Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Date Posted:  09/04/2012
Modified:  09/05/2012
Date Climbed:   09/03/2012
Author:  docfrance
 Grays--Torreys Same--Same  

We arrived at the trailhead at about 0650 after driving past most of the parked cars and parking to the southwest of the bridge and outhouses. The road in was in the best condition I've seen in the last five years at least, as evidenced by probably the most pretentious car I've ever seen in a 14er trailhead lot (that usually requires at least a Subaru to reach)--a guy drove his Audi A8L there, obviously just to try out the AWD.

We had large group again and were on our way by 0703 with two heading for Kelso Ridge and me leading the others (including 3X first-timers). Image
It was windy and crisp, but tolerable passing through the valley, passing other groups. The skies were generally clear except for some ragged puffies passing by at high speed. One in our group fell behind, so we made a plan to meet later at the saddle. She had a map, plenty of water, an operating cell phone and we were not worried about her given the crowds on the trail.ImageImageImageImageImage
Our two more adventurous climbers broke off to Kelso and we continued up the trail in some sort of ragged formation. One of our rookie climbers, a USAFA cadet from Senegal stayed with e at the lead and we passed many more groups on our way to summitting Grays in almost exactly two hours at 0903.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage
We stayed on the summit for over 30 minutes as the rest of the group (sans one) joined us for photos and i took photos of other groups there, too. ImageTwo of our hikers descended to the saddle and then cut off from there back to the parking area while the rest of us joined the ant-line to the Torreys summit. Image
We crossed paths with our Kelso Ridge teammates about halfway through the uphill portion and they gave a very favorable report of the trail and Class 3 climbing--saying that it was easier than expected and no big deal. We arrived there at 1016 and again spent some time relaxing and taking pictures. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage
I had my summit soda and our international cadets (Senegal, Rwanda, and Kazakhstan) entertained all climbers with stirring renditions of their national anthems.

We decided to descend about 30 minutes later and about 200 feet vertical below the summit crossed paths with out slower friend who'd decided to do Torreys and not Grays. She'd warned me with a text message, so this was not unexpected. She was in good spirits, so I sent the rest of the group down the mountain and helped her get to her first summit--smiles all the way!Image
The descent for her was much tougher as she did not have good shoes nor poles and spent a great deal of time sliding. All the while, though, she kept a great attitude and plugged along.
Though slow, she made progress and we made it o the bottom without incident, arriving at about 1320. The others were waiting to congratulate her and that was about it.
I'm doing this report just for my own records--certainly nothing new here--but it's always a fun hike through a beautiful valley... with about 3000 of your closest hiking friends!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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