s Grays Peak | Torreys Peak

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The view east from Torreys Peak

Grays Group
Front Range, Colorado
September 2, 2006

Distance: 17.5 km (10.9 mi)
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1782 m (5846 ft

Grays Peak: 4350 m (14,270 ft)
Torreys Peak 4349 m (14,267 ft)
Grizzly Peak: 4093 m (13,427 ft)
Cupid: 3998 m (13,117 ft)
East Loveland Pass Peak 3936 m (12,915 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 the easiest route, Dinah and I chose the longest of the fourteen routes to reach Grays Group. We prefer to hike in solitude. We ascended the scenic west ridge and except for a solitary hiker, we saw no one until we reached Torreys Peak.

The route starts at Loveland Pass and follows the Great Divide. It's largely a ridgewalk, some of it off-trail. Along with Grays and Torreys Peaks, the route embraces two thirteeners, Cupid and Grizzly, as well as East Loveland Pass Peak and a minor point. 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 total elevation gain, including losses over 50 ft., is 1900 m (6,230 ft). And that's just one way. We returned the same way.

Dinah and I had the ridgeline 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.

KML and GPX Tracks

We started hiking just after sunrise

Frosted plants attest to the chilly morning

Looking back at East Loveland Pass Peak

Heading to Cupid

We can see all the way back to the road where we parked on the pass

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

Coming down Grizzly, we can see the trail climbing up Torreys

Looking back at Grizzly

On our way up Torreys, Grizzly on the right

Above us is steep talus

The terrain levels out and we headed 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

Several trails wind up Grays Peak

Heading to the Torreys-Grays col, we'll exchange greetings with several people along the way

Hiking up Grays with Torreys in the background

On the summit of Grays Peak, Torreys on the right

With people crowding the summits, a 360° panorama wasn't possible. This is the view north and east from Grays.

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

Looking back at Torreys and Grays as we ascend Grizzly

Following the ridge back up Grizzly Peak

Fatigue sets in as we reached Grizzly Peak for the second time

Unnamed tarn below Grizzly Peak

Torreys, Grays and Grizzly Peaks on the return trip

Making our last ascent on our way back to Loveland Pass

On the final stretch back to the trailhead

Loveland Pass, Grays Peak (10.9 mi, 14,272 ft, 2,280 ft)

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