| Torreys West Ridge - failure
Just a little background, I moved to Colorado after being stationed in Japan this last January. One of my biggest goals was to tackle as many 14ers and 13ers as possible, and with a late start this summer, I hoped to bag 3 14ers this year.
After reading many blogs and trip reports (excellent site here, by the way), I decided I'd shoot for the Grays/Torreys combination. Being a little adventurous and after seeing how crowded the Steven's Gulch Route can be, I decided to go for the Loveland Pass route via Cupid and Grizzly Peak and approach on Torreys West Route. Boy did I underestimate how tough climbing can really be!
My brother-in-law was in town from Florida and wanted to climb with me, so after a few days up at Breckenridge to try to get used to some elevation, we set out for Loveland Pass and met a friend from work.
We set out at 6:15 AM with no traffic on the trail whatsoever. We found the rock cairn that marked the "shortcut" to Cupid. We made it up to Cupid without alot of fanfare, but my BIL was having some difficultly with his breathing (couldn't blame him at all). Not long after Cupid, he decided to go back to Loveland and wait for us.
My friend from work and I pushed on toward Grizzly, and for a novice like me, it sure did look intimidating. We passed the point 12,9XX pretty easily and made the approach to Grizzly. We met a really nice climber who was going only as far as Grizzly and he gave us a few pointers for the move to Torreys. At our slow pace, we made the Grizzly summit in about 3 hours from our start at the Pass (and it wasn't anything close to easy for me).
Grizzly Peak Summit!We relaxed in the famous wind shelter and decided on our next move. Grizzly really took alot out of us, but being rookies we thought that we could move on without too much trouble. Then, we made a wrong turn and descended the very rocky south face of Grizzly to the 12,5XX Grizzly/Torreys saddle. At the saddle we turned around and decided there was no way we were going back the same way, so I called my BIL and told him we'd meet him at Steven's Gulch.
Me from the Grizzly/Torreys saddle looking back on Grizzly
Torreys' West face was a monster (to me, anyway). Saw some other climbers and a few on their way down. One nice group had taken their beautiful Husky up and down from the Chihuaha Gulch route. I was completely exhausted about 500 feet or so up Torreys and told my friend to go ahead without me and I'd take my time. Eventually, he made it to the summit and called me when he and several others saw lightning in the distance and that they needed to get off the mountain ASAP. According to the GPS I was at 13,615 feet, so there was no way I was going to make it to the top and then descend to Steven's with the looming weather. He came back down and we escaped back to the saddle and into the Chihuaha Gulch valley. We found a nice guy who jeeped us back to Keystone and ended our day after almost 10 miles of hiking/walking from Loveland Pass.
All in all, I'm more determined now to get to the top of Torreys, but next time I'll take the Steven's Route, I think. I was able to summit 2 13ers (1 very challenging one for me) and got to the highest elevation I've ever been on Torreys. I'm pretty disappointed I didn't reach my goal being that close on Torreys but there's always next time.
Thanks for reading,
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):