Peak(s):  Grays Peak  -  14,270 feet
Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Date Posted:  07/18/2010
Modified:  07/19/2010
Date Climbed:   07/17/2010
Author:  BendGirl

 Grays, Torreys, and Billy Bob  

Background story: Last summer, my Dad planned a family vacation that included hiking Belford, Oxford, Missouri, and Huron on the first day, and then Yale. We had a blast and definitely want to keep coming back for more of these 14ers!

I was in Denver for a friend's wedding on Friday, and I happened to have Saturday morning free. What better way to enjoy the day than climb a few more of these 14ers? It would be a bummer not having Dad as a climbing partner, but I couldn't turn down a chance for the high country. I started doing my homework, and picked Gray's and Torrey's due to their proximity to Denver and their crowds (normally I enjoy solitude while hiking, but I was doing these two solo, and thought this would be safest). Crowded is an understatement - I would definitely recommend these if you have to hike solo!

I got to the trailhead at 5:40am (after getting my little rental car all the way up that road - yikes!). The trail was in great shape, and I was able to move pretty quickly. I was feeling pretty good for my 4 hours of sleep and breakfast of clif bar and red bull. That lasted until the usual 13,000 ft "wall." I started to slow down a bit, and just didn't feel great. Luckily, it was right about then that I found my new climbing partner - Billy Bob.

billy bob

I noticed a group of hikers in front of me had all stopped, cameras out. Billy Bob was just ambling down the trail. Then he headed my direction. He walked right up to me! I literally could have reached out and touched him! I froze, and didn't even move to take a pic at that point. He really had quite the set of horns, and I wasn't sure how he was going to use them! After about a minute of just staring at each other, Billy Bob hopped on the trail next to me, walked for a minute, and then layed down and watched all of the nutty people walking around his mountain.

After that little break, I was reinvigorated, and climbed quickly to the summit of Gray's (1 hr, 40 minutes to the summit). Although it's the tallest of the 14ers, it was actually quite accomodating . No false summit, no scrambling, just an awesome view awaiting you at the top. I stopped to chat a bit and write in the log book. Then it was off for the quick trip to Torrey's.


The saddle over to Torrey's is in great shape, and was quickly passable. It does get a bit steep though, which made it fun =) Once I summited Torrey's and realized that I would be able to catch my afternoon flight no problem, I decided to hang out and enjoy the view for awhile. It was absolutely gorgeous! It was really enjoyable to talk to other climbers, and hear everyone's stories. One of the guys on the summit has already done 50 of the 14ers, so he was able to point out many of the peaks on the horizon. I was really impressed by Chip, who lives at sea level, didn't start climbing until he was 50 yrs old, and has now summited fifteen 14ers. And there were guys from England and Holland at the summit. Certainly the most amazing encounter of the day was with the double-amputee who was using Gray's and Torrey's as a training climb for Kilimanjaro. There really are not words to describe that amount of strength, determination and perseverance. Wow.

So, after almost an hour of enjoying the summit, I started the descent. I could not believe how crowded the trail had become! Unbelievable! I ran almost the whole way down, and saw a few other trail runners out there. By then the sun had risen enough for me to appreciate all of the gorgeous wildflowers along the trail. It was beautiful!

I got back to the car without incident, and my last challenge was to get the little rental car back down that ridiculous road. There was a very helpful gentleman who followed me to make sure I could drive across the creek (felt like a river to me!) and get back down safely. If he happens to be reading this - thank you!

All in all, great trip! I just wish my Dad was there to enjoy it with me. Although he would have never been content with just two summits for the day... I'm sure he would have figured out how to fit in a few more! I was actually on my blackberry trying to figure out if I could fit Mt. Evans in before my flight =)
Looking forward to next summer and more 14ers!


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

re: helpful gentleman
07/20/2010 16:57
Hi Gene,
Wow, that is quite the mountaineering resume you have. I wish I had spent less time running and stayed to hear some of your stories! When did you get started on the big mountains? I am definitely looking forward to your future trip reports, especially the Big E!
Thank you again for your help. It was really nice to briefly meet you and I hope to run into you again in the future.


Helpful gentleman
07/20/2010 12:44
The helpful gentleman (Gene) who ran down behind you, helped you and asked what you were training for is a 2-time Everest summitter and has completed the 7 Summits, several more than once. He is 65 years old and going back to the Big E (North side) next year. Happy trails!


advice on the access road to trailhead?
07/19/2010 22:10
Thanks for your report. I've lived in Denver for the past 2 years and have done 12 14ers but I have yet to do Gray's and Torrey's...the two closest! So I was planning on doing Gray's and Torrey's sometime this week by myself with my dog and it makes me feel secure with you mentioning all of the people who are around that could possibly offer assistance if needed.

My question is, do you recommend driving up to that higher summer trailhead at 11,280 with a little passenger car? It sounds like you did it but would you do it again? I drive a toyota corolla and that is the only thing really holding me back from going up there on my own. Otherwise, I have to wait until one of my friends are available to drive me up in their 4-wheel drive vehicles (which would be nice because it would give me company!) However, I'm going away for a week and I'm just aching to go for a climb!



access road
07/19/2010 22:58
Hi there!

Wow - 12 already done? I'm jealous! Which one is your favorite so far?

As far as the drive goes, I think one of the other trip reports put it best: ”you can get a 2-wheel drive up there, but it's not my idea of fun!”

My rental was a Ford Focus, and it did just fine and wasn't any worse for the wear. It was, however, stressful for me. If you go slow, you should be fine. And get there early to avoid crossing the ”river”!

The mountains definitely felt safe and there were always plenty of people around. I hadn't done a big hike alone before, but it was actually really fun to talk to everyone else on the trail and make new friends. And it was beautiful up there! If you go, I hope you have a great time! Looking forward to your trip report!

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