Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Post Date:  05/22/2009
Date Climbed:   05/22/2009
Posted By:  lordhelmut

 Lost Rat   

Route - Lost Rat Couloir

Elevation - 3,000 feet

Group - Sean, Neil, Myself, Kevin, Andy and Patrick

Wanted to put up a quick TR on the current conditions of Lost Rat. A decent sized group of 6 of us headed up there today, hoping the weater would cooperate and it did in a way.

Kevin, Andy and I met up at T-Rex lot around 3:15am and headed for Bakersville where we met Sean and Neil at the winter parking lot. We loaded up into my Xterra and Neil‘s Liberty and made our way up to within around 1/5 of a mile from the summer TH. A Ford pickup was basically blocking any further access, stuck in the snow. I don‘t see how we could‘ve gone any further anyways, nor would it have made any sense since we were literally 3 minutes from the bridge.

Here is what the road looks like as of 5/22...


Anyways, I was the lone skier of the group, everyone else was hoofing it and were envious to say the least of my flotation device, especially since the snow did not freeze the night before.

As we headed up into the basin, we were presented with a nice purple sunrise to the East w/ Sean in the foreground....


About 100 yards later as we were taking a break, we saw a guy trucking towards us in a t-shirt, sweating his ballz off. It was Patrick, who was just running a little late. He rounded the group out at 6. We all seemed to be on the same page in terms of pace. Besides a boot issue with Kevin and my dumbass dropping my camera and not realizing it till 10 minutes later, progress went very well.

We cut off from the standard Stevens Gulch trail and rounded around a few slopes, eventually leading us to the base of Lost Rat, as seen here...


This, along with Dead Dog, is an extremely easy gully to find, you have a front row seat during the approach.

Kelso w/ some cloud coverage in the back


With 6 strong climbers, trail breaking would not be an issue. We postholed a bit and sunk down a little more than we‘d probably like, but the instant the lead guy got tired, he had 5 fresh legs behind him. About halfway up the couloir, we began to notice some slides all around us, one medium sized, another a bit smaller, but nothing to get too concerned over. We took the rest of the climb with care and made sure to move quickly. There seemed to be a fresh couple inches on top of a strongly bonded bottom layer.

Anyways, we came to a junction along the route and took a left...


And pushed on (looking down at Patrick, Sean and Kevin)


With Neil very much in the lead as we neared the top of the couloir with a cornice ahead to deal with


The cornice at the top, in previous reports, is bypassed to the right. Neil climbed over a rock outcropping, while the rest of us just kick stepped up the short, steep section. This was probably, at least for me and it looked like for the others, the most dramatic, exciting section of the route.

Here‘s a couple shots of us all topping out -

Andy pointing down the steep route w/ Patrick on his way up

Sean and Kevin

A shot of Kevin to give a slight idea of the steepness

We had just a little more to go.....


Less than an hour later, we ridge ran our way to the summit. The time was around 10am I believe. Neil topped out first, followed by myself, then Andy and Patrick and finally Sean and Kevin. I think Kevin might have held a conversation the entire way up the route and took minimal breaks. Impressive!

Andy on the summit with Patrick not far behind


Sean and Kevin approching the summit with the Evans massif in the background


We signed the visible register and made plans for the descent. With the suspect snow conditions, I didn‘t feel too keen on a solo descent of Lost Rat, specially since I‘m relatively new to ski descents. I noticed a tele-skier and his friend approaching the summit and waited for them to see if they‘d be down for the route. The guy‘s partner did not feel comfortable on 45 degree terrain and the others departed for a glissade down the eastern bowls. The couloir was too tough to pass up, so I decided to go for it anyway.

This is what it looked like from the summit, the entrance is that small, sideways v-shaped cornice.


And this is what it looked like right up above it, pretty cool route for sure


I dropped right down the cornice on to the soft snow to test its stability. The top layer sloughed quite a bit, but nothing to worry about.

This section right below my skis with the thin snow coverage was more or less the crux.


I attempted a few side steps, but got tired of scraping my edges, so just pointed those planks straight downhill and got through it, an exhilarating feeling. I may say, those Icelantic Nomads (110 under foot) really handle the mash potatoes quite well. Once through there, it straightened out and I had this to look foward to....


I tried to find Sean and company coming down the bowl, but couldn‘t even see the other two skiers, so I decided to keep my momentum and push on along the creek, pretty much all the way back to the summer TH. I had to take my skis off once and postholed, with skis on, maybe 2 or 3 times. I arrived at the bridge around 11am looking pretty haggard....


Made it to the car minutes later, took off the boots and put on some Beta Band till the rest of the crew arrived. Around 12:15 they all showed up and we agreed on some burgers and beers in Georgetown to cap off the day.

It was great meeting you guys Kevin, Neil, Patrick and Andy and it was good to get out with you again Sean. Solid group and an even more solid choice of routes. Hope to get out with you guys again sometime.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Nice skis...     05/24/2009 04:08
Way to just attack that Rat on the way down. Good to get together again. I‘ll post some pics and email them your way.


Thanks     05/24/2009 13:38
Nice TR and thanks for the beta/pics. I am going up there in a couple of weeks.


Perfect Day     05/24/2009 14:27
Thanks for the photos and the TR. It was a fun day despite me just getting over the crud. Definitely was not at my strongest but I am certainly glad I went.


Good Climb     05/24/2009 14:31
It was nice meeting up with all of you for a perfect day of climbing. We‘ll have to meet up again for another climb soon. To bad I had to take off right after we were done, burgers and beer would have been damn nice


Thanks guys     05/26/2009 02:27
Thanks for the comments, good time to get up there before the snow is all gone. This weekend has been wet and shitty but hopefully it‘ll get better for a couple rounds left for the season. Good getting out with you guys, had a great time, epseically for Grays. And Patrick, there‘s always next time on the burgers and beers


Fun lookin couloir     05/26/2009 12:54
I‘m regretting missing this one! Great shots Brian and nice ski. I am also hoping for a few more rounds this season.

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