| Torreys via Kelso Ridge
This is my first attempt at a TR, but given the early spring (late winter)conditions I thought it would be helpful to post some recent info. My apologies in advance for the lack of drama/excitement common to the most entertaining TR's.
The road to the summer trailhead is pretty packed by recent vehicle and foot traffic, that in combination with the lower snowfall totals this year enabled us to take our stock 4Runner about 1mile up the road. We tried tire chains, but these proved mostly unhelpful as we began sinking too deep at the 1mile mark. This left us with about 2miles of hiking on the remaining stretch of road to arrive at the summer trail head which took just over an hour. This section does not require snowshoes or crampons. Less than a quarter mile from where we parked there are two large ice flows across the road, that I assume are from melt water that is refreezing over night. Needless to say, if your vehicle can make it past the one mile mark, you would run into serious issues here.
Once past the summer trail head, the snow is mostly wind slabs over sugar. The wind slabs will support your weight without floation in most places, but there will be isolated incidents of post-holeing. Again, traction is not necessary, but helpful.
The goal of the trip was to climb Torreys via Kelso Ridge, descend the standard route to the Grays/Torreys saddle, then cut over below the Grays summit to the standard Grays trail (see Route Description on the Grays/Torreys combination for detailed descent info). I was worried that the slope between Grays and Torreys that we would want to traverse would have the highest avalanche danger of the entire route, but most of this slope beneath the peak of Grays is wind scoured to the ground. There is an overhanging cornice at the lowest point of the saddle that should be avoided, but this is easily done by climing up towards Grays peak a little more than would be necessary in the summer.
Grays peak on left, Torreys on right, Tommie in center (note the cornice and the wind scoured slope below Grays
We did not realize our goal as my IT band knee pain flaired up at about 12,000ft (so much for 2 months of physical therapy). I also apologize for not getting a decent picture of Kelso Ridge, we never made it far enough along the trail to get a good shot.
For what its worth, here is a shot of Kelso Mountain
Thanks for reading, hope it is helpful.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):