Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Date Posted:  06/08/2009
Modified:  06/09/2009
Date Climbed:   06/07/2009
Author:  dcbates80911

 Laughing it up on the Rat  

Team: dcbates80911 – Dave "Where is my water bottle?" Bates
Eatinhardtack – Zach "What is that smell?" Bauer
msc118 – Mindy "I left it in my car" Christensen
Trianything – Rachel "Breaking Trail" DeHerrera
Purplepaddler – Lauren "There is a hole in my pants" Myers

Absent Partner: COMedic04 – Ryan "I dropped my helmet" Johnson
Distance ~ 7.5 miles
Route: Lost Rat

We enjoy each other's company…simple as that. About a month ago, Zach placed the invite to join him on the Lost Rat Couloir. Most of us said yes.

Getting an early start was key so we planned to camp. Zach was on a three-peak weekend and would meet us up there. I picked up Rachel Saturday afternoon, while Lauren showed up around midnight and Mindy first thing in the morning. Ryan had to work and could not join, but wasn't far from our thoughts as we continued to talk about his Horseshoe Mountain misfortune ().

Grays with Lost Rat to the left
Photo by Rachel

Setting Sun lights up Steven's Gulch
Photo by Rachel

Zach and Dave around the campfire
Photo by Rachel

This was the first couloir climb for most of us. The weather forecast wasn't great but acceptable. In reality, the weather was awesome. At 4:30am, we prepared for the day's activities while waiting on Mindy. Mindy arrived a few minutes later thanks to some nice people who gave her a ride. Unfortunately, she left some things back at the car. No worries, we had her covered.

Ladies heading up the trail


Around 5:30 we were off, a little later then planned, but not too bad. Along the way, we talked to a few people and then made a break from the main trail. The hike to the couloir's base took some time as we navigated willows, snowfields, and rocks. At the base, we geared up and began the ascent right at 7:30. The snow wasn't too bad, but the telltale signs of previous slides were not lost on us.

Lost Rat – Our objective
Image by Rachel

Image by Rachel

Trying to find a path through the willows
Image by Rachel

Zach getting closer
Image by Rachel

Mindy navigates the rocks
Image by Rachel

Gearing up for the climb

Rachel is Ready

Zach lead the first 1/4th of the climb. Along the way, we picked up a second Zak (now six in the party) who took over for a little while. Lauren took her turn to finish off the second quarter then it was up to Rachel. She broke trail the rest of the way, making it a lot easier on the rest of us. We did experience a couple rocks falls, a section where minor post holing took a toll, and then some foul smell enveloped those of us bringing up the rear (Zach?). Overall, the climb was a lot of fun and the views were awesome.

Zach leads the way
Photo by Rachel

Formations around the couloir

Photo with all five of us – look in Rachel's glasses
Image by Zach

Mount Edwards - 13,850

Dave and Lauren
Image by Zach

Mindy and Zach above, Dave and Lauren below
Photo by Rachel

Kelso Mountain - 13,164

Between ~ 9:00 and 9:10, our party exited the couloir and headed up the last 600ft to the summit. Along the East-ridge we encountered not strong, but a very cold wind. This added to the motivation to summit quickly.

Mindy, Zach, and the new Zak approach the top
Photo by Rachel

Photo by Rachel

Photo by Rachel

Photo by Rachel

Photo by Zach

Zach and Rachel with Torreys in the background
Photo by Rachel

Top of the couloir

Still roughly 600ft until the summit

Upon reaching the summit, the wind died providing a pleasant break. We ate, talked, took pictures, then descended about 600-700 feet down Grays' front to find our glissading lines.

Resting on the Summit
Photo by Zach

Photo by Rachel

L – R: Mindy, Rachel, Zach, Lauren, and Dave
Photo by Rachel

Photo by Rachel

Zach and Mindy head down
Photo by Rachel

Dave heading down the mountain

Rachel contemplates her glissade - those dots down there are people
Photo by Rachel

This is where fatigue turned to hilarity. Zach tried a "used" path, which had him bouncing around like he was on a trampoline. Not too long into the glissade he said something (we won't repeat) and decided to make his own track. Lauren had done a couple smaller glissades to this point where she discovered a small problem with her pants, a hole that channeled snow into her legs.

Zach's second attempt

Lauren explains her little problem

We all dropped into the bowl under Torreys at our own pace. At the end of my last glissade, we heard a strange sound. Zach new it was plastic sliding across crusty snow (thanks to Ryan). My water bottle had come loose and taken off, just like the Energizer bunny. It kept going, and going, and going. When the last of our group made it to the bottom, we turned to water bottle recovery thinking of COmedic04 and his helmet. Just under ˝ mile later and a few 100 feet elevation drop, we recovered my bottle.

The Nalgene Search Team

We made the relatively short trip back to the cars, where we packed up and experienced a new aroma from Zach's three-day-old hiking socks...yuck. All of us (except Mindy) met in Idaho Springs for a late lunch and then headed on our way.

Lost Rat was a first for many, taking us into a new dimension of climbing. For something planned over a month ago, the day couldn't have been more perfect. Our fortunate group spent a beautiful day experiencing a safe climb, together.


 Comments or Questions

Very nice
06/09/2009 11:42
report and photos! Looks like a great day and a nice couloir climb for all of you!


06/09/2009 11:56
Dave...congrat‘s on your first snow climb! As well as to the others on your team for their first snow climb.
Good snow can make a world of difference, and definitely opens the door to alternative ways to summit!
Nice pic‘s and story to boot!


06/09/2009 13:55
Sorry I missed this Dave! It looks like you guys had a fantastic day. Next time... and maybe after Zach burns those socks.


06/09/2009 14:39
Well done on some of your first snow climbs! I‘m sure you‘ll find that it sure beats talus and scree, and lots more aesthetic to boot! Nice report


06/09/2009 21:24
Great Trip report! Thanks again for letting me use your steps. Zach maybe I‘ll see you on Rainier. I‘ll be climbing June 27th-July 1st or 2nd Via Paradise, Camp Muir and Ingram Flats.



Good times.. Good times
06/10/2009 00:18
Great Trip report Dave.. Thanks for writing it up... Until next time everyone! ~Tri


Fruit Slices!!!
06/10/2009 03:06
I met you guys on top. I had those fruit slices (Indulgence on top
It was a great day up there, complete with fun Glissades !
Good job guys.


Good report
06/10/2009 05:08
Congrats on your first snow climbs. Looks like a blast. I‘m exicited to attempt my first snow climb - just not sure it‘ll be this year or next. Lost Rat is on my list. It looks like a very reasonable first-timer route. But first I have to make some time to develop some self-arrest skills at the the glacier. It‘s tough to make the time with all these mountains to hike.


06/10/2009 12:21
for all the comments. It was a fun day and good to do something after a 5 month lull. Also, thanks to Rachel for some great pictures. She takes quite a few and they are all beautiful. Makes it very hard to choose when doing a TR. And now on to the next task.


The best climbing buddies a guy could ask for!!
06/12/2009 07:06
I get included in a TR without having gone! (Could ya just photoshop me in next time?? ) Congrats everyone on a great climb! I‘m sorry I wasn‘t able to make it, but am looking forward to climbing with you all later this summer! Perhaps we could plan a group trip out to the San Juans for August?


04/01/2013 18:59
Nice trip report and pics. Looking to do lost rat this spring

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