| Torrey via Loveland Pass descending standard route
this was my third 14er and i was very excited to throw a couple of 13ers in there as well.
mileage: about 9 miles in total
elevation gain: 3,266' (i figured this out myself as we took a different approach to this route, so it could be off but it would only be slightly)
Start Time: 5:15 a.m. (loveland pass)
Cupid Summit: around sunrise (i didn't look at my watch, i was watching the sun rise)
Grizzly Peak Summit: 7:15 a.m.
Torrey Summit: 10:15 a.m.
Back at Car located at steven gulch TH: 12:30 p.m.
saturday around 1 p.m. my boyfriend and i drove from boulder to bakerville in both of our cars (my civic), his subaru impreza wrx AWD. i knew that my car had no chance making it up the nasty road to the trail head, so we left it at the bottom, and chanced maybe/maybe not getting his car up there. all week i have had mixed reports on this road, some telling me not to dare it in any car without clearance, others saying it would be ruff but might be doable, some saying it was fine. the middle was correct. i must say that we also had 4 large boxes packed tightly with our entire kitchen in them in the back of his car, weighing us down even more, giving us less clearance. we're smart. anyway we made it up, not without a little nail biting, but we did it, however i wouldn't recommend doing it in anything less than a car like his subaru. we got some thumbs-ups and some eye rolls and either way we didn't care because he's a great driver and kept pulling over to let others come down even if it meant his clutch burning up because going up the road is fairly steep, bumpy and pot holey.
after parking we started the walk down the road to my car at the base near I 70. about 1/3 of the way down some really nice people offered us a ride which we took, because a) we had more moving to do as my car was fully loaded with stuff and b) it was pouring, thundering and lightning and that road was very unpleasant to walk on. they were nice people, 3 women and 1 man. for one of the women it was her first and second 14er. they were funny people.
we got to my car and went onwards to our new place in breck.
the next morning we got on the trail on the top of loveland pass around 5:15 a.m.
if you ever decide to take this route there is a very crucial point in which you need to bear right, it is marked by a cairn, but at 5:30 in the morning, in the dark and still sleepy, we consulted our map just to make sure. it is at point 12,915', if you were to bear left you would continue on to mt. sniktau (13,234), which would still be a nice hike, but if you're intentions were to go to torrey peak would be a very inconvenient detour.
so after bearing right the trail gets very narrow and drops down along the west side of this mountain en-route to cupid peak. it was dark and very very very windy and where it wasn't exposed on my left side, on my right side it was, misplacing a foot would have sent me rolling. it wasn't cliffs or anything like that, just a steep grassy slope but a few bumps and bruises would have occurred.
soon we popped up right below cupid's peak, right around sunrise, we hiked up to the actual peak and watched the sun rise, it was beautiful.
after summiting cupids, i'm not going to lie, there really is no 'true' trail. there are cairns to mark the way off of cupid peak but really after that i cannot remember a 'true' trail. i kind of liked this, as it was the first time i have had to do my own route finding and i am almost positive i made it way more difficult for myself in places. after you come off of cupid peak you are pretty much completely staying on the ridge (which is the continental divide) all the way up to the summit of torrey peak. when we did get our first view in daylight of what we were about to do, i was very nervous, it looked almost impossible from where we were, but looks are deceiving and everything was quite doable.
you will reach a low point of 12,756' before beginning to climb up again to reach the summit of grizzly peak. climbing up to the summit of grizzly peak was my favorite part of the entire day. it was scrambely, steep, you really could choose your own route and the alpen glow was nice.
a nice, but intimidating view of what we still had to accomplish:
pictures going up the griz:
this has opened my eyes to understanding what scrambling with consequence means and i LOVED it. foot and hand placement did matter and a fall would have caused injury. it was almost like a nice mellow introduction of the world past class 2 and gave me some experience with exposure. again though, i chose a difficult line because i was enjoying myself, there were easier ways to go up.
summit of griz:
we stayed on the summit for about 20 minutes. coming off of grizzly peak is nearly as much fun as coming up it. it is exposed. the cliffs to the left of you are a far drop down and again misplacing your foot could end in serious injury. however the rock was pretty sturdy, here at least. again i didn't see many cairns and we both did our own route finding, i again chose the most difficult line i could find. i remember my boyfriend saying 'i don't mind heights when i am skiing, or roped in rock climbing or on bridges or anything like that, but when i am just walking, whew, they bother me.' he kind of ducked more down to the right of the ridge. again this whole trip up to the point was SO SO windy, i was also surprised by the amount of clouds so early on, we almost turned around at the summit of grizzly, but kind of knew that we had to get to the soob at the steven gulch TH.
