Peak(s):  Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Grizzly Pk D  -  13,427 feet
"Cupid"  -  13,117 feet
Baker Mountain - 12448
Date Posted:  10/09/2018
Modified:  10/10/2018
Date Climbed:   07/21/2018
Author:  CaptainSuburbia
 Baker Mtn to Torreys Peak with pup  

I'm back at Stevens Gulch for a solo climb of Torreys Peak with my dog Leo. I had done Grays a month or so ago and wasn't able to nab Torreys because of time. This will be Leo's first 14er. I hadn't planned on bringing him since it was going to be a long day. However, he managed to sneak out of the house and jump into my truck while I was packing so that was that. He's trained on many lower peaks, and I guess now he thinks he's ready for the big time.

We got kind of a late start, left Fort Collins around 4:15 and headed for Bakerville. After taking the exit off I-70, I once again drove 1 mile up the Grays Peak road. I parked where the road split for Grizzly Gulch just as I had done when I climbed Grays via Ganley Mountain. My plan this time was to trek up the north side of Baker Mountain to it's summit, follow it's long ridge to Cupid Peak, climb over Grizzly and then finally up Torreys west ridge.

Start time: 6:22 am. Finish Time: 3:24 pm.

Took 9 hours and 2 minutes. Total distance: 12.8 miles

I left my truck heading west and dropped down off Grizzly Gulch road to cross Quayle Creek. The water level was higher than expected and after not finding an easy way to cross, I reluctantly took off my boots and socks and waded across.

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Quayle Creek on east side of Baker Mountain

We then headed up Baker Mountain through the woods. It had a slight incline at first but eventually was very steep. Our goal was to stay slightly right and find the gash line that led to the ridge which could be seen from the road. The book "Best Summit Hikes Denver to Vail" recommended climbing the avalanche gash further down Grizzly Gulch road which led directly to the summit. However, I wanted to hike Bakers entire ridge so this seemed a better option.

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Leo leading the way through the woods
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Avalanche gash leading to the northern end of Baker Mountains ridge

We eventually popped out into the gash mark about 3/4 of the way up and could now see Baker's Ridge.

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Looking out at 13er Parnassus across I-70
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Northern end of Baker's ridge

We quickly gained the ridge and started heading in a south, westerly direction towards the summit. Mount Sniktau dominated the view to the west and Torreys could be seen to the east. Mt. Sniktau was actually a proposed venue for the 1976 winter Olympics which were awarded to Denver. It was going to be developed to host the downhill and giant slalom events while the slalom events would be at the Loveland ski area. Denver area voters rejected public funding fearing runaway cost, and the '76 games were moved to Austria.

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First of several false summits
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Mount Sniktau
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Torreys Peak

Baker Mountain seems to have 3 summits with the middle one being the true summit. However, the southern most summit seems to be slightly higher according to Caltopo. The open, grassy tundra of Baker was a welcome change from the woods and gash line. Leo had a blast exploring and investigating all the animal sounds. At one point we almost stepped on a couple ptarmigans that were a little over confident in their camouflage.

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False summit with Torreys-Grizzly saddle behind
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Summit

It didn't take long to reach the summit, and it was a relatively easy scramble to the top. I found the register and signed it. I believe I was the third visitor to Baker in the past 4 years. From here there were fantastic views of Torreys and the trail ahead.

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Torreys
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Southern most summit of Baker with Grizzly on left and Cupid to the right

Leo and I continued on towards the third and final Baker Mt. summit.

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Paintbrush

From Baker summit #3 we began heading directly west and could now clearly see Cupid. Then to my surprise we saw a single mountian goat which I had not expected to see until Torreys. He was not scared off as we approached, and in fact he came very close to us, as if he wanted something. At first he blocked our path forward, but eventually he circled around and let us continued on our way.

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Third summit with Cupid in the distance
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Pt. 12936
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Now it was on to Cupid with one small bump on the way before the short descent to the very small Baker-Cupid saddle.

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Baker-Cupid saddle looking at Grizzly

The ascent up Cupid was short and sweet, but very steep.

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Looking back at Baker, Kelso and Ganley Ridge
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Pt. 12936 and Grizzly

It was an easy climb to Cupids summit and after checking the views, we quickly headed towards our next 13er, Grizzly Peak.

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Arapahoe Basin and Keystone ski resort
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Trail to Grizzly
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Before Grizzly, we had a short climb over Pt 12936, which had more great views, including our first good look at Grays Peak.

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Pt 12936
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Torreys and Grays with Grizzly on right
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Loveland Pass
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Almost to Grizzly

The ascent up Grizzly was very rocky and a bit steep, but a nice trail could be followed most of the way to the summit.

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Looking back at Cupid
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Black and Lenawee Mountains
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Torreys and Grays from Grizzly

Climbing down Grizzly's talus was a tedious, rock hopping adventure. At first there was a faint trial, but then it was gone. I may have wondered off it by accident, but eventually made it to the very large saddle and made my way towards Torreys. The broad saddle had some significant exposure to the left looking down into Grizzly Gulch, but there was plenty of open tundra on the right to walk on.

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Talus slope coming down Grizzly
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Grizzly-Torreys saddle

We finally made it to Torreys West Ridge, and knew we had a long difficult class 2 climb to the summit.

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Almost there as we look across the saddle to Grays

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and finally the summit of Torreys Peak!

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Kelso's Ridge and Kelso Mountain
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Grays Peak

It was great to reach the summit of another 14er and the views were fabulous! The small summit was very crowded, not surprisingly. I would highly reccomend this route from Baker Mountain for it's solitude as I had seen very few climbers up to this point. With rain clouds coming in, we didn't linger to long as we still had a long journey to my truck to complete the loop. We headed down to the Grays-Torreys saddle passing many climbers still on their way up to the summit, and soon connected to the Grays trail which took us to the Grays summer parking lot. At this point we were pretty wet as a light rain fell most of the way. Unfortunately, we still had 2 more miles to go down Grays 4x4 road to reach our vehicle. I was hoping for a ride, but sadly we didn't get an offer(who would want a wet dog in their car?). I was fine with it though because it was nice to finish loop under our own power.

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Orange line was our route



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
Jay521

Interresting route.
10/10/2018 09:38
Looks like it was a lot of fun! Nice report.


Chelsea

Loop
10/10/2018 09:55
What a great loop! Thank you for sharing.


CaptainSuburbia


Thanks!
10/11/2018 07:57
Thanks Jay521 and cdeno! It was a very enjoyable loop and a great route to Torreys.



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