Hiking Partner – Purplepaddler (Lauren) Distance – 28.2miles RT (based on my GPS – don't know what the hell happened there) Trailhead – Stevens Gulch
NOAA Forecast at 8:00pm Saturday June 7th: High 45, Sunny with a 20% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, wind 17 – 20 with 23mph gusts.
NOAA Forecast at 3:30am Sunday June 8th: High 41, 60% chance rain and snow in the morning, currently snowing, wind 25 – 30 with 53mph gusts.
Originally planned this trip for Monday, June 16th so one of my regular hiking partners could go with me and give more time for the road to clear. After reading information this past week, felt it should be moved up (sorry Ryan ).
I contacted Purplepaddler a couple times during the week. On Saturday, she enthusiastically contacted me wanting to go. We planned an early start from Colorado Springs and discussed the forecast. Looked like it would be a warm day, but decided to take enough gear just in case.
Lauren and I met up at the CS "Park and Ride" and headed out at 4:15am. After a couple stops on the way, we reached the TH about 6:45 where we were met with light snow and mild wind.
Can you see Grays and Torreys? Honestly, they are there.
At ~two miles up, we stopped to take a break and pictures, fuel up, and watch about 12 different climbers ascend Dead-Dog. The clouds had cleared, but the wind began to pick-up. We chose the standard summer route along Gray's northeast side. The hard old snow with multiple tracks buried beneath the new snow made it slow going as we checked every step. Our concern was turning an ankle.
First view of Torreys as the clouds clear
Lauren with Torreys in the background
Looking back down the valley toward the TH with Kelso on the left
Year to Year comparison (Torreys June 2008 vs. June 2007)
As we approached the trail separation (Grays left, Torreys right) the wind really picked up to what I guess was in the mid 20s. We decided to change some of our layers and put on the facemasks and goggles. Continuing up, the trail disappeared in the new snow. We knew where we wanted to go and roughly how to get there, but nothing to follow on the steep slope.
We decided to pull out the ice axes and stow the polls. I finally found the trench from previous hikers and slowly moved towards the saddle where the major wind was waiting (50+ gusts). At that point, we just focused on the summit, reaching it at ~11:00am.
Cornice not too far from Torreys' summit
A very proud Lauren gets her second 14er summit
Our team summit photo
Quandary - center in the distance
We took the standard pictures, enjoyed the views and decided we had had enough wind (about 15 minutes). The decent was quick crossing only part way back across Grays before glissading into the bowl. Man was that fun.
Here she comes...
Upon reaching the bottom, the wind died and sun came out for good. The new challenge became the soft snow. Our trip back to the car was fairly quick. Once again, we stopped to take in some food, more pictures and just relax a little.
Me heading back down the valley getting ready to shed some layers
Very different view from the morning. See I told you they were there.
This was my third attempt at Torreys. The first two times, my hiking partners and I completed Grays first before being chased down for different reasons. I am happy to have this one done and thrilled to have had Lauren as my partner. It turned into an awesome day.
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