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 Peak(s):  Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
 Post Date:  09/24/2010
 Date Climbed:   09/24/2010
 Posted By:  Bean

 Moon-lit, midnight hike of Torreys and Grays   

Group: Mike (Bean), Lauren (punkmouse), Scout (she's a dog and doesn't have an account)

Lauren and I were planning on adding to our (admittedly short, at this point) list of 14ers that we've done together this morning with a hike of Grays and Torreys. I've been here a few times before (4 summits of each, 3 times doing them as a combo), and they're generally packed, easy, and uneventful in the summer and fall. The plan changed last night at about 9:45, when I was thinking about starting to prepare to get ready for bed; I knew I had to if we were going hiking early in the morning, but I really just wanted to stay up and have some coffee. Then it dawned on me – full moon, clear skies, and gentle winds were in the forecast. Why not go NOW?

Fortunately I had already prepared our packs, so I put on a pot of coffee and we were off in about half an hour. When we hit the Bakerville exit of I-70, we could see that the summits had been hit with a decent dusting of snow in the past day; Lauren was briefly concerned but I was happy to have extra reflection for the moonlight. The road to the trailhead is greatly improved since the last time I drove it a few years ago, and we were off and moving just before midnight. It was beautiful up there. Forgive the quality of the photos, they are long-exposures using a crappy tripod.



We started to run in to snow around 12,000′, and it gradually deepened as we got higher. The trails were still easy to follow, and the snow added a little interest to the hike; Scout was particularly thrilled with it, and spent some time running up and down the trail in the deepest snow she could find (still only a few inches) as soon as she was let off her leash.

I decided that the hike would be easier if we went to Torreys first, as the trail from Grays to the saddle is fairly steep and rocky, and I much preferred to climb it than to descend it; doing this also allowed us to descend the super-low angle switchbacks on the main Grays trail rather than descent the occasionally rocky trail from the saddle down. A bit after 3am we found ourselves on the summit of Torreys, with amazing views.



Grays was particularly well-lit by the moon, thanks in part to the snow.



Lauren was tired, but persevered as always.



We threw down a few calories and moved on, as it wasn't particularly warm. An hour later we summited Grays, and again didn't stay very long.



We were both happy to have the easier descent route ahead of us, and leisurely made our way back to the car. Headlamps were only required for about 15 minutes once the moon dipped behind Torreys, and we didn't see anyone until halfway down, when a near-constant stream of people showed up. I was a little surprised at how many people were up there on a Friday, and can only imagine what it will be like tomorrow. Lauren was pretty tired, and was out as soon as we hit the highway.



I'm seeing a trend, that it's maybe not a great idea to push yourself too hard in the mountains on no sleep. Interesting.

 


  • Comments or Questions
screefieldstevie


Very Nice!!!!!     2010-09-24 18:09:21
nicely done.....I've wanted to do a moonlit 14er......that's one sweet way to do G/T and prob the only way to beat the crowds


RobSag14

The moonlight was awesome.     2010-09-24 18:49:53
I love the pictures. Last night, on a walk through the neighborhood, I saw that moon rising and that was it...my 12 yr. old daughter and I drove up to Summit Lake and hiked Mt. Warren and Rogers Pk. Mt. Evans looked so incredible from there with the snow. And the lights of the metro area were shimmering with their deceitful beauty...


ClimberDave


Awesome     2010-09-24 21:10:42
Those are some amazing pics! That's a really excellent way to climb these peaks. My father and I passed you guys about a half-mile or so after the trail head and I wondered if you were doing a night climb.



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