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 Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
 Post Date:  10/10/2006
 Date Climbed:   10/09/2006
 Posted By:  cowboypete

 Grays & Torreys standard route   

This is the latest in they year I have climbed a 14er, but the conditions looked good so we gave it a shot. We arrived at the Steven‘s Gulch trailhead at 8:00a.m. to moderate temperatures and light freezing fog. The trail begins quite easy for the first mile-and-a-half. Near the turn-off for Kelso‘s Ridge we began to encounter snow on the trail. It was well packed and we made good time. At about 13,500 the snow was a little deeper, but still very passable. The trail was covered, but thanks to the large cairns we were able to find it without much trouble. The visibility at the top was about 50 feet most of the time. We made it to the summit of Grays Peak with little trouble. By then it was snowing lightly and the wind had picked up a little. I put on my heavier coat. Out hydration packs were beginning to freeze as well.

From there we descended to the saddle ridge between the two mountains. We missed the initial part of the descending trail, but it was not too bad. The trail going up to Torreys was also hard to find. We stayed close to the snow-crusted ridge making certain not to venture too close. (The drop off this side is pretty unforgiving!) This trail is a little steeper than the one up Grays, but the conditions were still good. We made the summit of Torreys Peak and paused long enough for a picture before heading down. The snow had picked up and the wind was gusting pretty good. We descended to the saddle and found the trail that cut across the front of Grays to the main trail. The trail was not visible, except for the occasional cairn due to 2+ feet of snow. We began crossing to the first cairn and discovered that the snow was iced over. It was fairly steep. We backtracked to a cairn and I put on crampons. With them I was able to break through the ice and get a solid footing. It was a miserable traverse for about 150 yards until we got out of the steep ice. The remainder of this trail was difficult to see because of the snow covering it, as well as the snow falling. The further we went, the better the conditions were. By the time we made it back to the main trail, we discovered that there was about 6 inches of fresh powder since our ascent. The snow was slippery and made the descent a little slower. We finally made it back just after 3:00p.m. It was a beautiful climb.
ImageKelso Ridge leading to Torreys Peak (in the clouds.) This is on the way up... before it started snowing.
ImageTorreys Peak (still hiding) from the saddle between it and Grays.
ImageKelso Ridge & Kelso Mtn. from Grays Peak Trail at about 13,000‘. This is from our descent. Note the increase in snow.
ImageUpper part of Kelso Ridge from the same location.
ImageGrays trail descending - from around 13,000‘.
ImageTorreys Peak taken on the descent from the base of Kelso Mtn.



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