My neighbor, Mark, had never done a 14er in Colorado. He had summited Mt. Whitney (14,494') when he lived in California. We had discussed his hiking summits again so we took advantage of the "bluebird weather" today (Tuesday 9/28/10). I had done Grays & Torreys before (plus 8-3/4 other 14ers) and Mark needed to start somewhere.
The dirt road up from Bakersville (Exit #221 off of I-70) was in much better shape than in past years. I had been telling Mark how bad the road was in the past...I was proved wrong . Even passengers cars can negotiate it but only a few vehicles were in the parking lot.
Torreys from the I-70 exit
We were across the bridge and starting the climb at 7:40 AM when we were joined by Buzz of Durango who was soloing to bag two more peaks. We encouraged him to pass but he liked our pace so he joined us for the rest of the journey.
Mark & Buzz ready to start
Buzz provided good conversation along the way especially since he promised not to whine too much...Mark agreed not to complain as well. However, I think they might have occasionally broken their promises on the way up.
Buzz on the trail with his unique hydrating system
Not many people on the trail mid-week which sure beats the weekend "congo lines".
Nothing much new regarding the trail: it has rocks and it still goes up (or down, depending upon your direction). It is a well-traveled trail with no surprises. However, at the trail junction (near 13,300') the upper sign pointing to Grays (go left) or Torreys (go right) was gone.
Snow was clinging to several areas on the uphill side of the trail. Well. it is September and it is Colorado!
Snow on the uptrail to Grays
Mark & Buzz set a smart pace and I lagged a bit behind. They were nice enough to wait for me although I told them to go on. They said they appreciated a few rest stops on the way up. I just think they were being kind and felt sorry for the old guy! (They are at least 15 to 18 years younger than I.)
We summited Grays in 2:54 hours with a GPS mileage of 3.7.
We spent 30 minutes at the summit eating lunch and exchanging high fives.
A high five. Mark's (right) first Colorado 14er.
Mark on top of the world again! (Grays)
The downtrail toward Torreys is steep but easy to find and non-threatning. We were down to the saddle in 16 minutes. with a GPS mileage of .38.
The ascent to Torreys appears more intimidating than it really is. It is steep and caution might be needed along the few exposures...but the exposures are wide so the edge can be avoided (although they make for great views). Take your time, follow the path and you'll make it.
Mark & Buzz contemplating the climb up Toorreys
We summited Torreys in 40 minutes with a GPS mileage of .47.
We had the summit to ourselves.
We spent 35 minutes at the summit celebrating Mark's second 14er that day. Buzz added another 14er to his list. Of course, the views are unreal; you can view Breckenridge, Keystone, A-Basin, Lake Dillon and Frisco, directly below Torreys to the NW was my dog's favorite trail: Grizzly Gulch, Longs Peak to Pikes Peak, the Mosquito 14ers, the Sawatch Collegiates, Mts Massive & Elbert, Mt. Holy Cross and what we thought were the Elk Range far in the distance. Views, views and more views.
Image #6 (not yet uploaded)
Me atop of Torreys with Grizzly Gulch below
Bagged two today
Stevens Gulch from Torreys
A big thumbs up from Mark & me for this hike!
We headed down, picking up the return trail after a slight climb past the lowest part of the saddle. The downhill path to the TH is easy to find by a huge cairn which we had passed on the down trek from Grays.
Yeah! Up there! Torreys!
The Torreys down hike was a piece of cake!
Again the trail is well defined and made for a quick descent to the Grays/Torreys intersection.
Snow along the down trail from the saddle
A look back to Grays & Torreys
The back trail was more pleasant than the uphill trek because it was DOWNHILL! Funny how much easier it is to breath.
We reached the TH in 1:55 hours with a GPS mileage of 3.7.
It was 2:30 PM.
Total time: 6:55; hiking time 5:45; breaks 1:10. GPS mileage 8.25.
Great hike, "easy", well defined trails, fantastic views and a two-fer!
Mark bagged his first Colorado 14ers, Buzz added two more to his resume and I repeated the climb for my friend, Mark...and in memory of my dog, Chelsea the Hiking Pup. May she rest in peace and love!
Chelsea fording the stream in Grizzly Gulch
A wet "Chelsea the Hiking Pup" in Grizzly Gulch