Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
McClellan Mtn  -  13,587 feet
Edwards, Mt  -  13,850 feet
Ganley Mtn - 12902
Date Posted:  08/12/2018
Modified:  08/24/2018
Date Climbed:   06/10/2018
Author:  CaptainSuburbia
 Ganley to Grays  

So I've been planning to climb Grays Peak since last fall. From climbing partners bailing on me at the last minute to avalanche concerns throughout the winter, and most recently work taking all my time, Grays Peak alluded me. I finally got a weekend off and with great weather it was a perfect time for a solo climb. I did not want to climb with the masses and really enjoy going off trail, so after some research I chose to climb Ganley Mountain and then follow the ridge over McClellan and Edwards to Grays. I am writing this trip report(my first one) mainly because I could find little to no information on how best to access Ganley to gain the ridge to it"s summit, so I hope this helps others.

Start time: 5:35 am. Finish: 12:30 pm.

Total hiking time 6 hours 35 minutes and 20 minutes at summits. Total distance: 12.02 miles.

I left my house in Fort Collins around 3:30 am and arrived at the Grizzly Gulch turn off from Stevens Gulch Rd. around 5:15. It's about 1 mile from the I70 exit. There's enough space here for 4 or 5 cars so I parked and was the only car to do so as others past on their way to the Grays summer trailhead parking. I quickly started to get my gear ready. I wanted to be home by 3 so I knew I had to get going. As I said before, I had no idea where to start climbing Ganley, but I picked this spot because it looked like the shortest route through the trees to gain the ridge.

I crossed Stevens Gulch Rd. and plunged directly into the trees hoping for the best. There was a moderate incline at first, but it quickly became very steep and heavily forested with young aspens.

It remained extremely steep all the way to treeline. There would be occasional clearings or talus piles where I would get my first views of Grays, Torreys and Kelso Mtn.

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Kelso Mountain, Grays, Torreys and saddle to Grizzly Peak

I finally broke through the trees and emerged on a large talus field with incredible views, and Ganley's ridge was not far above. I70 westbound could be seen far below.

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I quickly reached the ridge and began ascending a grassy slope towards what turned out to be the first of many bumps along the way before the summit. The views were always fantastic!

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Finally, after what seemed like forever I could see Ganley's summit and it was still a long way off. After all it was only 98 feet short of a being 13er, but man did it feel like one.

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The final climb was relatively easy on a rocky slope and occasional snow that was easily avoidable. There was an interesting antenna at the top and more incredible view of Grays, Torreys, the valley I came from and the route ahead.

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Final pitch to the summit
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Looking back on I-70 and 13er Parnassus on the right
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The route ahead and Evans/Bierstadt in the distance

After several quick photos I moved on towards my next objective, McClellan Mountain. I walked along the ridge for a bit with a gradual incline and a few ups and downs. Saw lots of wildflowers and one lone ptarmigan.

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Occasionally I would pass a scree chute leading to the valley. This one drops right down to the Gray's summer parking lot and almost looks climbable.

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As I continued along the ridge I could see an old mine road working it's way up the mountain, and because I was curious I eventually dropped down to follow it for a bit. It was a nice change to walk on a solid trail, and soon I could see what looked like McClellans summit above several old mine shafts and off to the left was Mt. Bierstadt, Mt Evans and the Sawtooth.

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Mine road weaving up backside of Ganley
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At the mine shafts I veered off the road and went straight up past the abandoned mines. It was steep and I definitely regretted leaving the ridge for the mining road. At the summit I had my first good view of Edwards and the traverse to Grays.

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I quickly descended to the McCellan-Edwards saddle and then there was a fun scamble to Edwards summit.

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Beginning of Kelso's Ridge
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Final scramble to Edwards summit
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Edwards summit

More great views from here.

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Ruby Mountain
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Argentine Pass Trail, Argentine Peak and Square Top Mountain
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The traverse to Grays was now easily visible, and it looked long and difficult. I knew that the difficulty would not exceed 2+ and was ready for the challenge.

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Edwards to Grays traverse

I wish I could remember the specifics of this traverse, but I don't. I know that it was fun and there were at least two and maybe three high points along the way. There was usually exposure to my right and sometimes to the left, but very seldom on both sides simultaneously. Occasionally I would come across a large tower, but it was always easy to skirt it on the left side and keep the difficulty to 2+.

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Often there would be a faint goat trail
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Looking back on Edwards and McClellan
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Tower 1
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Tower 2
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Tower 3
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Another tower
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Kelso Mountain
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Final slope to Grays Peak

The final pitch to the summit was a steep scree field with mountain goats close to the top. I'd been hoping to see goats this whole time and there they were finally!

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I love seeing these amazing animals when I climb, and was glad they did not disappoint. After taking many pictures I continued the last bit to the summit and the shock of seeing 50 or so people on the summit. I had not seen a single person since leaving my truck so long ago, and I guess I wasn't prepared. Nevertheless, the views from Grays were outstanding and are very underrated.

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At this point I decided I didn't have time for Torrey's, so I began descending the Grays standard route. I quickly arrived at the summer trailhead parking lot, and then continued the last 2 miles down the 4x4 road to my truck at the Grizzly Gulch turnoff. I could see Baker Mountain in front of me and decided that would be my route to Torrey's when I return in a few weeks.

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

Great report
08/14/2018 06:42
A good way to climb Grays!


ArtM
Nice Route, and Photos
08/22/2018 22:27
Nice route, and great photos!


CaptainSuburbia

Thanks!
08/24/2018 11:56
Thanks! It was a fun route that I highly recommend



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