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grays/torreys questions

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Postby usfgal » Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:36 am

I agree! If you are comfortable with exposure and some scrambling, Kelso Ridge is a lot of fun! You can actually go around the right side of that tower (or over it if you are feeling particularly adventurous :D ); you don't have to go around the left side. Although there was a little bit of snow toward the end of the ridge, it really didn't affect us at all. (We were there on Sunday.)
If not, the standard trail is easy and you can see practically the entire thing as you are hiking. Have fun!

echotree wrote:Let me just chime in on the Kelso Ridge thing. Due to some unfortunate circumstances mentioned elsewhere, I ended up climbing the final half of it in the dark. But let me just say...it is a lot of fun. It's not too tough, but there is a good chunk of exposure.

There's not a lot of snow, but a bunch of the danger is that what is still there is in really dangerous spots. Narrow, steep gulleys between walls of loose rock are filled with patches of snow and ice on top of loose scree. So, you try to depend on your hands because it's slippery, but then the handhold comes off in your hand. Yay!

Just after the knife edge, you have to go around to the left of the white stone tower (where my dog, Dexter, spent the night Saturday, incidentally) in pretty deep and steep snow. You're at the top of Dead Dog at that point, so there is pretty serious exposure. We did it at night, so I'm pleased to report that we couldn't even see the danger. :roll:

So, it was a lot of fun and challenging, but I wouldn't recommend it for another couple of weeks or so for able-bodied newcomers, so it can dry out a bit.

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Postby MountainHiker » Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:43 am

It's their 1st fourteener! Don't send them up Kelso Ridge! Let them get used to the concept of hiking to 14,000' first. There's plenty of places less exposed where they can do some beginner scrambling on future hiikes before tackling Kelso.

A good guide to live by with mountains is to not introduce mulitiple new things on the same climb.

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Postby Slow Moving Fun Seeker » Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:34 pm

Agree with MountainHiker. Doing both Grays and Torreys is 9 miles and 3,600 vertical feet. That's pretty good for a first timer. No need to push it into Kelso.
We are not passengers; we are crew.

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Postby usfgal » Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:10 pm

Keep in mind that altitude does not translate into difficulty. Just because someone has not been on a 14er, that does not mean s/he is not comfortable scrambling or even doing more technical stuff. My preface stated, "IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH EXPOSURE AND SCRAMBLING..." Premily knows his/her experience and comfort level - it was simply a suggestion.

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Postby Brandons Dad » Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:25 pm

I would recommend that you stay within your "own" boundries of what you are comfortable doing. It sounds like there has been a lot of beta shared on Kelso Ridge, which is great, but it is still based very much on personal climbers' opinions and experiences. I stuck with the easier class 1-2 stuff for my first climb of Grays (SE route from Horseshoe Basin). Personally, I would take this as an opportunity to get aquainted with high altitude hiking/climbing, and take the standard route up the saddle. Look to your right and you will get a chance to view a lot of the profile of Kelso Ridge. Use this trip as recon for a future trip. My two cents, but my class 1-2 trip only fed my desire to try more difficult routes. The point is to enjoy the hike, no matter what route you take.
I once climbed the highest peak in China... an hour later, I wanted to summit again.

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Postby premily » Sun Jul 08, 2007 3:12 pm

We climbed Gray's and Torrey's yesterday and it was great! Left a little before 6 and made it by 8:30 to the top of gray's....

Can't believe the road to the trailhead (o;

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Camping Crowds

Postby Chicalorado » Tue Jul 10, 2007 11:10 am

How crowded do you guys expect the campgrounds around the grays/torrey's trailhead are going to be on this Friday night? Planning on doing my first 14er with the combo on Saturday and want a good head start and maybe a little bit of quiet on Friday night under the stars...
"There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone."
~Grateful Dead

"Please me have no regrets..."

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Postby CRSpeedy » Tue Jul 10, 2007 11:54 am

I've never been up on a weekend, but I did go on this past 4th of July and camped at the trailhead in my Explorer the night before. There were probably 8-10 other vehicles at the trailhead, plus 4-5 other vehicles a little further up the road, and a few scattered along the road on the drive up (I drove up around 7pm). Most of them had tents setup, but I saw quite a few spots that I could have pitched a tent myself and still had some privacy. Even though it was relatively crowded, it was quiet and I actually enjoyed the company. I went on a walk up to the various mines, and talked to a few really friendly people.

I started my hike around 5:45am and didn't see many people on the way up. Coming down was another story--I probably passed close to 120 people that were climbing up, many of which looked unprepared with shorts, t-shirts, and no pack whatsoever.

If you do go up, just get an early start. I know most people like solitude, but it can also be fun to meet new people. Everyone's up there for the same reason, and everyone I met was super friendly 8)

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Postby rob runkle » Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:20 pm

usfgal wrote:Keep in mind that altitude does not translate into difficulty. Just because someone has not been on a 14er, that does not mean s/he is not comfortable scrambling or even doing more technical stuff. My preface stated, "IF YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH EXPOSURE AND SCRAMBLING..." Premily knows his/her experience and comfort level - it was simply a suggestion.

I understand what you mean, but I tend to agree with the folks that poo-poo the Kelso ridge idea.

Although exposure and scrambling might not be an issue from a skills and fear standpoint, they do offer other problems for a first time 14er: 1) Time. Scrambling takes longer. And, with no 14er experience it it MUCH harder to judge scramble times. Judging your times is critical when making decision(s) to turn back, etc.. 2) Weather. In bad weather the Kelso ridge would be a huge issue for most. Arguably most would'nt want to downclimb the KR is good weather. So, "NO retreat" is a problem, especially for a first time 14er. In reality one could run down the main trail if they had too in bad weather. NOT on the ridge.

Having said that, the KR is AWESOME!!!

Rob

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Postby Slow Moving Fun Seeker » Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:00 pm

As for getting a spot in the parking lots: my experience has been that they fill up by 6:30 a.m. or so (weekends are of course worse than weekdays). If you arrive after that, you may have to park on the road, which can be a drag.

I agree with the recommendations for a start time of 6 a.m. (or even 5:30 or earlier if possible). I started hiking much earlier this year and--in general--it is really nice not to have to be too concerned with weather. It's a hassle getting up that early, but well worth it once you set foot on the trail.
We are not passengers; we are crew.

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Postby Smalls » Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:26 pm

All I have to say about this is, be very aware of the weather when deciding to go onto Torreys after Greys (or vice-versa). When we did it, we were on our way down to the saddle between the two when a huge lightning strike hit. Then a blizzard started.... That day was just insane!! Anyway, the crazy part was that as we were booking it down the mountain, when we were almost back, the weather was perfect again. Thats how it goes sometime's up there. Anyway, keep a weather eye on the weather (Hehe). :lol:
If the world didn't suck, we would all float away! :)

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