10 Jul Grays and Torreys Peak 14’er Climb
On July 10th I tackled two 14’ers at the same time. Grays and Torreys peak can be easily picked out from the Frisco area where I was staying. From Frisco, look east toward Keystone and pick out a rounded peak on the right with a pointed peak just to the left.
It is a fairly easy hike down the saddle of Grays Peak and back up Torreys Peak as long as you have the energy and stamina to reach the top of Grays Peak.
Getting there is a little tricky. I took the 2nd exit past the Loveland exit after passing through the Eisenhower tunnel. Right off the exit is a paved parking lot with a very rough 3 mile road leading south toward the start of the trail. Mostly trucks and SUV’s tackle this road. The road starts off right from the paved lot with some scary ruts that may make many passenger car drivers decide not to take on this road right away. After that first bad spot the road gets a little better meaning you only have to bump over large rounded rocks poking out of the roadbed. With 1.4 miles to go you reach a sign that says Private Land. Just past that spot the road ascends and reaches very large ruts. This is where I backed up in the dark about 200 yard where I could turn around and find a parking spot. I walked and hitchhiked from that point. It turned out that the road got much better after that difficult spot with large ruts. I should have pushed on. I only saw one passenger car parked at the trailhead. There were about 30 trucks and better equipped vehicles parked at the trailhead parking lot.
Here are the photos.
Trail map shown on sign at trailhead
I was warm enough until I summited Grays Peak at 14,270 feet. The wind was blowing and I was freezing at 7:52 AM. It took me 1 hour 52 minutes to hike from the trailhead to the summit of Grays Peak.
Here I am on Grays Peak with Torreys Peak in the background. I climb down Grays and up Torreys in the direction shown behind me.
Now on top of Torreys Peak (14,267 feet) with Grays Peak in background. It was warm on Torreys Peak and I soon took off the jacket to enjoy the warm sun.
This is one of the guys that gave me a ride the final mile and a half to the trailhead. He had just gotten out of the army and might have been a little crazy. The first thing he wanted to do on Torreys Peak was to make a snow angel on an overhanging snow cornice. As he jumped on the cornice he said that it wouldn’t be a good time for it to break off and plunge down the side of the mountain.
Army guy again. He is standing on other side of Torreys Peak where a climber soon appeared. This climber came up the hard way, over a sawtooth formation that was a Class 4 climb. Nice guy. He helped me identify 8 other 14’ers from this spot. Grays Peak, Mt Elbert, Mt Massive, Mt Evans, Mt Bierstadt, Longs Peak, Quandry Peak, and Mt Holy Cross. This guy had climbed many of the 14’ers and skied from the top of several including Torreys and Mt of the Holy Cross. He climbed Holy Cross straight up the avalanche chute.
Nice chunk of ice just off the top of Torreys Peak.
View of Torreys descent trail crossing snow field on a steep slope. I was nervous crossing this, but many had gone ahead of me and it wasn’t that bad. I still wouldn’t have wanted to fall and slide down this steep slope. The path was only about 18 inches wide. Not good for people passing. Strategy for me was to kick in uphill and off trail should someone attempt to pass. Luckily, I had no passers.
View of way across snow field from below.
View of Grays peak trail in valley below. It was a long walk just to get to the real climbing.
View of Torreys Peak and snow fields. Some people were glissading down. I didn’t see it, but I heard the screams. I also saw many glissade tracks including some from pretty high up the ridge. (Maybe they were tracks of rocks that rolled down the hill. Well maybe some were.)
Here is a tiny house not very far below the trailhead parking. I’ll guarantee that if someone lives here during the winter that they would have to ski out to the grocery store.