Kelso Ridge, such a fun route! I climbed it 4 years ago as my 4th 14er...I was scared. Today, not so much. This route is awesome, and it's only like 20 minutes from silvy, so that's nice too. The road to the trailhead doesn't have a giant rut anymore! Pretty much smooth sailing up to the top...pretty sure a Lambo could drive this thing! Anyhow, decided yesterday afternoon to give-r-a go because there's no work until Thursday for me. My buddy Seth decided to tag along also. This would be his first 14er. He hiked up to the keyhole on Longs with me but we had to turn around due to wind. We started hiking this morning at 7:03 AM.
seth signing us in
The Early path had some running water on it but nothing some good waterproof boots can't handle. Before long we had our first look at Torreys and Grays.
easy path and first view of the peaks
And not much past that we had a good view of Kelso ridge.
first view of the awesome fun that was ahead
It took us maybe 35 minutes to get to this point and I was pretty pumped to get back on this route again.
seth still feeling good
me still feeling good
Just a few more minutes and we were at the trail junction. Hang a right and a couple minutes later we are working up the little climb up to the ridge. It's a little steep and loose, but it's only like 40 vertical or something...so no worries.
looking back toward the main path from near the ridgeline
a short bit of loose stuff to gain the ridge
seth resting at beginning of ridge
From there you get a little nice walk and also your first view looking up at all the climbing ahead.
first view up to Torreys
Also saw a marmot.
There is pretty much easy scrambling the entire way up the ridge with just a few harder climbs. This is the first actual climbing section.
seth climbing the first larger obstacle
Another harder section you get to is where this white gully is. We stayed to the left of it. Also ran into a furry monster right in the middle of the path. He couldn't stop us though, just climbed right over.
the white rock gully
The section just above the white rock has a little exposure. It also has good solid rock to work your way up.
seth above white rock gully
Getting close to the top there is a break in the climbing. You get to deal with fun loose dirt for a bit.
upper terrain and saddle to grays
look back down the valley and ridge
me nearing the knife edge
So eventually we came to the legendary knife edge. Right now there is still snow off to the left side which hides some of the exposure. It's short, and overrated.
view of knife edge
seth crossing the knife edge
Just beyond that we touched snow for the first time while on the ridge. We also met some folks who climbed up dead dog's.
first snow we dealt with
near summit looking back to knife edge
Just few minutes later we were on top. Awesome climb. It took us 2 hours 35 min from the car. We spent some time eating plumbs and rice crispy treats (target brand) before heading down.
looking toward home!
There was much more snow to deal with on the way down the normal route.
bootpack to get back on main route
We took some "we conquered you" shots on the way out. 1 hour 20 minutes after leaving the summit, we were back at the car. Back home by noon. Awesome day, Awesome route.