Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Date Posted:  05/09/2015
Date Climbed:   05/03/2015
Author:  MonGoose
Additional Members:   BenfromtheEast
 50 Shades of Grays   

Mountain: Grays Peak
Route: East Slopes
RT Elevation: 4,600'
RT Distance: 13.2 Miles
Travel time: 9.5 hours

"My tastes are very singular..." -Mr. Grays

Ben: "Tell me again why we're doing this?"
Nick: "I'm trying to expand my reader base to include soccer moms."

50 Shades of Grays (Peak)

Ben and I have been trying to get out to ski a 14er this spring but the continued snow storms over the month of April have delayed our plans. I'm not complaining, however, because the spring skiing conditions have been superb. We decided to get out and ski a mellower peak and we settled on the East Slopes (Standard Summer Route) of Grays Peak. Earlier in the spring, the road was clear of snow to the Stevens Gulch turn off, but the recent round of snow storms over the past month brought the snow coverage back down to I-70. We were only able to drive a few hundred yards above the Bakersfield parking area before hitting snow and we parked next to the radio tower. After gearing up, we left the car at 4:45am with morning temperatures in the 30's. There was still a good amount of snow on the road as we began the slow trek towards the summer trailhead.
Skinning the 3 miles of road to the summer trailhead. (Photo by Ben)

It took us 2 hours to travel the nearly 3 miles to the summer trailhead due to a number of dry sections on the road, where we had to remove our skis and boot pack. The approach was long, boring and uneventful. Two miles up the road we were passed by a snowmobile with 3 skiers, which seemed to be a much better approach.
These guys deserve a parking ticket. (Photo by Ben)

Above the summer trailhead, there was a snowmobile track that provided a firm skin line up the drainage to the bowl between Grays and Torreys. This allowed us to avoid the steeper terrain below Kelso Mountain.
We stayed in the drainage and away from Kelso Mountain. (Photo by Ben)

Grays and Torreys come into view.

Above the summer trailhead, the scenery improved considerably as we enjoyed the low angle approach to the bowl. The snow was surprisingly firm in this section.


Beta: Lost Rat couloir on Grays Peak. (Photo by Ben)

Around 12,800' it became easier to boot pack for a few hundred feet than skinning around the ridge. It was 9:15am and the sun was peeking through the clouds as the snow was slowly starting to warm. We were trying to reach the summit before the snow conditions began to deteriorate.
Bootpacking the ridge towards Grays' summit.

Looking back at Kelso Mountain. (Photo by Ben)

Beta: Climbers ascend Dead Dog couloir on Torreys peak. Afterwards they reported that conditions were excellent. (Photo by Ben)

We were racing the late morning sun as we approached the home stretch just below the summit. The top layer of snow was becoming slushy causing my skins to lose traction, requiring significantly more effort.
(Photo by Ben)

Ben reached the summit before me and when I arrived, I was surprised to see the familiar face of Britt Jones. Britt and his group had climbed Dead Dog couloir on Torreys and then traversed over to Grays. It was 11:30am and thankfully, the cloud cover had protected the snow from softening under the morning sun.
On the summit we met celebratory and local climbing legend, globreal.

I unleashed Ben from his handcuffs...

... and he released his skis from their skins...

... but I kept him on a short leash.

On the summit, I refueled by eating a MonGoose Nutrition Bar.

And I'm still getting the hang of this 'Rippin Skins' thing. (Photo by Ben)

Ben is ready to milk the goods.

It's finally time for some turns. (Photo by Ben)

The Descent: Quite possibly the lowest budget ski porn you will ever see.

Ben navigates the shark fins below the summit.

Then things began to open up.


At the saddle the powder deepened.

The 1,000' below the saddle was phenomenal. (Photo by Ben)

I was concerned that the lower basin would be mashed potatoes by the time we returned but to our amusement, the basin was still firm and we had a nice skate over the willows.

Almost back to the summer trailhead.

Conditions didn't deteriorate until we reached the road. Now it was time to suffer.

"There's a very fine line between pleasure and pain. They are two sides of the same coin, one not existing without the other." - Mr. Grays

What could be more fun than hiking a muddy road in ski boots?

These guys were able to make it up the road a half mile further than the rest. Then the snow softened.
This seems to be a weekly occurrence this spring. Don't be the next victim.

Ben was sympathetic to their struggles.

We had an awesome day on Grays! The road took up way more time than we anticipated but the coverage in the saddle was fantastic. This is a great route for folks who are new to ski mountaineering or are looking for a mellow ascent and low angle descent. I hope a few of you will get out to ski it this spring.

Thanks for reading,

Special thanks to YoungGrasshopper for sharing some beta in his trip report a few weeks ago.

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

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32

 Comments or Questions

05/10/2015 09:22
You guys cracked me up! This was thoroughly entertaining, thank you for sharing
Will be attempting this trek in a couple months once all that snow is gone– hopefully!



there might be something wrong
05/10/2015 09:22
when a dude is cuffing another dude out of pleasure and entertainment....


Nice work
05/10/2015 09:23
Looks like a great ski! Congrats man


Having neither...
05/10/2015 09:23
read the book nor seen the movie, I could only guess what all of the hullabaloo was about. Seems like you are working on the sequel perhaps?


Glad that
05/10/2015 09:23
my trip report was of some use!

Nice to see you took advantage of the good conditions.


I’m with Yikes...
05/11/2015 07:50
I didn’t get any of your jokes. I’ll have to get someone more in touch with pop culture to explain them to me. It seems you guys put a bit of effort into them


ME TOO (being with Yikes)
05/11/2015 11:50
I can’t believe anyone would combine that movie with a trip report...
I have not (never will) see the movie, but it’s pretty well-know what it’s about..
Otherwise, nice trip report..


nothing wrong
05/12/2015 12:10
with a good handcuffing, and spanking....

nice work, just dont recommend putting this tr on teton grav.


05/12/2015 12:10
Great idea for a Trip Report, Ben needs some good SM in his life! Nicely done and thanks for the write up Senor Herpestidae.


05/12/2015 16:55
Even by easy front range TR standards this was difficult to get through.


This TR
05/12/2015 17:22
is disturbing on so many levels. Nice photos though.


Very creative….
05/17/2015 21:36
Mr. Mongoose. You are never short on humous ideas!
Great trip report. It was nice running into you and Ben on the summit. (I never would have expected to end of in your TR.)
Congrats to both of you on getting a ski icon for Grays.

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