Grays Peak: 4350 m (14,270 ft)
The Grays Group – Grays and Torreys Peaks – attracts hordes of hikers since it's close to Denver and readily accessed by a popular hiking trail. But instead of taking taking the easiest route, Dinah and I took the longest of the fourteen routes to reach the Grays Group. We ascended the scenic west ridge mostly in solitude.
The route starts at Loveland Pass and follows the Great Divide. It's largely a ridge walk, some of it off-trail. Along with Grays and Torreys Peaks, the route embraces two thirteeners, Cupid and Grizzly, as well as two minor points. We would, of course, lose elevation between peaks, but the greatest loss, 260 m, was at the Grizzly-Torreys col. According to Colorado's Fourteeners, the elevation gain, including losses over 50 ft., is 1900 m.
Dinah and I had the route to ourselves until we were partway up Torreys Peak where we ran into Mark who was descending from Torreys. Originally from Chicago, he moved to Colorado five months ago. Like us, he started from Loveland Pass, but unlike us he climbed only Torreys Peak.
After chatting with Mark we continued to the summit of Torreys. As I expected, there was a parade of people streaming between Torreys and Grays Peaks. The peaks are only a kilometre apart with a 170 m drop between them. We joined the crowd on Torreys' summit and not surprisingly, someone struck up a conversation with us. We didn't linger though and soon headed to Grays Peak.
It took us about half an hour to reach Grays summit. After snapping some photos we made our way back to Torreys. At least we didn't have to climb all the way back up.
We continued down Torreys to the col and then began the grind back up Grizzly Peak. After Grizzly Peak, we still had a lot of ups and downs ahead, but we were glad to have good weather; we didn't have to worry about a thunderstorm coming in.
Torreys and Grays Peaks were the last fourteeners we did on our trip to Colorado. If Dinah and I were to return we'd try fourteeners in other ranges.
We started hiking just after sunrise
Frosted plants attest to the chilly morning
Looking back at our first peak, Cupid
Ahead is a minor point and Grizzly Peak
Ascending the minor point, Grizzly Peak is on the left
Descending the minor point
Torreys and Grays Peaks seen from Grizzly Peak
Above us is steep talus
The terrain levels out and we head for Torreys summit on the left
Below the summit, I stopped to look at Bergen Peak and Mount Evans in the distance.
On the right is Grays Peak.
A splash of colour just below the summit of Torreys
On the summit of Torreys, we see a cloud layer that appears to extend to Denver
Heading to the Torreys-Grays col, we'll exchange greetings with several people along the way
On the summit of Grays Peak, Torreys on the right
The colorful SW ridge of Grays Peak. Quandary Peak is in the centre of the
skyline (mouse over for a close-up)
Returning to the Torreys-Grizzly col, Torreys behind us
Following the ridge back up Grizzly Peak
Fatigue sets in as we reached Grizzly Peak for the second time
Unnamed tarn below Grizzly Peak
Making our last ascent on our way back to Loveland Pass
On the final stretch back to the trailhead
Loveland Pass and Grays Peak 1:24,000 Topos (10.9 mi, 14,271 ft, 2,280 ft)