| Torrey‘s Peak via Kelso Ridge - subtitled: I Love Kelso
*more photos will be coming soon*
When Mike ran in to me yesterday at work and asked if I would be interested in climbing Grey's and Torrey's today, I got really excited. I had wanted to climb Dead Dog this weekend, but had not found anyone to make the attempt with me so I was thinking I would be out of an assent this weekend.
After promising my wife I would be home by noon (and getting a "you're never home when you think you will be") so that I could go to her tattoo appointment with her, she gave me the all important spousal blessing. Mike and I met up in Golden at 5am, and headed up to the trailhead. Both Mike and I were amazed at the number of cars parked along the lower part of the road, until we saw the rut everyone has talked so much about. As we pulled up to the trailhead we were both amazed to see a Saturn parked at the trailhead. Not a Saturn crossover, but a mid/late 1990's Saturn compact sedan. It proves you can do anything if you put your mind to it!
As we got our gear ready, and waited in line at the restroom to take care of business before heading out, we talked about possible route options. We hit the trail just after 6:15am. Both of us had climbed both before, and I brought up Kelso. I had climbed it once before, years ago and loved it. I did a good sales job and after a quick hike up to the climbers trail leading to the ridge, we decided we would go ahead and hit the ridge. I pulled out my camera to get a couple photos of Torrey's and Dead Dog in the early morning light as the sun rose up behind us, and we headed out.
Kelso was everything I remembered and more. The first time I had climbed it, I was not as used to exposure so I stayed off the harder aspects of the ridge. This time, Mike and I stayed on harder ground where we felt it was safe to do so. We only took one real break on the ridge about halfway up. A small group of very friendly climbers passed us, and I snapped a couple of shots.
Mike taking a break with the Mt. Edwards Ridge line in the background
The other group of climbers
We headed back out, and we had a lot of fun picking the path of most resistance. This route can provide some very fun scrambling if you choose to stay on the ridge proper. As we approached the top of the first snow gully we dropped off the ridge, crossed solid but rotten snow, and had a great, solid scramble back up to the ridge crest, rejoining the route just below the knife edge. It was clear as we crossed the snow that we were not the first to do this, and it was a great shift. The climb back up to the ridge was fairly exposed and was probably one of the most exciting scrambling of the day.
As Mike headed across the tell tale white rock of the knife edge I pulled out my camera and started taking photos. I was able to get some shots with another climber heading across as well. We stuck to the ridge crest until there was no white rock remaining, and it was great solid climbing.
Both of these photos are of Mike making his way across the last of the more solid part of the ridge before it shift to the broad scree slope that leads to the summit
On a side note, this was the first scramble with my new pack, and it was great. It was super stable, well ventilated and stayed close enough to my back that it was not in anyway an obstruction when I would move on the rock. My Dueter was a pain and I had come to hate it, so this climb really made me feel good about my choice in pack… even if it is the ugliest color I could imagine (it could only be worse if it were pink).
Mike and I hit the summit right at 9am. Mike found a wind shelter just to the West of the summit, and we chilled there for half an hour before we headed down.
Mike on the Summit
The snow at the Saddle between Gray's and Torrey's was well worn and we had a quick trip down past the line of people heading up. We made it back to the car just before 1030am without a cloud in the sky that I can remember, and were back in Golden by 1130am. It was an awesome climb on a perfect day!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):