Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Grizzly Pk D  -  13,427 feet
Sniktau, Mt  -  13,234 feet
"Cupid"  -  13,117 feet
Date Posted:  07/14/2014
Date Climbed:   07/12/2014
Author:  cordisimo
 Loveland Pass to Bakersville  

This is my 1st trip report, so be merciful. Gray's and Torrey's are great, but the crowds are always a turnoff. So why not go a different route? I like to say I'm a trail runner, so I run all the flats and downhills, uphills depend on elevation and steepness. But inevitably I end up hiking most everything uphill above 13,500'.

I arrived at Loveland pass at the leisurely hour of 7:45. About 3 hours later than I would have liked, but that's the price you pay if you want your mom to shuttle the car for you. Up first was the gentle Mt. Sniktau. This would be what mommy would do, and she loved it. Bro-tip: this is an awesome and not too crowded peak for flatlanders or more casual hikers to actually see the mountains without hating you by the end. Even with my late-ish start I was the only person on the summit of Mt. Sniktau and my day's work was laid out before me.
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Summit of Sniktau, Looking at Torrey's

Looking over to Grizzly it looks so simple, its only 100' or so higher, how hard could it be? Well you gain about 1,000' on the traverse over. Once over the hump that is the unranked Mt. Cupid, the grassy pastures end and the vertical game begins! The crux of the route was one section of some class 2+ stuff on Cupid(so I suppose its not a crux really). Anyways, there was a little pool that was very pretty right there.
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Mt. Cupid looking at Torrey's

The final push to Grizzly, was steep and scree-y, totally non-runnable. Looking to Gray's and Torrey's is a bit intimidating from up there. Its like starting a big jig-saw puzzle, you know you'll finish it and it will be cool eventually, but you want it to be done now and your not sure why you even like these things (but you do for some reason ).

I elected to drop off the ridge fairly early and work my way down the scree (or is it talus, I never know). The skree-ing (ski+scree) was fun at times until you would roll a rock into your ankle. I'm sure if I would have gone slower I would have cursed less, but its more fun to go fast! I saw some other runners in the distance on the ridge getting to the base of Torrey's and I decided to try and catch up.
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Looking back at Grizzly

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Steep Scree, runner in the distance

Now heading up Torrey's is steep! From my GPS it looks like it gains ~2,000' in about a mile. There is sort of a use trail going up, but its so crappy it doesn't help too much anyways. My personal quest to catch the other runners became futile as I got about 100ft from them and could never make up that ground until we crossed paths on the summit. They were just doing Grizzly and Torrey's, but they were heading back to Loveland pass so they had to endure the scree climbs twice. After being largely on my own for the past 3 hours, it was like walking into a random party on top of Torrey's. Oh yeah, that's why I didn't go up the standard route. Getting over to Gray's was harder than it should have been, but eventually I was up on my final peak of the day.
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Summit of Torrey's looking at traverse

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Steven's Gulch

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Summit of Gray's looking at traverse

I had contemplated running back to Loveland pass, but my single 20oz water bottle was over half way empty and the skies were threatening (Oh, and I guess I was getting tired too). I sent the transmission to my mommy to meet me at Bakersville. I danced down the well-used trail down to Steven's gulch with some extra effort as clouds were darkening. Rain began to fall just about as I got to the bridge, so I waited for 10 minutes or so beneath the bathroom's overhanging roof for the rain to subside. A surprising number of people were still nonchalantly hiking up as thunder and lightning were crashing up above. I ran 2 miles down the dirt road waiting for a car to pass to hitch a ride. Eventually a kind gent in a red pickup stopped and let me bounce around in the back for the last mile or so (thank you, friend!). I couldn't decide if the bumpy road was fun or painful each time I crashed back down to the metal beneath me, though I believe I was smiling the whole time. Got back down to I-70 and stepped out to realize this was the first flat ground I had been on in 5 hours. My mommy picked me up and we went and got pizza.

This route is pretty fun, you're always going seemingly straight up or down and you're above treeline the whole day. It's also net negative in terms of elevation gain: 5,200' ascent and 6,200' descent in about 13 miles. I think its also best in this direction, as descending Torrey's West ridge sounds gross. But if you want a good challenge that's not too far from city folk dwellings this is a goody!

Stats:
Distance: 13 miles
Ascent: 5,200ft
Descent: 6,200ft
Average Altitude: 13,100ft
Time: 5:27
Moving Time: 4:56

My GPX file is too big and I have no idea how to scale that down, so if you want to see the route (there is a download button too) click here. PS the barometer wasn't set right so all elevations are about 700ft short.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
SurfNTurf

Nice first report
07/14/2014 17:48
That's quite the ridge run. Good job!


Jay521

What Jeff said...!
07/14/2014 17:49
Hope to see more from you.


Steve Climber

If only all first TR's
07/14/2014 17:52
Were JUST like this one. Nice write up and nice traverse. Beautiful day out.


screeman57

love this
07/14/2014 18:02
gotta do it now (isn't that what a trip report should do?)


jmanner

Jealous!
07/14/2014 19:28
I've been talking about this for a while now! Way to actually make it happen and not just talk(like me)!!!


rajz06

What?
07/14/2014 20:51
No Edwards or McClellan? Kidding aside, that's one heck of a ridge run and I'm in the same camp as jmanner in having the dreaming part down! BTW, your endpoint was Bakerville (no ”s”).


Steve Nicholls

Nice Report
07/15/2014 00:41
Nicely done! For those looking into doing this, you can start and finish at the Bakerville exit. There's a frontage road that parallels I-70. After a mile and half, maybe a little more, whenever it looks good, you can bushwhack up to Sniktau. There's a crazy network of game trails and grassy slopes once you're above timberline. The three things I remember about the loop: running into the biggest herd of elk I've ever seen on Sniktau, the haul up to Torrey's was steep, and running down off of Grays I took a world class digger in front of a ton of onlookers. My notes (approximate) 17.5 miles, 8,600ft.



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