Peak(s):  Kelso Mtn  -  13,164 feet
Date Posted:  08/10/2011
Date Climbed:   08/09/2011
Author:  bergsteigen
 Taking time to smell the flowers   

Kelso Mountain

Route: Free...
Mileage: 4.6
Elevation Gain: 1,914'
Playing Hookey: Caroline (USAKeller) & me

When I got a text from Caroline asking if I could take the next day off of work to hike a 13er, I thought awesome, but could I do it? So after the weekly teleconference, I realized that I wouldn't be needed by the field crew to be in cell range, so I was free. The weather was going to be perfect, so why not take advantage of my extra vacation time! We both wanted something short, sweet and close to home. So we settled on Kelso Mountain. It was one of those close by peaks that always seemed to get overlooked. Time to go visit it!

With the good weather we didn't need a super early start for such a short hike, but we also didn't want to arrive too late to get a parking space in the lot. As it was, we arrived just in time to not have to "creatively park". Quite a few people out on a Tuesday morning! Nobody followed us up this low sub peak, so we had the day mostly to ourselves.

We traipsed up the standard trail until we saw a nice ridge/ramp up Kelso and started the elevation gain for the day. Quite a few flowers in the lower basin to brighten up the view. The higher up Kelso we went, the more that Grays and Torreys rose above the ridge. We were surprised to still see so much snow left! Dead Dog still has enough snow and with temperatures slowly turning for lower, there may be some snow climbing to be had all year!

Kelso Mtn from the Grays trail

Grays & red paintbrushes

Caroline romping in the flowers

Me free hiking - Photo Credit: Caroline


Grays & Torreys emerging from behind the ridge


Snow near the summit, should have brought skis...

We arrived on the summit after only a short bit, with nary a cloud in the sky. The sky was still the incredibly blue color of early morning. The summit was the only place where we felt any wind, and it did create a bit of a chill. So after our summit rituals were over, and the photos snapped, we descended down the ridge towards Torreys to keep our descending tracks a bit lower angle than our ascending route.

Gals playing hookey from work

Some 13ers on the list to do

Me taking photos - Photo Credit: Caroline



What a view!

Dead Dog still has snow... Wow!

Lots of people on Kelso Ridge today

Flowery slope

Caroline had brought her DSLR camera and wanted some practice in using it. So we found some nice flowers to photograph on the way down to work on depth of field and aperture. With the beautiful day, we weren't in any rush to get down, so why not take some time to enjoy the flowers?

Playing with depth of field

Some nice flowers - Photo Credit: Caroline

Depth of field practice - Photo Credit: Caroline

Our route

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Comments or Questions

Must've missed the flowers...
08/10/2011 19:01
when I took that route.

Very nice photos!

08/10/2011 20:49
...absolutely stunning photos. Thanks for sharing.


Just a nice day out...
08/11/2011 01:24
It doesn't look like it can get much better. I was with Derek in the above photo and it's obvious that I need to return to Kelso on better terms. It looks like soon would be good choice.


08/11/2011 01:33
I think pic #19 can make a good postcard.


Playing hooky...
08/11/2011 02:33
was a blast! Great, non-stop conversation, photo lessons, a new peak, food, etc. Nice being the only ones up there. And albeit popular, the view of Torreys sure makes it look that much more burly. Hauling up the skis for an August ski may have been worth it ;) Great TR! Let's do it again!


Great Day!
08/11/2011 20:28
Sorry Derek & Kimo, you chose winter not summer

lanternerouge08 - Yeah, we went down the south ridge, until we decided to go visit the flowers instead of rocks

Caroline - Yes, we need to do this again! Next time, if it's easy, I'll bring my DSLR. Besides we have over 500 to go!


08/11/2011 20:54
Yes, over 500 to go. Oh boy.... Lots of time to practice with the camera!

Chicago Transplant

Agree with Derek and Kimo
08/11/2011 21:27
Yeah, much more peaceful than February, I had 40mph winds knocking me around when I was there too... at least I had something they didn't - sun 8)
Looks nice up there in the summer, may have to repeat this one sometime!


08/13/2011 19:25
Hey Otina, was this the S95 you used? Did you manually underexpose, or was this on auto? I'm thinking of getting one.

Great images, great trip, and remember, even when the mountain is no longer there, work probably will be. : )


S90, but same difference
08/15/2011 17:42
It's a great compact camera that can run fully manual and if you get the adapter (non Canon company makes it), you can add filters. And yeah, I manually underexpose to help the polarizer out sometimes. I do prefer a deeper/darker image.


08/21/2011 17:43
Great pictures about what time did you start?


About 7am
08/22/2011 21:59
mtn_hikin - we started just in time, for the parking lot to be almost full. Weekends would be tough to start that late. 6am may be needed then!


08/23/2011 16:33
The images convinced me, I am going to use that route tomorrow.

Tory Wells

Since it doesn't have a name....
09/03/2011 14:45
I propose that we name the route up the flower covered east slopes of Kelso the ”Sound of Music” route, as it made me want to run through the flowers and sing ala Julie Andrews.

Tory Wells

09/03/2011 14:45
when I climbed it a couple weeks ago, the Kelso Ridge (south ridge) up Kelso Mt is a lot of fun. Looks like you descended it?

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