Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Post Date:  05/27/2009
Date Climbed:   05/27/2009
Posted By:  pioletski

 Grays Peak - Father‘s Day outing   

OK, if there's still any question that I'm a sentimental sap, this TR should put it to rest. Father's Day is coming up, I haven't been out to ski with Dad for a while... here's an opportunity.

Dad's eyes lit up when I asked him if he'd like to join me to ski Grays. He called his buddy Mike and set to work digging out gear. For once there were no alarm clock failures - we were out the door on schedule and started hiking at about 5:20:

L to R: Pioletski, Mike, Dad (Bob)

It was a bluebird day from the beginning...

Bob on the trail

I had wanted to climb the Lost Rat for a little variety. Mike and Bob preferred to skin up the standard route, so we parted ways at about 12,100':

Mike and Bob continue up the trail

While they were getting busy in the main basin...

... dinkin' with skins...

... still dinkin' with skins...

... I was approaching the base of the Lost Rat.

At 12,600'

Conditions were very favorable, as there had finally been a good cold night. However, the sun was blazing and the snow was already starting to soften in the E facing gully. Here's the view about 3/4 of the way up the couloir:

Nearing top

I topped out and was greeted by this view of Evans and Bierstadt:

From the top of the Rat

Looking back down

I'm pleased to report that I finished the climb with the same number of rats that I started with - neither lost nor found any along the way. I then traversed north, across the east face, to make a rendezvous with Bob and Mike, who were steaming right along:

Making good time

We summited around 10:30. This photo is courtesy of a gentleman who had just attained his first 14er summit:

At the top

The view was grand. Quandary is left of center in this picture, of course it can't be seen...

Toward Breckenridge

Skiing from the summit was no problem, the peak is still well covered. The problem was getting a picture of skiing off the summit... it's hard to get good help these days... best I could do was a picture of my skis at the summit:

At least my skis were there...

Coming down the east bowl was a blast. 1-2" new on firm spring snow, couldn't beat it.

Happy Father's Day, Dad. If anyone questions whether you've still got it, show them this picture (and mention that it was taken at 14,000 feet)!

Bob en ski

Mike was looking good too:

Mike en ski

Bob and Mike elected to more or less descend their ascent route, while I dropped directly from the summit ridge at about 13,800'. I had a great time making these tracks:

Signature in the snow

At about 11:30 am, as we were taking off our skis, we saw a point release turn into a moderately large (though shallow) slide down the Dead Dog Couloir. A reminder to get up early!

By dropping down into the creek we were able to ski to within about 200 yards of the parking area. Here's the obligatory look back at Grays and Torreys:

Shining in the sun...

Thanks, Mike and Bob, for a great day!

Snowpack notes: The couloirs softened in the sun today but the open faces, exposed to the wind, did not. Skiing was great on the small amount of new snow that had fallen over the last day or two, over well consolidated snow.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Your dad rocks!     05/02/2011 14:23
And he‘s got some sweet Movement skis too. Way to get after it Mike & Bob. Nice TR!

Bonedale Dolly

Ditto the first comment!     05/29/2009 01:45
Matt, you didn‘t menton how old your dad is...74??? What a hoot!

Way to go, Bob. You never cease to amaze me! -Deb


You ain‘t a sap     05/29/2009 04:04
You‘re a cool son. Fun and inspirational report. Thanks for posting!


Thanks!     05/29/2009 04:36
Wes, you‘re right, Dad rocks. (Deb, since you ask, he‘s 76.) Lately it has occurred to me just how much patience it took for him to pass his passion for mountains and skiing on to me. What a gift! I hope to do as well with my kids!


perfect     05/29/2009 17:03
5 star trip

Margaret T

Route beta     05/29/2009 17:30
Matt - Am planning a similar trip tomorrow - how far up the trail did you have to hike carrying your skis before you could skin up?

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