To celebrate Independence Day, two of my brothers, my sister, and I headed up to Grays and Torreys. This was our first 14er hike of 2011, and we had a great climb. The weather was perfect, and we got an early start.
At the Stevens Gulch trailhead
Sunrise on Grays and Torreys
Torreys Peak and the Kelso Ridge
Crossing a creek above 12,000'
After the sign at 12,000', the trail ascends a hill to the right of a pile of rocks. At the top of this hill, which is about 12,300', there is a small trail that breaks off of the main trail and goes to the Torreys-Kelso saddle.
Approaching the saddle
We ascended a short slope, and reached the saddle (12,400'). From here, we had a great view of the Kelso ridge. I mentally split the route into three parts: the first part went to 13,200', the second was the gradual part of the ridge that went to about 13,900', and the third part contained the knife edge and the final pitch to the summit.
On the saddle, looking up at the Kelso ridge
We stayed on the crest of the ridge pretty much the whole way up, with the occasional scramble around a difficult point.
Climbing up the Kelso ridge
Climbing around a spire
There was some loose rock on the ridge, especially where there was Class 3.
One of the Class 3 pitches on the ridge.
Looking down on this area
This first portion of the ridge took quite a while, and it seemed to take forever to get to the top. Near the top we had to climb a long, white Class 3 wall.
Looking back on the ridge
More Class 3 scrambling with loose rock
My brother taking a quick break
Looking up the white wall
The top of the white wall
After the white wall, we scrambled up mixed Class 2 and 3 until we reached 13,200', which was the top of the first part of the ridge. The ridge was much more gradual above this point.
Looking down the wall
While we were taking a break, a mountain goat which had been climbing down the ridge walked right up to within about 5 feet of us!
A mountain goat climbing down the ridge
This guy got pretty close!
Climbing more gentle terrain between 13,200' and 13,900'
Finishing the second part of the ridge
After 13,900', the route gets difficult again. After some brief Class 3 scrambling, we encountered the most difficult part of the route - the knife edge. There was exposure on the right side of the edge, but on the left there was a snowfield that could be crossed instead of the ridge proper.
The knife edge
After the knife edge there is a short pitch of white rock. After this is a short Class 2 hike to the top of Torreys. We summited at 8:45, 3 hours and 15 minutes from the trailhead.
Climbing above the knife edge
We took a 20 minute break, and decided that we had time to climb Grays Peak as well. We summited Grays from Torreys in about 30 minutes.
Grays Peak from Torreys
Looking back to Torreys
Our group on top of Grays
The weather was perfect, and we had a great climb! I would definitely recommend this climb as a good Class 3 route.