Peak(s):  Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Date Posted:  05/07/2008
Modified:  05/06/2014
Date Climbed:   05/06/2008
Author:  USAKeller
Additional Members:   BillMiddlebrook
 Torreys Peak Summit Ski Descent (South Slopes)- Grays Peak TH   

Torreys Peak Summit Ski Descent

Date: Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Group: BillMiddlebrook and myself
Route: South Slopes (standard) ascent (2mi.) and ski descent (1.75mi.) from Grays Peak TH
Total mileage: 3.75 miles
Total elevation gain: ~2,100ft.; 2,100ft. vertical skied
Total time out (including stop time): 4hrs. 25min.

**This is predominantly a ski/snow conditions report since we skied Grays a few days prior. So, if you're wondering about the road conditions, check out this trip report since conditions are pretty much still the same:

Our routes up the face (top) and ridge (bottom) (red=climb; blue=ski;) . In the top photo, Bill took skier's left, and I went skier's right:

Topo of the route (yellow=snowmobile; red=climb; blue=ski):

I met Bill at the Bakerville exit at 6:15am again, we geared up, and started sledding up the road shortly after. Due to hard-pack, we had quite a few problems with the engines and tracks over-heating, (not to mention anti-freeze leakage) along the way up, and the 4.75 mile ride up took about 45 minutes. We parked at 12,200ft. (the same spot as we did on Grays Peak). Finally, we were on skins at 7:50am, with no wind and warm temperatures! This time, we skinned directly up the drainage rather than staying on the standard trail to avoid having to take our skis off. This worked out much better.

Bill skins up the drainage:

Working my way up the East Slope of Grays:

On the East Slope, the snow was slick so we booted up to the Grays-Torreys trail junction at 13,200ft. where we had a bite to eat. Traversing across the NE face on Grays, we reached a spot on the saddle (near 13,500ft.) higher than the lowest point to avoid climbing a steep portion and stay on our skins. From here, we were able to find a continuous line to skin up to the summit.

The current conditions on the standard South Slopes route of Torreys (taken from 13,500ft. at the saddle):

Bill hit the summit at 10:50am, myself 10min. later (3hrs. 10min. climbing/break time). Storms were building up to the east and we had a short 20min. summit break. Now, it's time for business. Although there isn't much exposure along the south side of Torreys, the narrow patch of continuous snow and cornices had me a little bit worried since it was the closest I've come to "exposure" on a ski descent thus far. So, most of this section involved side-slipping down, and a couple (more for Bill) small turns. A skier was also coming off of Grays.

Grays Peak standard route:

Let's ski!

Bill dropped in first with a few side-slips and then some turns (my camera lens had a fingerprint on it so my photos didn't turn out well):

I ski off the summit (well, side-slip). Not the best entry but it worked...

...and think about making some turns, and then do it!

We skied to the end of the cornice at the saddle. Bill decided to head to a steeper section on skiers' left, just south of South Paw Couloir, and I opted skiers' right for something less steep (but steeper than what we skied on Grays!).

Bill breaks the small cornice and drops down:

I drop into the Northeast bowl and traverse across towards the closest rock rib:

I met Bill at a rock patch. Looking back, I wished I had skied the steeper portion that he did, just to get more comfortable with steeper stuff. Snow was sticking pretty well to my skis; Bill had some wax to put on. It makes a difference! We skied down to a plateau at the bottom of the face, on nice creamy snow. I love it!

Skiing down the bowl - give me more of this creamy snow!

A short ski out of the drainage and we were back to the snowmobiles in an hour (at 12:25pm). He had to fix a few things from the way up and we were on our way back down, this time the snowmobiles appreciating the softer snow being fed.

Grays' routes a few days ago for the sake of comparison:

A nice ride out and back to the cars at 1:15pm:

Ski conditions were much more optimal than a few days prior to this, and made for a great day for a ski descent.

If anyone has lost a crampon, PM Bill with make/model and he'll get it back to you.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

02/05/2011 00:22
Nice Work, How did Dead Dog look? Thinking of making the attempt this weekend.



Good work you two!!
05/08/2008 00:41
Camera lens fingerprint notwithstanding, the pics and report document the conditions and area nicely...Thanks!


Plenty of snow!
11/30/2010 17:28
Dead Dog looked good and it had seen some traffic Saturday and Sunday. The cool weather over the next few days should make it fairly stable but you won't know til get there.
This photo was taken Saturday:


Onward and Downward...
05/08/2008 02:22
USAKeller: Next stop, something a little more challenging! Elbert Box Chutes, Belford, Cristo Couloir, Princeton...


Thanks guys!
11/30/2010 17:28
jeffro: Usually my camera doesn't have a fingerprint, but I temporarily lost it and it was in the posession of someone else. Who knows why they were touching the lens! Have you been skiing bc much this year?

Towelie: I agree! Everything I've skied to far has been pretty wide open and not really steep. All of those peaks are appealing to me! This full-time j-o-b will be a shocker to my system!

Great pictures, again. But, I look really short in those photos!

Cheesehead: Have a great time if you go this weekend. I'd really like to ski Dead Dog sometime, but I need to get jump turns down before I head for a couloir!


Stevens Gulch conditions to TH
05/15/2008 12:52
Hey guys good work on the two descents. We are coming up from albuquerque, NM this weekend. Are are looking at a few ski descents. Grays/Torreys...depending on how far up the Stevens Gulch we can drive. I guessing not very far. What do you think about a day push here. What would the RT mileage be?

Other options..which you just did as well include Box chutes on elbert.

Princeton looks good after the recent 1‘ in the Sawatch.

If you had to guess which option would provide the best skiing?


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