Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Date Posted:  08/18/2011
Date Climbed:   08/13/2011
Author:  ChrisSLee1

 Meteors and Full Moon - on 45 minutes notice!  

And I thought I was going to be riding the couch in Denver last Friday night...

Around 7:45pm I got a text from Martha asking if I wanted to do the night hike with her - a surprise to me as I thought she had friends in town and was planning on G&T for Saturday morning. Not the case...

With the full moon and the Perseid meteor shower she had decided to do it solo. 15 minutes later I was off the couch and ready to walk out the door.

After a quick late dinner/early bfast (it was Wendy's, what's the difference...) we left Denver at 11pm. We left the G&T TH ~12:15 with a purposefully slow pace so we could give ample attention to the shooting stars above (and the meandering porcupine half a mile in). No headlamps needed until the small ledge section just below the trail split. Headlamps back off until just below the summit of Grays ~2:45.

We realized we were still going a bit too fast and would need to really slow ourselves down on the way to Torreys. A couple stops and some very slow footsteps kept us warm and let us keep watching the meteors. At Torreys summit ~4:15 we had to bust out the emergency foil blankets to keep in body heat as the sun took its time coming up.

We headed down to the saddle ~4:40 to get a better view of the full moon setting over the Gore Range while the sun rose over the Eastern Plains. Martha got out her good camera and took some great photos in both directions. This is where we encountered our first person of the day and had him snap a pic of us. We had seen a few headlamps coming up the valley earlier and when daylight fully broke we saw dozen or so people on the switchbacks headed up Grays.

We took our sweet time descending stopping to chat with the curious folks asking how/what/why we were on the way down so early. A friendly fellow hiker was stopped on the side of the trail below the split and had a few mountain goats in his camera sights. After watching the goats for a few minutes we continued back to the parking area and saw the usual dozens of pika and a few marmots along the way.

So... Two 14k ft peaks in the bag, a full moon hike, 40-50 shooting stars, saw a full moon setting, a beautiful sunrise, some great friendly conversation and enough sun for the rest of the weekend - all before 8:30am - and all on a spontaneous trip. Good enough!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Best Idea Ever
08/18/2011 17:10
And I told my boss once that there was nothing worth staying up all night for. Totally worth it! Going to have to scout out Perseid shower every year, since it is one of the few that occurs in the warm months.


Absolutely Amazing!
08/18/2011 18:47
Great pictures, thanks for sharing! We're planning a trip much like this for Labor Day.

Any tips on a sleeping schedule?


Sleep tips...sort of
08/18/2011 21:00
Sleeping schedule? People asked me on the way down ”what time did you get up?” We did it over a Friday night/Saturday morning time frame, so I told them ”6 AM before work yesterday.” We both had the luxury of being able to go home and sleep after completing the hike. But, I think I would have been better off if I had tried to take a little nap beforehand, but I can definitley recommend planning this type of night hike for a weekend when you know you will have a chance for a long recovery nap! If you are on a day work schedule (ie not a night shift nurse or something) there is almost never a good way to plan for losing sleep!


Good for you!
08/19/2011 21:55
The full moon washes things out, but this is still a great adventure. I saw the Perseids from Quandary four years ago, with the advantage of a very old moon. Next year has to be better.

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.