Photo
Grays Peak
snow Lost Rat Couloir
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Difficulty:
 Class 3 
Snow Steepness: Steep  
Ski/Board: Advanced, D12 / R3 / II  
Risk Factors:Exposure: Considerable
Rockfall Potential: Considerable  
Route-Finding: Moderate  
Commitment: Considerable  
 
Trailhead:Grays Peak
Start:11,280 feet
Summit:14,270 feet
Total Gain:3,000 feet
RT Length:6.50 miles
Duration:User Climb Times
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:7/2019
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:357 reports
Cell Signal:30 reports
Sheriff:Clear Creek: 303-679-2376
Forest:Arapaho
Quad. Maps:Log In to View
Camping:On Google Maps
Eats:On Google Maps
Downloads:Log In to Download
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? In the winter months, the southeast side of Kelso Mountain is prone to avalanche activity which may run over the summer Grays Peak trail. Unless you're confident that the snow in this area is stable, it's best to leave the trail near 11,600' and take a more direct line up through Stevens Gulch before re-joining the described route, near 12,000'.

Trailhead

Take I-70 to the Bakerville exit (#221). Leave the highway and drive south over to the dirt parking area near the start of Forest Road 189. This is the winter trailhead and even if the upper road is open, low-clearance passenger cars should park here. It's almost 3 miles to the summer trailhead. Continue up the Grays Peak (189) road. After 1 mile, stay straight at a junction. Continue another 2 miles to the trailhead, at 11,280'. There are restrooms and a few dispersed camping spots near the parking area.

Route

From the summer trailhead, cross the bridge that spans the stream in Stevens Gulch and follow the well-defined Grays trail up the hill into Stevens Gulch. 1 is the view of Grays from near 11,700'. Continue on the Grays trail for nearly 1.5 miles until you are near the trail sign near 12,100'. Just before the sign, locate a small road that leaves the left side of the Grays trail - 2. Follow the small road down a bit and then south towards the center of the basin. 3 is another close-up view of Lost Rat. After heading south for a bit, continue on the road as you approach the southwest end of the basin - 4. Stay on or near the road as it climbs onto the talus below Lost Rat - 5 and 6. Hike over to the base of the couloir - 7. Crampons, axe, helmet, and avalanche gear are recommended.

Start climbing. Above 12,800', the terrain steepens as you approach the confines of the couloir - 8, 9 and 10. Above 13,100', reach a fork in the couloir - 11. Stay left and continue up the main couloir. The next 300 feet is straightforward and the slope angle reaches 45 degrees - 12, 13, and 14. Near 13,500', the couloir turns slightly left as you pass through the narrowest section - 15. Climb the last 100 feet to reach the top of Lost Rat - 16 and 17. Turn right (west) to see the remaining 700 feet up Grays' east ridge - 18. Follow the ridge to the summit - 19 and 20.

Skiing?

Descending the ridge: 21
At the top of Lost Rat: 22
Descending: 23, 24
Near 13,300': 25
A look back after exiting the couloir: 26
If you are lucky, you may have continuous snow on the stream that leads out of the gulch: 27
Looking back: 28

Notes

The slope angle in Lost Rat reaches 45 degrees but much of it is close to 40 degrees. While it isn't as long as the Dead Dog Couloir on Torreys, the steepness is similar.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24 #25 #26 #27 #28
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