Peak(s):  Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Date Posted:  04/26/2012
Modified:  05/19/2012
Date Climbed:   04/25/2012
Author:  KansasBoarder
 East Face to Dead Dog - Blasted!   

A Vertical World, The East Face of Torrey’s Peak

Good evening everyone!

In the spirit of making it to my friend’s graduation party on time, I’m going to try something a little different today. I will write and edit this post in under 30 minutes! Tick tock…

Yesterday, Miguel/Captain Kirk/Mr. Records/Michael/Mikey/Mike Records and myself spent a little time playing around on the Continental Divide. With terribly warm temperatures in the forecast, we knew that we had to ski and ride high (elevation, kiddos) and early in order to avoid wet avalanches. The good news for our nocturnal schedules is that the unseasonably warm weather has cleared many access roads of snow – providing short approaches to the goods.

Unusual skinning conditions; rock, ice, shrub.

We set out from the Steven’s (Stephen’s?) Gulch Trailhead just after 6:30am – a weirdly early feeling 6:30. The air was cool and the sky hazy, softening the light to a comfortable glow. The steep and rugged terrain of McClellan and Edwards Mountains kept us fascinated as we made our way towards Torrey’s. The well traveled approach took us through some unusual surfaces and textures, including several ice flows.

A different perspective on the East Face


Photos courtesy Mike Records “”

At 8:30, following a very necessary whippet assault on a threatening snowball, we made the switch from skinning to booting. Rather than travel up the infamous Dead Dog Couloir, an efficient though potentially dangerous route (rockfall), we picked our way up a shorter snow slope near the South Paw Couloir. Despite leaving his crampons in Crested Butte, Mike was a good sport and elected to humor me with this snow climb, knowing that I desired a direct path up. The lightly frozen snow gave enough purchase for both of our safe passages.

Neither one of us was feeling particularly energetic, perhaps due to our recently conditioned Sea Level Lungs. Mike had just returned from two weeks of skiing in Alaska, and I had spent the past week golfing in Kansas City. Either way, we made steady progress onward and upward, gaining the summit sometime after 10 O’Clock.

Mike chewing through vertical during our snow climb

Mike, carrying the weapon away from the snowball massacre

Beautiful surroundings for a little workout, huh?

Taking the final dry steps to Torrey’s Summit…sporting the grin that every athlete knows. It’s the same grin a runner gets finishing a race, a football player shows after finishing wind sprints, a basketball player reveals as the buzzer goes off.
Photos courtesy Mike Records “”

With the snow still marginally frozen, we took a short break on the summit. The morning haze had burned off, giving us a remarkable range of vision. It’s quite a treat to be able to call out peaks from Estes Park to Aspen….to name lines and faces from Kremmling to Colorado Springs.


Summit Smiles

Soon enough (quite soon, in fact), the east facing snow was soft and primed for our descent. We geared up and traversed a touch towards Dead Dog, our intended line. Faced with discontinuous snow to the entrance, and the knowledge that many parties had descended the couloir in recent days, we elected to start by making turns down the East Face Direct. Woah, was it sweet! Soft enough snow to feel safe, enough exposure to remain focused…those turns were MONEY!

Steep turns right off the top! Photo courtesy Mike Records “”

Confident arcs from a man with a plan. A season in Crested Butte and two weeks in AK show in the smooth style!

Hanging a Louie after 500 vert we discovered slowly softening powder caking the skier’s right of Dead Dog. The rocky terrain providing many playful lines and turns for another 1500 vertical. All. The. Way. Down.

Smooth Turns entering the perished K-9 Chute. Photo courtesy Mike Records “”

Sweet turns and soft snow! Not to mention the pitch!

Higher speed arcs on the buttery smooth apron! Photo courtesy Mike Records “”

We finished off our descent with some large radius (infinite in Mike’s case) turns down the perfectly corned up Apron. High fives and giddy stoke was exchanged, as we relaxed and gazed upward.

Ascent (yellow), Descent (blue)

A huge thanks to Mike for an amazing day out there. Great to share another adventure. Unfortunately, I have overstayed my welcome – 45 minutes to put this together. I wouldn’t survive in the journalism world. Deadlines?

Until next time, take it easy!

Sharing mountain adventures with this community is a real privilege, so thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this report, and desire to enable our community to help change the lives of Children with Burn Injuries, please visit the Peaks for Peace Website and consider making a donation to a powerful cause!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nicely done!
04/27/2012 12:29
45 minutes to put together a TR?! I'd say that's great time! Awesome pics too, Brennan!


04/27/2012 13:27
Love that East Face direct entrance. Torreys really does have a little bit of everything, and being so close to Denver, what more can you really ask for? This is a line we'll be skiing till we're 75 I hope...


04/27/2012 14:10
And surprisingly good snow conditions after what I saw on recent trip reports. Jealous!

Bummed I can't ski this weekend


Nice TR
04/27/2012 21:02
I saw you guys climbing up the snow to the G/T saddle and you head up to Torrey's with your skis and board and was looking to see you come down but never did. Sounds like a great day for you! I wish I was a better skier - much more fun coming down than walking!

James Scott

South Side?
04/28/2012 22:40
I'm planning on doing Greys from the south side next week. From the summit picture, it appears most of the snow on that side is melted out. Is that the impression you got from the top?


Grays South Side
04/29/2012 00:15
The East side of Grays has a very little snow and what is there is on the trail. I was on the top of Grays but didn't look off the backside much but expect not much snow there.


Thanks! And...
05/01/2012 00:09
Caroline: 45 minutes to write the report, after editing photos. This addiction/passion is time consuming!

Ben: if Torreys is in on December 28th, 2059, you and I are skiing!

Bill: you interested in Horseshoe this week?

James: the southeast side of Greys holds A LOT more snow than the NE face. Even on a year like this, I would guess that there is psuedo-continuous snow...perhaps not from the summit though. The SW face is pretty dry.

Jimmtman: backcountry snowboarding has ruined me as a hiker - I dread walking downhill now. Nice work on Wednesday!

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