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 Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
 Post Date:  07/05/2008
 Date Climbed:   07/04/2008
 Posted By:  KeithK

 So Easy a ONE-ARMED Caveman Can Do It!   

Grays Peak (14,270')
July 4, 2008
Standard Route
Elevation Gain: 3,000'
Round-trip: 7.5 miles
Independent


Who doesn't love a good sequel? I mean, really, who could forget such cinematic classics of our time such as Jaws II, or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? How about Meatballs II, with that highly imaginative ET looking alien that the kids dress in a raincoat so as to fool the extremely observant camp counselors? Classic! And of course, who didn't go crazy with anticipation when it was announced that, coming soon to a theatre near you, Caddyshack II, sans Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and humor, a true sequel at its finest! So it was, with a broken wing, ridiculous gas prices and a string of bank-account depleting vehicle repairs, time for Grays Peak, the sequel. True to most sequels, not quite up to the standards of the original, but still offering plenty to appreciate for those of us willing to give it a chance.

As I reached the Bakerville exit just after 5 a.m., I was suprised that only a half dozen or so cars were in the 2 wheel drive lot. There were a few more on the shoulder of the road about a quarter mile up, where a wash-out has created a bit of a challenge for even the vehicles with decent clearance. The rest of the road is rocky, rough, and pretty much just annoying. Finally reaching the trailhead, the upper lot was not quite packed just yet. A fine day to be had with at least a hundred new friends!

Setting out on this beautiful blue-bird morning, shedding my outer fleece the second the sun hit me, the first two miles of the hike were easy and enjoyable, although I didn't take a picture of the only Columbines I saw all day, a bit disappointing as the wildflowers are just starting to bloom.

First sight of Grays and Torreys...


Lost Rat, a bit lonely on this day, but it looks like the top has melted out anyway...


Kelso Ridge. I only saw 2 climbers up there all morning, but I know there were at least 3 based on another trip report...


A closer look at Grays Peak, showing most of the standard route and the trail over to the saddle...


Dead Dog Couloir. Look closely to see the climbers heading up what is sure to be a nice staircase by now...


And a closer look...


A look at the saddle; a keen eye can see the trail through the snow...


And the only snow encountered on the Grays Peak Trail, about 50 feet or so...


The hike was just as I remembered it from last summer, pleasant and not overly strenuous. Still, it's a fourteener, and the lungs and legs were getting a great workout. I took my time as the masses caught and passed me, and I passed a few later as we played leap frog up the mountain. Ascending up towards the main switchbacks, I was treated to the highlight of the day!

A family of at least 6 goats playing on the ridge...






And a little later, as I looked back at the ridge...




Other views are to be had as well, including Mt. Parnassus to the north...


And Kelso Mtn. to the northeast, with the James Peak Wilderness in the background...


Trudging up the trail, I finally topped out at about 10:00. Preston from Albuquerque kindly offered to snap a picture for me.

My summit shot; Bill Middlebrook, where's my GPS??? Yeah, like he'd be up here on the 4th of July, or any weekend for that matter...


Evans, looking quite impressive and tall next to Bierstadt...


Mt. Silverheels and Mt. Guyot to the southwest...


Obligatory Mt. of the Holy Cross, where I should have been on this day...


Bross, Lincoln, Democrat, Quandary and the Fletcher Group...


A look over the snowy Ten Mile and northern Sawatch ranges...


My original intention was to drop down and go for Torreys, but after seeing the snowfield at the top of the trail at the saddle, I decided not to chance it. Heading back down, I took my time and visited with a few hikers. Justin, an anti-runner like me, greeted me with a smile, as there is some comfort to not being the only non-skinny guy on the trail. He was on a quest for his 3rd 14er summit, having done Bierstadt twice already. We chatted and watched a couple of dudes venturing perilously close to the cornice on the saddle, seeking a glissade path. Fortunately, they thought better of their plan, and backed away from the edge. I really did not want to see that cornice break! Offering my encouragement, I left Justin to continue his way up the hill. Let me know if you'd like to partner for a hike sometime, Justin!

Once down into the basin, I met up with David and Jodi, who had parked next to me. They had gotten both peaks, and we chatted our way down the trail. It was nice to meet some great new people, and we maintained a comfortable pace in the growing heat of the day. Guys, I hope we can arrange some more hikes this summer! Arriving back at the lot just after 1:00, another fantastic day in the mountains was complete. I can't think of a better way to appropriately spend Independence Day, than a nice solo hike. I needed to rekindle my spirit and my confidence, and hopefully make the most out of what has been a less than ideal summer so far. And hopefully, this will be the last sequel this year...

 


  • Comments or Questions
1moremile


To Rekindled Spirits!     2008-07-05 21:31:50
Awesome job. And really, what is Grays without goats, eh? Fun shots.


Bresch


Motivation     2008-07-05 20:48:07
Just like getting smoked by 6 year old on Bierstadt, here is someone who hiked with a broken wrist. Another motivating factor when I don‘t think I can make it, Keith made it with a fracture, keep going....................................


EatinHardtack


Nice     2008-07-05 21:38:52
Bigger question is who is the hottie sitting under Bierstadt? Nice TR and Pics.


KeithK


One good thing about the popular peaks...     2008-07-06 16:26:51
...there are always more cute girls on them!
Thanks Harry; I‘ll never claim that motivation comes easy. There‘s nothing remotely motivating about 3 a.m., but at least the experience almost always wipes away the weariness. How have you been doing? Shoot me a PM and update me on your wife‘s Bierstadt quest.
Last year I only saw one goat on 13 fourteeners, so it was a real treat to see this group.


CaneFan42

One of the Better Sequels..     2008-07-06 20:55:23
Congrats on a successful climb. Enjoyed reading your report as I will be there (from FL) a week from now on my first climb. Your pictures have made my anticipation level go up an order of magnitude. I can‘t wait to be out there!


covfrrider


Good Job!     2008-07-08 16:43:36
I hope the string of bad luck has finally come to an end! As usual, a stellar writeup with plenty of entertainment value.



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