Peak(s):  Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Grizzly Pk D  -  13,427 feet
"Cupid"  -  13,117 feet
Date Posted:  08/27/2010
Date Climbed:   08/26/2010
Author:  weissea
 Torreys from Loveland Pass  

Date: 08/26/2010
Trailhead: Loveland Pass
Destination: Torreys Peak
Start: 04:45am
End: 01:20pm
Duration: 08:35 hrs (with 01:10 hrs at summit)
Crew: Solo
Elevation Gain: 5,500 ft.
Round Trip Dist.: 10 mi.

Caveat 1: Distance and elevation numbers are from Aubrey's Route Description, as I have no working GPS or maps at the time.
Caveat 2: My camera died on the way down from Pt. 12,936 so I had to switch to the iPhone's camera. The pictures were too dark anyway at that time of morning. So the pictures I have included are not chronologically accurate with the story because most were taken on the way back, but at least you can see them.

I awoke easily at 03:50am at my friend's house in Dillon, ate a sandwich and downed a Sugar Free Red Bull on the way up to Loveland Pass, geared up, stretched, and started hiking at 04:45am.
The trail head and path up to Pt. 12,915

The hike from the TH up to Pt. 12,915 was uneventful other than the time I made. 5 days earlier I took a friend up to try Snitkau but the wind was too strong for her to enjoy it so we just chilled behind one of the rock walls on top of Pt. 12,915. It took us an hour to go from the TH to the point. This day, however it took less than 30 min. Amazing what a break from cigs and booze and a lap on DeCaLiBron will do for the body. There is a shortcut, marked by this cairn, to bypass Pt. 12,914 that puts you on the saddle below Cupid if you want to cut down, albeit slightly, on the day's vert.
Cairn marking the bypass of Pt. 12,915

Saddle between Pt 12,915 and Cupid on which the shortcut spits you out

The moon lit the way up and over Cupid. I chose to follow the main trail and bypass Cupid's summit and hit it on the way back, but truthfully it isn't much higher than the main trail. The trail down Cupid's South ridge gets loose and poorly defined but very manageable. A short climb after the saddle brings you to the rocky top of Pt. 12,936 that has about 3 small bumps across the top of it's ridge and a well defined trail.
Looking back at Loveland Pass, Cupid and Pt. 12,936 from Grizzly, Cupid has the most sun on it

From here Grizzly Pk. looks and is pretty steep, but you can see a good trail. The dirt trail turns into rock pretty quickly and soon you reach a mid-climb level spot. As I was snapping pictures from this spot I saw what I thought to be a Golden Eagle. It was very close, very big, very brown, and didn't fly like a crow/raven but I only saw a glimpse of it and then it disappeared behind some rocks. Could it have been?
The climb up Grizzly

Once atop Grizzly you see Torrey's before you and the more-significant-than-you-would-expect dip in between the two peaks. It's approx. 800 ft. down to the Grizzly-Torreys saddle and then 1,600 ft. up to Torreys summit. I attempted to follow the highest point of Grizzly's East ridge down to the saddle but opted to just go South down the talus field when confronted with a significant drop-down (not a good choice). I recommend staying on the ridge and if you need to go around the drop-downs climb back up once you have bypassed them. The talus field is quite loose and I sent some rocks tumbling down to the basin below; luckily that is not a very popular spot for people to hang out. On the way back I stuck strictly to the ridge.
The big dip between Grizzly and Torreys

A view of both the South slope talus field (bad) and the East ridge (good) of Grizzly

The drop downs on Grizzly's East ridge

The Grizzly-Torreys saddle was magnificent and it felt very nice the run across it. Also, it offers a good view of the "gully" that holds the trail up Torreys West ridge.
Grizzly-Torreys saddle

The path up Torreys West ridge, see the "gully" start at the top of the grass and head up to looker's left

I climbed up Torreys in the shadow of it's peak and met a guy running the standard route at he top. It was 09:00am. I spent an hour on the summit watching people on the standard route, napping, and eating lunch. Hopefully the time I took to recon Dead Dog will pay off this winter. Summit views that I could I.D. included the highway to Central City, Mt. Evan's, The Sawtooth, Mt. Bierstadt, Pikes Pk., DeCaLiBron, Quandary Peak, The Sawatch Range, Breck and the 10 Mile Range, the Elk Range, Mount of the Holy Cross, Buffalo Pk., The Gore Range, the Berthoud Pass weather station, Indian Peaks Wilderness (specifically Apache Pk. and Navajo Pk.), Longs Pk., and Mt. Meeker. However I didn't even try to capture those distant landmarks with my iPhone camera so I got these:
Looking South across Torreys summit to Grays

Mt. Kelso

Steven's Gulch

Dead Dog Couloir

Grizzly, Pt. 12,936, and Cupid, the entrance to Shit-for-Brains Couloir is on the jagged ridge dropping off looker's left of Grizzly

Pt. 12,936, Cupid, Pt 12,915, Pt. 12, ???, Snitkau

There were about 40-50 people coming up from Steven's Gulch and I took off as soon as the first group got up to Torreys at 10:10am. Though I was feeling great and the weather was perfect, I chose not to hit Grays because I already hit it from Lost Rat and skied the standard route down in May. On the way down Torreys the loose dirt and gravel put me on my butt quite a few times and I had to clean my boots out a few times, too. Again, I ran the saddles and flat ridges tops for fun and to get loose. The first people I saw on this route were on my return trip and summit of Cupid. They took my picture.
Me with Torreys behind

From Pt. 12,915 I started off towards Snitkau, still feeling great, but in a few steps I hit the bottom of my last Nalgene and decided to just call it a day and arrived at the truck at 01:20pm. The weather was the best I have had above 14,000 ft. It pays to start early and hiking under a near full moon is surreal. The wind was blowing, however, and I kept my windbreaker on the whole day. I went through 3 liters of water, and wanted more. The hike was not very challenging, but still very, very enjoyable and the solitude was worth it. Dead Dog and Tuning Fork this winter/spring! Here are some sunrise pics:

Sun coming up between Mt. Kelso and Torreys Pk.

Torreys and Grays in front of the sun

East slopes of Cupid in the sun

The moon still high in the sky to the west

Looking to the West, DeCaLiBron and Quandary are visible dead center

Ptarmagin(?) on East slopes of Grizzly

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Exiled Michigander

You've inspired me--I gotta try this route!
08/28/2010 02:32
This looks like a great hike--thanks for the nice report and photos. Kelso Ridge was #1 on my list for my next Torreys summit, but now you've got me thinking that I should do this one next instead. Your photos turned out damned good for just having an iPhone. Good work!

Oh, and I'm not a bird expert, but I'll second your opinion that your last photo is of a ptarmigan.


08/28/2010 04:05
I made the same attempt in July but as a first-timer I greatly underestimated the west ridge of Torreys with all the scree. Grizzly also took alot out of me as a rookie, and I took the same south ridge descent that you did that I would recommend never to do again. I made it almost to the top of Torreys but had to turn back due to lightning and thunder in the area and descended via Chihuaua Gulch. I'd love to try again someday, you've motivated me!


08/28/2010 16:12
blue grouse


08/28/2010 17:11
ya, Ptarmagins are white, huh? ...i'm an idiot.


Good TR
10/17/2013 01:07
I'm doing this and more Saturday, should help.

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