| Grays - A perfect day for a first 14er
My parents came into town on Saturday the 27th for my sister's big national softball tournament coming up this week. My step-dad Mark has had an interest in trying to climb a 14er since their first visit several years ago. We were originally planning on hiking Thursday the 2nd of July, but with an ALL-STAR (my sister is a stud ) game starting at 9:00 pm the night before, we decided that it would be a tough day on little to no sleep. During dinner on Saturday night, we decided to take a mid-morning crack at Grays, and possibly Torreys the following day. After retiring for the night around 11:00, I knew the alarm would come too soon...
I was right.
I HATE my alarm clock.
I drove down to Wheatridge and picked Mark up on the way out of town at 5:30 or so, and we headed up to the TH. After parking and readying our gear, we set out at 3 minutes before 7:00am. We had very nice temperatures, and a friendly (though crowded) trail all the way to the summit.
We stopped at several spots for snacks, water, and pictures, and at a few more to let some groups get ahead so we weren't riding their tails on the way up.
I had climbed the pinnacle a few times before, but never had anyone else there to take a picture, so I was pretty excited about this opportunity. I climbed up (VERY briefly) to the upper most point of it, but there was a decent breeze, and I always forget just how much exposure there really is off the South side. I decided any pictures would have to be from the main platform.
We topped out on the summit of Grays at 10:00 exactly, after gaining about 3000' of elevation, for a very respectable 1000‘ of gain per hour.
Once on top, we enjoyed the views and posed for our obligatory summit shots. Though I have stopped signing summit registers, the Grays summit sign was a fun addition to "prove" we were actually there.
After a quick snack, and shooting some pictures for other groups, we headed back down. We decided not to pursue Torreys this trip for the sake of saving knees, and not wanting to push the weather window too far. I was glad we made that decision when I did a cloud check about half way back down, and saw several quick forming thunderheads above the peaks. Though we never heard thunder or saw rain, the decision to scram sooner rather than later is ALWAYS a good one whenever in doubt.
We had an easy-paced and relaxing descent, stopping off at the pinnacle once more to check out the mountain goat that had climbed up and was now bedded down in a patch of snow at the base.
We returned to the car and headed back into town stopping off at Chipotle for a post climb lunch.
Overall, I don't think we could have asked for a better day of hiking in Colorado's beautiful front range, and I can't wait until our next trip. Congrats to Mark, once again on a first attempt, first ascent.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):