Peak(s):  Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Grizzly Pk D  -  13,427 feet
"Cupid"  -  13,117 feet
Date Posted:  06/13/2020
Modified:  06/15/2020
Date Climbed:   01/20/2020
Author:  CaptainSuburbia
 All Aboard the G & T Winter Express Rollercoaster  

So my climbing partner and I had just finished a winter ascent of Yale, and were thinking we should go for another 14er (or two) before driving home. The weather forecast was looking great for the next day, especially considering it was the middle of winter. A near windless day was being predicted for Torreys, so we decided to head for Loveland Pass. I'd been thinking for a few years now that climbing Torreys and Grays from Loveland Pass seemed like the perfect winter route (as long as the winds weren't howling ). The trailhead had a plowed lot, there was no long snowshoe approach, the ridge was generally windblown and avalanche danger was basically nonexistent. All great ingredients for a prime winter route. Whereas, the standard route for Grays and Torreys had a long snowshoe approach plus plenty of avy danger coming off Kelso Mountain. So, after a long stop in Breckinridge at Peppinos Pizzeria (took over 2 hours to get our pizza lol-Damn skiers!) we arrived at Loveland Pass around 9 pm for some truck sleep. We were the only 2 cars in the lot.

Day: January 20th, 2020

Peaks: Torreys, Grays, Grizzly D and Cupid

Trailhead: Loveland Pass

Mileage: 11 miles rt

We were up around 4 am and on the trail shortly after. The initial portion of the climb from Loveland Pass to Grizzly Peak was pretty straight forward and no traction was needed. At the rock pile below Cupid we skirted left and briefly got into some deep snow. We summitted Grizzly just as the sun was starting to rise above Grays and Torreys.

20170_03
Grays and Torreys from Grizzly Peak D
20170_02
Looking back at the route
20170_01
Black and Lenawee Mountains
20170_04
Grays and Torreys
20170_09
Torreys
20170_08
A good look of the route to Torreys

At the Grizzly summit, we put on our microspikes and began going down the ridge to the saddle. The southeast side of Grizzly was completely covered with snow. It was very firm and a bit icy so microspikes worked perfectly. We were glad to have our axes as well. At first, we stayed on the ridge and then slowly drifted to the right taking the shortest path down the icy slope. It was about an 800 vertical foot drop to the wide saddle. Once on the saddle we continued across it's large expanse towards Torreys on mostly windblown tundra. The wind, to this point, was true to the forecast and practically nonexistent. So far so good!

20170_07
Heading down Grizzly ridge
20170_11
Approaching saddle

From the saddle we had approximately 1600 vertical of climbing to reach Torreys summit. My buddy, who never passes up a good snow climb, noticed the gully was completely filled and began climbing straight up the middle of it. I wasn't impressed and took off my spikes and climbed the scree slope to the left of the gully. It was mostly windblown and a faint snow covered trail could be made out here and there. The climb up Torreys West Slope was steep and long.

20170_12
Gully climb
20170_10
Lenawee Mountain in the background
20170_14
Topping out in the gully with the saddle and Grizzly Peak D in the background
20170_13
Another look at the gully and scree slope to the left that I climbed

The gully ended at about 13600 feet and we continued together towards the false summit. From the false, we turned northeast on hardback snow and followed the mellow ridge to the summit.

20170_15
Looking back Torreys West Slope at Grizzly from false summit
20170_17
Keyton approaching the summit
20170_16
Torreys Peak summit
20170_18

The views were beyond spectacular as expected. I've always thought the views from Torreys and Grays were underrated. It was about 9 am and time to decide if we should head over to Grays or not. We both needed to get home sooner than later, but we were too close to a Grays snowflake to pass up. Plus, the weather was beautiful and there was still virtually no wind. So we turned south and headed down the mostly windblown ridge to the saddle with Grays.

20170_21
Grays Peak from Torreys summit
20170_20
Heading down Torreys
20170_19
Approaching saddle

The climb up Grays was pretty easy, and we were mostly able follow the snow filled standard trail. As we approached the summit we took a more direct route up the talus. We quickly topped out for our second winter14er of the day. Yay!

20170_26
Getting close to the summit and looking back at Torreys
20170_22
Stevens Gulch and Kelso Mountain (left)
20170_25
Grays Peak summit
20170_24

Well, that almost seemed too easy. 2 14ers in the bag and it was time to head home. We had picked the perfect day to get our Grays and Torryes snowflakes. The only disappointment was that there were no mountain goats. Where do they go in the winter time? After just a few minutes of admiring the views, we headed back down Grays towards Torreys and the rollarcoaster that would take us back to Loveland pass. The return was pretty uneventful. We didn't have to completely summit Torreys again, and instead, sidehilled to the false summit at about 13800 feet. Once back at the gully we were able to glissade down much of that back to the saddle. At the saddle, the spikes went back on for the snow covered climb over Grizzly. From there, it was up and down, up and down, easy peasy back to Loveland Pass.

20170_28
Heading back over Grizzly

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




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

Sunrise pics
06/13/2020 10:50
Nice sunrise shots. Wish I could make myself get up early for them.


CaptainSuburbia


Sunrise
06/13/2020 11:33
Thanks Will! Your problem is that your 14er vehicle is too niceðŸ˂. It's easy to get up early sleeping in the front seat of a truck because you never really fall asleep.


VeraUndertow

Gully>scree
06/14/2020 11:08
I just did this climb 2 days ago, and was thinking it'd be a decent winter route! Also that gully is still a nice climb although it's not continuous anymore, way better than scree and was a nice 3 part glissade down for me the other day. Great work and beautiful pictures!


CaptainSuburbia


Gully
06/15/2020 07:34
Nice work too! Really fun route! That's cool the gully was still kinda in. Longest glissade I'd ever done.



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