Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Date Posted:  01/05/2012
Date Climbed:   01/03/2012
Author:  NYannacone

 Grays - East Slopes  

The snow report this season... well we all know, less than par. The weather however, pretty amazing!
So after a few days of recovery from a New Years celebration with my old college friends who act like they're still enrolled, I decided a hike rather than a ski day would be the best way to start the year! I have done plenty of backcountry hiking and riding, but never tried a winter summit, and all though I am in the date range, it sure didn't feel like it.
I-70 Westbound

The bad news; I had read an earlier post and description of the access road to the trail head and decided what the heck lets see if my trust worthy snow cat! (2002 Subaru Legacy) can make it, at least some of the way.
So, for those who are familiar I was able to make it past the old, big, red/brown barn thing that is right off the road. A little ways past that, there is a bit of a steep incline and I could feel the snow getting softer so I stopped and backed down hoping to find a suitable place to park for the afternoon. As I was reversing my passenger side back tire went into some soft corn and pulled me right in. And even though I told my self a half dozen times to load up some shovels, of course I did not. But I do have a tow strap, which comes into play later.

I half tried to dig myself out with a frisbee and a trekking pole, jumped back in the car tried a little rock back and forth thing but no dice!
My car was stuck about a 1/4 before this spot.

I decided to start the hike and deal with it later, maybe a few fellow climbing comrades would show or worst case hike to I-70 and stick my thumb out with my tow strap in my other hand and hope for the best.
The famous bridge!

Definitely not worth bringing ski or board, but may be nice to stash some where and have for the lower decent and back to your stuck vehicle on the road.

My advice, unless you have something burly, some friends and some shovels, do not go up the road!!!

G & T come into view all lit up!

The trail was in great condition, very packed, visable and easy to follow. I brought some snow shoes and used them on the road but they were definitely not needed, poles were handy though. I have not tried the microspikes but my guess is they would be perfect for the current conditions.

Very gusty in this section, probably 40+mph

Lots of grass still showing.

Selfer, nice to meet you!


Getting closer

Stevens Gulch

I turned my phone on about here and had service so I called my buddy Miles who happened to be just jumping on I-70 west from Denver to go up to his condo in Wildernest. I told him where I was and he agreed to come to the rescue

More bad news;
He was about an hour away and I was very close to the summit. My guess, somewhere between 500 and 1000 vert feet to go but I had to give up and head back to the car so Miles would'nt be waiting. I ate half a cliff bar, took a nice chug of agua and jogged down the trail, making it back to the car in just under an hour. No summit today!
My first winter solo trip, fail!!


Not too much futher to go but had to turn around and run back!

Miles made it to my car soon after I arrived in his new Tundra. We set the tow strap to my back hitch and he was able to pull me out.. but.. in doing so, his truck got stuck. So while his two labs ran around and had a great time, the two of us spent about 2 hours digging with ski poles and my frisbee. After a stuggle we were able to both turn our vehicles around and get down the hill safely. I owe him big time.

So.. no summit but still a fun adventure. I will try again soon my old friend. I hope this may be helpful to someone.

No longer a virgin trip reporter!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

01/05/2012 23:18
The good news is that Grays will still be there!!! Nice shots of Kelso and Torrey's!!!

James Scott

try again
01/06/2012 02:52
in the next few weeks? I wonder if the conditions will still be good over MLK weekend.

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