| Torreys-Ganley Traverse
Peaks: Torreys Peak (via Kelso Ridge), Grays Peak, Mt Edwards, McClellan Mountain, Ganley Mt (descent to I-70)
Details: ~16 miles RT, ~6500' vertical gain, 8.5 hrs
I've been wanting to do the Torreys to Ganley traverse for quite some time, so I finally did. If you attempt this route, you will spend a lot of time above treeline (about 7 hours for me) so you need excellent weather. There are few safe places to bail off the ridge if you need to, so an early start and good weather are mandatory.
I started from I-70 at about 0715 hrs and began hiking up the road to Stevens Gulch. You certainly could start from the upper TH if you like, I just preferred to make it a little more sporting. If you start from the upper TH, you will need to descend one of the gullies from McClellan or Ganley, some of which will cliff you out, so choose wisely.
Kelso Ridge, Torreys and marmot
I went up Kelso Ridge to Torreys first. There was only a little snow still present on the route, although the patch still left above the White Tower at the terminus of Dead Dog Couloir can be problematic. I donned Microspikes for the snow:
The traverse to Grays was short and sweet. The traverse to Edwards was a little more fun, going at class 2+ and some optional third class if you prefer. There are several bumps on the ridge to Edwards and it is actually much longer than it appears from Grays.
Torreys, Kelso Mt, and Edwards
Saw a goat on the slopes of Edwards:
Mt Goat on Edwards
I continued on the ridge to McClellan, which is just a short saddle crossing from Edwards:
Stevens Gulch from the ridge
After McClellan, you can choose to stay on the ridge proper or drop down to the old railroad grade (yes, there was once a railway that came most of the way up McClellan for the tourists). I dropped down to the road for a short stretch so I could run, but you have to re-gain the ridge soon to summit Ganley Mt. You also have to leave the railway grade (back to the ridge) to ensure you are able to return to Stevens Gulch and not end up in the wrong gulch to the east. There are several bumps on the ridge besides McClellan and Ganley, so you will be doing a lot of up and down.
After Ganley, you make your final descent back to the Stevens Gulch Road and I-70. The talus hopping and eventual bushwhack are NOT fun. I did some talus surfing on a mine tail before hitting the trees. The bushwhack through the trees is not at all pleasant. In hindsight, I think it would be best to make a bee-line for the road as soon as you hit the trees, as the further you get into the trees, the worse the bushwhack becomes. Best to leave the trees before they become too thick.
My route in Google Earth
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):