I started this last winter at a new company, and when I mentioned that I liked to climb 14ers, some of the folks at work said it's something they always wanted to do. So, I decided to organize a climb and ended up with a group of 8, after a couple people wussed out (you know who you are).
We started off from the trailhead at about 6:45, after some fumbles trying to get three vehicles worth of people to the turnoff from I-70 at the same time. We actually got there just in time to snag the last two spots in the lower half of the parking lot.
Group shot at the trailhead.
Grays and Torreys, with Justin getting a look at the sun.
It was definitely a beautiful morning, with the sun hitting us about a mile in.
Definitely interesting to see what people brought to eat, as some (like me) went the clif bar and energy shot route, while others brought tupperware with sandwiches and such. To each their own, I guess.
Heather getting started on the beer at 12,950.
Of course, some though beer worked as an energy drink...
Smoke from the High Park Fire visible to the North
Me on the rock tower halfway up Grays.
Of course I couldn't resist the rock tower, it was too much fun, and a nice easy class 3. Drop off the backside is a little steep, though.
The girl in the purple jacket there? Had spinal surgery done 18 months ago. At one point she and her docs thought she'd never walk again. She's on the way down the trail after summiting Grays as her first 14er. The very definition of bad-ass.
Group shot on top!
Of the 8 in the picture, it was a 1st 14er for 5 of them. We'd planned on doing Torreys as well, but got chased off the summit by the building clouds. I offered to lead a water bottle and camera speedhike up Torreys, but none of them took me up on it...
After having heard that there was still good snow off the saddle (thanks emohr), I had decided to bring my ice axe, and see if I could get a glissade in. You can see the results below:
My glissade line. Not the most ideal.
There weren't any good lines that weren't terrifying or took me well out of my way, so I ended up doing 4 separate glissades (one you can't see at the top in this pic, see map below). It was a blast, but actually ended up slightly behind the rest of the group, which was quickly fixed by running to catch up with them while still on the adrenaline high.
Tired but happy at the trailhead.
Group shot at the bottom. Everyone's sore, but glad they did it. I think 1 or 2 might even go hiking with me again!