March 16th, 2010 6,740'
"North Greyrock" – 7,681'
"Aiguille du Greyrock" – 7,456'
Greyrock Mountain – 7,613'
TH: Hewlett Gulch
Distance : Around 12 miles
Elevation : Around 4,900'
I know, I know... 7er's, right? I normally don't write up reports on the "little guys", but these turned out to be quite fun. For those who may take the winters off, they could provide a nice spring hike to shake off the rust.
Having just hiked Mt. Sherman a few days prior and having plans to go high up again the next weekend, I figured I would use my day off to work on some of the lower peaks in Poudre Park quad. Greenhouseguy had just been to the area and let me know that everything was dry. Mix that with the expected high of 60 degrees for the area and it would feel like a summer day!
I parked at the Hewlett Gulch TH around 8:00AM. The air was still chilly, but from the trail head I could see the steep west slope of 6740' which let me know that I would be warming up quickly. I headed north on the Hewlett Gulch Trail for a hundred or so yards, just far enough to get past any private property issues. I then headed due east, crossed the stream and started the 1,000' gain on the slope of 6740'. For as steep as it was, there really were no difficulties in terms of rocks or brush. I was able to take a straight line more or less directly to the summit. I topped out in about 30 minutes, enjoyed the first summit of the day in the early morning sun, and dropped directly north towards summit number two: 7,180'.
West slope of 6740'. (Image taken later in the day.)
7180' viewed from 6740'
Dropping from 6740' to its saddle with 7180' was steep and quick. I ran into probably the most snow that I would see all day, but it was still early and solid enough that crossing it in my summer hikers was no problem.
Looking north towards 7180' from the saddle with 6740'.
After heading North for half a mile, I came across the Greyrock Meadow Trail that led to, ironically enough, Greyrock Meadow. I made use of the trail for 10 minutes or so until it began heading NE. I branched back away due north and ten minutes later I was standing on 7180'. The views of Greyrock Mountain and "Aiguille du Greyrock" (my main goal for the day) were fantastic.
"Aiguille du Greyrock" and "North Greyrock" from the summit of 7180'.
I didn't stay long, and once again dropped north from the summit, and again ran into the Greyrock Meadow Trail. I used the trail for a while until it branched east towards Greyrock Mountain. Here I broke off and headed across the meadow around the east side of "Aiguille du Greyrock".
Greyrock Mountain from the south end of Greyrock Meadow.
Though "Aiguille du Greyrock" was my main focus for the day, I wanted to grab "North Greyrock" (7681') first. "North Greyrock" is the highest peak in the Greyrock area, and it shared a high saddle with "Aiguille du Greyrock" that I planned on using for access to both peaks. It was pleasant hiking all the way around to the saddle.
I really didn't have a lot much information on "North Greyrock", but based on the topo it appeared that ascending the highest point from the east would be the best way. I was wrong. I cliffed out twice and was forced to retrace my steps on multiple occasions. Finally I found a decent class 3 chute that brought me out close to the summit, but not before wasting a lot of time. I discovered on the descent that the west side is much easier and efficient.
Final ascent route up "North Greyrock"
Looking South from the summit of "North Greyrock". The summit block of "Aiguille du Greyrock" is in the distant center.
I had a quick bite to eat on the summit and noticed I had received a couple text messages from my girlfriend. She had a flat tire and the car wouldn't start. Crap. I was able to make a call to her, and the situation sounded like it would force me to call it a day. I decided I would head down and work my way back to the Helwett Gulch Trail to reach the trail head. I was bummed..."Aiguille du Greyrock" would have to wait.
Just as I was about to descend from the "Aiguille du Greyrock"/"North Greyrock" saddle, I got another message. My girlfriend had contacted my dad and he was in the city helping her out. All was well.
Awesome. My day would continue.
With the unbridled enthusiasm of a young Fred Rogers, I took a hard right and began ascending back up towards the summit block of "Aiguille du Greyrock". Within 15 minutes, I was looking up at the final 50 feet or so to the summit. The only information that I had on this peak was that if ascended from the north, it could be kept at class 4. I ended up ascending a defined crack to my left. Turns out, this was not the easiest way. Resorting to a couple of fist jams, I was able to ascend to easier ground and scramble up to the summit in about 5 minutes. The final scramble offered some nice exposure, not an area I would want to be when slick. The summit had great views of the surrounding Poudre River areas, including Greyrock Mountain. I had hiked Greyrock last spring, however as I sat atop "Aiguille du Greyrock" looking over at it I got the sudden urge to do a repeat. So I slowly made my way down off the summit. I found an easier class 3/4 descent option to the west of my ascent route that probably was the correct way to ascend. Oh well.
Portion of my ascent route up to the summit of "Aiguille du Greyrock"
Greyrock Mountain from the summit of "Aiguille du Greyrock".
Descent route from the summit of "Aiguille du Greyrock", much easier than my ascent route.
I retraced my steps back to the "Aiguille du Greyrock"/"North Greyrock" saddle and descended back to Greyrock Meadow. I didn't go all the way back to the south side of the meadow, instead I headed straight towards the south base of Greyrock Mountain. I met up (again) with the Greyrock Meadow Trail just prior to its intersection with the standard Greyrock Trail. From there, it was an easy .75 mile stroll to the summit. I saw the first people of the day on my way up. Quite a few were out enjoying the nice weather.
Intersection of the Greyrock Meadow Trail and the standard Greyrock Trail.
Still frozen pond at the top of Greyrock Mountain.
I only stayed on the summit for a couple minutes, chatted to a couple people, then took off back down. I descended back to Greyrock Meadow using the trail until it began heading south. I continued on straight following a very faint trail all the way down into Hewlett Gulch. It was nice to have the faint trail to descend on, and after a short while I popped out onto the Hewlett Gulch Trail. I headed south on the trail for about a mile until I was due east of the 7231'/6485' saddle. I branched off the trail and found I an old road that went all the way up to the saddle at about 6100'. I really wanted to grab both peaks, but my legs were yelling at me to finish up. So I decided to pass up on 7231' and head south to 6485'.
"Aiguille du Greyrock" from my descent from Greyrock Mountain.
Descending into Hewlett Gulch from Greyrock Meadow.
Looking to the North from the Hewlett Gulch Trail. (Just prior to leaving the trail.)
There was only 400' or so of elevation between me and the summit, but this was the toughest part of the day by far. Nothing but brush between me and my destination. After getting whipped in the face, cut on the arm, and 4 holes in my pants, I finally reached the summit for my 6th and final peak of the day. For anyone considering hiking 6485', ascend from the TH to the east. Trust me.
I hate brush. Final ascent up to 6485'.
"Aiguille du Greyrock" (left) and 7180' (right) from the summit of 6485'.
Final GoogleEarth track of the days route.
After a quick picture, I descended the east slope of 6485' which was mostly brush free. This dropped me right back by the trailhead.
Turned out to be a great day for a midweek hike.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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