Teachers on the Summit
Grays Peak- South Ridge
7.0 miles, 3250 feet elevation gain
Group- Susan, Katrina, Karen, Ashley, Tonia, Laura, Wendy, Holly, Matt, Jim, Pat, James
A friend and I got the idea of taking a group of coworkers up a 14er. We teach middle school, so we’re slightly crazy to begin with, and quite a few people said they’d love to come along. Choosing a route was difficult- we didn’t want a three hour drive, we didn’t want something too over the top challenging, and we didn’t want the line of ants going up Bierstadt or Grays and Torres. Finally, we got the idea to go up Grays on the South Ridge. This is a great alternative to the standard route- we had the basin to ourselves, and it really is a charming place. It is steeper and more difficult, however.
It took us a while to get everyone to the trailhead- some bad communication on my part with directions, and a rougher than I remember drive up the dirt road got us to the parking lot just past 7:00. We took off just before 7:30.
first view up into the basin, Grays peaking out on the left
on the road, early morning
first look at Grays- long way up there
Karen considering her near future
group walking under Grays
end of the road, turning onto the trail
the basin below- a beautiful place
Katrina turns the corner to the upper slopes
upper slopes- break time underneath the summit of Grays
on the grassy upper slopes
Katrina over a cool looking frozen lake
nearing the crux- the steepest work below the ridge
Grays waiting patiently
Susan and Tonia making the ridge
we all meet back together on the ridge
Jim working on his snowman
happy snowman before a ruthless attack by Pat
the ridge- final summit push
Summit relaxing on Summit
faculty meeting- let's talk about the gum rule some more!
Jim gaining Torres, Grays in background
back on Grays- can you see the group below?
back on the lower trail
crossing a stream
the walk out- sore feet!
last look back at Grays- we climbed that!
I had been worried about the weather- specifically the wind- and if the ridge would be too hard for people to enjoy. It turned out to be a near perfect day. Absolutely no clouds over us the whole day, and the wind was always brief when it would arrive. Everyone was able to summit, and it was a happy group of teachers on top of Grays at 11:15. A smaller group took off towards Torres, but we all were more or less back together by the time we regained the road at the bottom of the basin. The walk out was quick, but a flat tire on Tonia’s car was waiting. Matt and Pat were rock stars, and while the rest of us relaxed, they got the job done.
This was Katrina’s first summit of a 14er, I think everyone felt accomplished and had a good time! To the teachers!