what started out fun coming down quickly turned in to a very loose, very long, very steep talus slope. i am pretty sure we were off route a bit as i saw a cairn in the distance but it didn't matter because the whole slope was like this and it all led down to the nice, grassy saddle between grizzly and torrey. however, it took us forever to get there and my knee was starting to hurt for no apparent reason. it took every bit of attention the two of us had, as most of even the larger rocks that looked like good sturdy foot placements were loose. we were very careful though, not to disturb nature and didn't send any rocks flying. i believe that the saddle drops down to a low point around 13,000'.
going down the griz:
looking back up the griz:
i didn't want to say anything to anthony in the morning but i wasn't feeling good at all...not cold sick, just headache and upset stomach. in the saddle it caught up to me. we sat for a while in hopes the cramping un-comfortableness in my stomach would go away. i ate a very small snack and drank a bunch of water and then said we have to go, it doesn't matter how i feel. so on-ward we pressed. around 9 a.m. we started up the other side of the grassy saddle and to our final destination: torrey peak.
hiking up the west ridge to torrey peak was terrible. it was super steep and you basically had 2 options. stay in this shallow gully with larger but very loose rocks or follow one of the dozen paths that zig zagged and crossed over one another that was nothing more than loose dirt and scree. i tried both and opted for the gully because on the path every step i took i slid back 3. anthony chose the path, which to me seemed like more work than necessary. we were close to each other the entire time. i wasn't feeling very good at all.
here is a shot of this interesting lake from the slope going up to torrey's summit:
we just kept shooting for the high point like aubrey says to do.
here is a look back at where we'd just come from, in the far distance you can see cupid peak, we came from even farther beyond that:
we finally got to the high point which only revealed that we still had farther to go, but now we could at least see the summit and the masses accumulating on it. this was the first time we saw people all day and they were still pretty far away.
we've all see shots from the summit of torrey and gray, it's a great view, so i will spare you and just give you two shots:
anth and i at the top:
the infamous kelso ridge, someday, maybe even sooner than i think:
we got to the top around 10:15 a.m. and hung out, signed the register, i ate the same domino's pizza that i suspiciously believe was the reason my stomach was upset from the night before. we talked to people, but mostly looked back on what we'd just done in awe.
we had decided much earlier that we were not going to go for gray's. for a couple of reasons, but mostly because i really want to apply the 3,000' rule to all the 14ers i do, if it is possible i will do it. i don't want to just bag peaks, i want to try and take the more obscure route and challenge myself every time i go out and climb, i really like to just take it all in. i would like to check out gray's from the horse shoe basin as i would like to eye up some possibilities for back country this winter. and this seems like a decent place for me to start...so we might do gray's this up-coming sunday.
we left the summit of torrey's around 11 a.m. the walk down the standard route to the steven gulch area was nothing special. i was thinking a lot that, this route was fairly easy and that i would have really had no struggles going up it, but i was glad we had taken a different approach to torrey's. the crowds were to be expected, didn't phase me. we hauled it down stopping occasionally to admire kelso ridge and the climbers still on it and the basin area was very very beautiful.
we got down to the car around 12:30 p.m. i went to use the bathroom and from the restroom i could hear my boyfriend talking to someone. it was KEITHk from this web-site! hi KEITH! we talked for a while, he was very nice. i wouldn't mind climbing a mountain with him someday.
by the time we got to I 70 off of hell road it was pouring/hailing/lightning and torrey's was engulfed. it was even worse up on loveland pass where my car patiently waited for our return. i was SO glad that we had done this sorta kinda loop instead of hiking back to my car on the pass. first off we would have most likely been stuck in a nasty storm and second i never ever want to go down the west side of torrey's. going up was tuff, going down would have been for the birds. thirdly it was really neat to see torrey's from every single angle, same with gray's, even if it was from a distance. i was also very thankful at this point that we had not gone for gray's because of the storm and all of my assumptions were correct when....my boyfriend talked to one of his friends who had been coming off of gray's when the storm came in. they said it was completely a mess and there were so many people still up there so everything was bottle necking.
in conclusion, i loved this hike, it was very steep, very challenging and by far the most technical that i have done thus far. the views were actually my favorite so far. and i loved the seclusion and the fact that we had to do most of the navigating ourselves. i also would like to say that this is not a route i would want to be stuck on in a storm or if everything was wet. there is little room for escaping lightning, in certain spots, there's no where to go.
from just the little taste that i got of scrambling and exposure....i want more. i would like to do either kelso ridge or sawtooth, more likely sawtooth before winter rolls in. but we'll see. i am also quite pleased that i have planned my 14er summits in an orderly fashion. quandary‘s standard route gauged my abilities, massive‘s sw slopes tested my endurance and this gave me a little bit of experience with route finding, exposure and scrambling without being impossible for me to handle. i have summited every attempt and i am building my confidence even though i know that in retrospect to what‘s out there these climbs are nothing, i feel good in my accomplishments. 3 14ers in 3 weeks.
great route! i highly reccommend it.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):