In my quest to climb all of the 14,000 foot peaks of Colorado, I decided to return to Stevens Gulch and climb Torreys Peak. Two 14ers, Grays Peak and Torreys Peak, share the same Stevens Gulch trailhead. I had previously climbed Grays Peak. Now for Torreys.
As usual I hit the trail before daybreak. It's a good thing I did. I knew from experience that with these peaks being so close to Denver the parking lot fills up very quickly, and I didn't want to have to park down the road and hike up the road. At 5:00 a.m. the parking lot was already half full and people were already beginning their hikes in the dark. I donned my headlamp and joined them.
When Torreys first came into view, I noticed a full moon setting over the peak:
I remembered reading that the full moon that appeared on August 31 was a "Blue Moon". The expression has nothing to do with the moon's color. A "Blue Moon" is the rare second full moon in a calendar month. The next "Blue Moon" will not be until July 31, 2015. Here's a closer look at Torreys and the "Blue Moon":
At around 13,200 feet there is a junction in the trail. Turn left to go to Grays; turn right to go to Torreys. Here is the view of Torreys from shortly past the trail junction:
As I was hiking from the trail junction to the saddle between Grays and Torreys, two different people asked me if this was the trail to Grays. I told them that they could either descend back to the trail junction, or keep hiking to the saddle and turn left there. They both chose to continue to the saddle.
As you approach Torreys it looks pretty intimidating. Don't worry; it's not near as hard it looks:
When I reached the saddle I was hit by a blast of cold, strong wind that a guy who was descending had warned me about. Since it was Labor Day weekend I was wearing my usual summer hiking clothes. I put on my gloves and the hood of my jacket, but never really got warm the rest of the way to the summit. The good news was that after reaching the saddle the remaining route became obvious:
Due to the cold and the wind I didn't linger very long on the summit. My photos from the summit were somewhat hurried. But I did get a good picture looking back on the route and of neighboring Grays Peak:
Looking Back on the Route
On my descent I received a welcome respite from the cold and the wind once I got back below the saddle.
Despite the crowd of people on the trail, I found Torreys to be a very scenic and enjoyable hike. Although I've now checked both Grays and Torreys off of my list, maybe I'll come back and climb it again during the next Blue Moon.