Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Date Posted:  05/26/2008
Date Climbed:   05/25/2008
Author:  Joonya
 Grays fr Stvn‘s Glch Ski   

Hello and thanks for reading my 2nd trip report. I didn't begin photos till the summit. Oops - should've shot more...

I left Leadville alone and early enough to begin my hike at 4:30AM from around 1.5 miles up the road to Steven's Gulch summer trailhead. I didn't take exact measurements , but it was only a short walk to the "private land next 1.4 miles" sign. With just a little more melt driving much further up the road will be possible. As it was several people had driven further after I hiked through. Some vehicles were left from the previously snowpacked road.
If you have a vehicle stuck up there - you can probably go get it now.
I crossed the bridge at the summer TH just about an hour later. Having boot-packed in because the snow patches are intermittent on the road. There was a point I could've donned the skins but am glad I didn't bother. Just over the bridge though the skins and skis were worn and it was easy mellow skiing up to about what I like to call the "Gateway". It's where the trail wraps around right between Kelso ridge and the lowest flank of Grays(I think) at the entrance to the valley between Torreys and Grays. Anyway , the rock patches are growing and it was necessary to portage the skis through a few areas. I made note and tried to get an idea of how to connect the patches on the ski out. A pair was entering the "Dead Dog" on Torreys. It had some roller balls in it from the previous day , but looked good. I was decided on the bowl down from Grays. It was fresh and looked good.
Coming through the entry the trail gained the ridge and began up along it. I decided to side-hill on the skis and wrap around the flank and regain the trail at a small shelfy area. I kept skis on quite a way into the bowl and towards the summer trail sign , gently wrapping back towards the trail up and to the left. Finally I regained the boot-pack trail and carried the skis from there to the summit. The boot pack went straight up the left side of the ridge. As I remember the summer trail traversed right and then finished with the summit ridge. Well this more direct line was slightly steeper , but saves on steps. The final push was tough on me - I was having a leg cramp. On the way up I met a guy named Shane - carrying a heavy pack ; burly stuff and a group of 3 climbers wearing crampons and carrying axes. There was no false summit here and I gladly reeled in the top. I arrived just before 10:AM and the wind was calm. Not dead calm , but calm for high in the rockies. I was able to get a couple phone calls in and have a snack and change to descend mode.
Some summit views:

Ok , hope that worked. Dropping in off the summit was as easy as clicking into my bindings and pushing off towards the saddle between Torreys and Grays ; picking my way between a few rocky spots and dropping just under a small wind ridge and to the right. My plan was to ski the snowfield before reaching the saddle and to trend right under the rock patches to ski a nice looking face. And the plan went accordingly. The snow was creamy-nice. i would almost say powder!! It was dry and soft and had nice base under it. All felt great - stable and good. Where it flattened towards the bottom there was a little more moisture and the wind had firmed up the top. I wouldn't even call it a skin and I think in 20 minutes the sun would have done away with it anyway. It was a good ski and I got to it first for the day. I could see a busy day on Grays working their way up as I began my descent. I continued to see people outside getting after it all along the way down from the valley entrance.
After skiing the bowl it was playing connect the patches. I had remembered to trend right just after the entrance and then go left to gain the high side of the trail for the remainder out. It still required me to make a few goofy moves and portage in a couple areas. But overall it was a gravity fed hike out. I skied out the road after the bridge for as long as possible. Finally arriving at the truck just under 7 hours later.
A good day up high. And a good day on skis.


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

so you were...
05/27/2008 01:11
the one who laid down that line right down the middle on Sunday . Nice report. It was a beautiful weekend to be out.

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