| A General & Typical Report of Grays & Torreys
Ever since I climbed Quandary Peak over Memorial Day weekend, I had been wanting to get back out in the mountains and tackle some more 14ers. Easier said than done-- with a wedding to go to, and exams to grade for the end of the school year, I had different commitments that I needed to fulfill. Last weekend, I finally had some free time, so I decided to go for Grays & Torreys. The forecast looked pretty solid for Saturday, aside from some wind scheduled to come in during the afternoon, so I was all set for a good early climb on Saturday...
But I overslept. I didn't hit the exit off of I-70 until 7:40 or so that morning. I also completely spaced on the fact that, these mountains being so accessible off of the highway, there were going to be a lot of people. There was a long line of cars parked on the side of the road... I parked just shy of a mile down the road from the avalanche slide, so I had a bit of extra walking to do. I left my car right around 8 am. A few cars had braved the snow and made it to the trailhead, the smallest of which was a Jeep Grand Cherokee (I'm sure the conditions have improved since then, but just to give you guys an idea of what made it across).
Here we go!
After crossing the bridge and working my way towards the peaks, I met a woman named Peggy who was going for her first 14er. She was from Illinois; it was great talking with her on the way up for a while. Good company on hikes always makes time go by quickly!
After rounding the corner and hitting the base of the peak, I saw about 50+ people working their way up Grays. Not having done many 14ers before, this was definitely the most people I saw on 1 peak at one time.
There were a couple of places where snow was covering the trail, but it was nothing to be worried about... it was packed down well. After passing a number of people on the way up (and getting passed by a couple of runners & a dog who kicked my butt on the way up!), I summited Grays at 10:45 in the morning. It was a beautiful day. Definitely a different experience though from my last one; on Quandary I had the summit to myself for about 10 minutes; on Grays, I shared it with about 20 other people. Regardless, summiting reminded me yet again of how awesome Colorado is.
The obligatory summit shot
I stayed on the summit for about 30 minutes, and then decided to go on to Torreys. The walk down to the saddle was pretty straightforward, but when I started working my way up Torreys, the wind really came in strong!
Heading towards Torreys
It definitely was more of a battle to reach the summit of Torreys compared to Grays, but I made it up there after a bit (I didn't note the time though). There were a couple of patches of snow heading up, but they were avoidable depending on your route. Some people grabbed microspikes and just climbed up the snow that was left. This summit was much less crowded than Grays' was, but I didn't want to stay long... it was much cooler and windier on top. After about 10 minutes, I began the descent.
To get back to Grays, I had to cross a snowfield from the saddle onward. I did use my microspikes for this part of the trek; I know some people didn't utilize too much in terms of traction here, but I was happy to have them at any rate. Made for a quick & easy crossing.
The rest of the descent was fairly uneventful. Some clouds started rolling in, but there were still a number of people still heading in-- hope everyone made it down safely! I made it back over the avalanche remains (which were definitely softening up at this point) and back down to the car around 2:30 that afternoon. All in all, another awesome day in the mountains--
Since I'm heading abroad for the summer, I tried to get in one more 14er on Monday: Mt. Bierstadt. Some old friends & I went for it, but what started out as a beautiful sunny day changed fairly quickly. Around 13,700' or so, a snowstorm came in and hit us hard for a few minutes. We opted to turn around when we started hearing thunder. Some people kept pushing on, but we wanted to get off the mountain... by the time we made it back to the willows, it was snowing again & there was a good amount of thunder. We felt that we made the right decision to head back down.
In the morning...
...And a few hours later
At any rate, it was great to get #4 & #5 under my belt. Hoping to get some more when I get back to the best state in the Union in August!
ETA: Sorry this is coming later than it should've in terms of getting beta out there... had trouble with image sizes & spotty internet connection at some airports.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):