Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Date Posted:  07/09/2008
Date Climbed:   07/04/2008
Author:  JeffR
 A different perspective (Horseshoe Basin)  

I talked 2 of my friends into doing their first 14er on Independence Day. We decided on Grays, but via an alternate route so as to avoid the conga line.

I was worried about the condition of Peru Creek road, but it turned out to be zero problem all the way into Horseshoe Basin. We hit the trail at Shoe Basin Mine a little later than planned, but the afternoon forecast wasn't too worrisome.

Looking back down Peru Creek road:

Looking ahead into Horseshoe Basin:

The first mile is nice and gradual and passes some old mines and ruins. Here we got the first view of our goal.

Target sighted:

After another .5 mile, it's time to turn west and go cross-country.

Looking back down the basin at Argentine Peak.

Upon reaching Grays Lake, the steep snowfields on the SE ridge looked a little too scary for my friends (they didn't have snow gear). So we decided to angle up to the low point of the Edwards-Grays ridge and head west from there. This made for quite an annoying climb through rotten rock and scree.

Unnamed Lake and Grays Lake from just below the saddle:

Steven's Gulch from saddle:

Torreys from the saddle:

Grays from the saddle:

After a fun and easy ridge walk, the summit was gained. Very few people up there for a holiday, probably because it was relatively late. And when I summitted and yelled "Hey! There's no Starbucks up here!", everyone just seemed nonplussed. Oh well.

No longer virgins!

Since the weather was still looking great, we relaxed on the summit. We passed on Torreys since I had already done it via Kelso and my friends weren't sure about the extra 700' ascent (each way, since we were heading back over Grays to the southeast). Starting down the SE ridge, we kicked ourselves for not coming up that way as the crest was completely clear of snow.

A few hundred feet below the peak on the ridge:

The rest of the shoulder was a nice stroll on talus and tundra. My friends decided to prove their manliness by testing the water in semi-frozen Grays Lake. I respectfully (manlessly?) declined.

Turtle action, anyone?

The rest of the route back down the basin was straightforward. So, a good day was had by all.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice photos!
07/10/2008 15:20
I did Mt. Edwards from horseshoe basin a couple years ago. Really enjoyed the solitude and scenery- very relaxing and met a family of mt. goats on the summit when I topped out! They said they sometimes had trouble summiting grays with all the human traffic
fun place!


Horseshoe Basin Route
07/11/2008 04:27
My son and I did Grays from Horseshoe Basin on July 2. We went up the SE ridge, made it okay except it was fairly steep the last third of the hike. Coming down we got onto some of the rotten rock at the final snowfield before getting back on the main trail. Also had a close encounter with a couple of mountain goats on the way down which was very nice. A good hike overall, we were the only ones on the route the entire time.

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