Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday, 11/19/08 Grays and Torreys

Grays and Torreys
15 miles
5,060 vertical
Jeff and Allison Valliere, Steve Hoffmeyer and Sierra

I knew we were in for good weather this week and I was itching to get up high. Even though I have been up Grays and Torreys several times this year, I was eager to get up there again, as it is the perfect 14er standby close to home and I never tire of it. I know Stevo has Wednesdays off, so I sent him an invite and coincidentally, that is what he had on tap as well, PERFECT! Planning could not have been easier.

We met at the Safeway in Idaho Springs as has become the norm when meeting Steve and soon we were at the Bakerville exit. We had both heard that the road to the summer TH was still accessible and we were excited that we would not have to walk from I-70. Unfortunately, I failed to relay to Steve that I had heard that there was a very icy section after the first switchback and as such did not bring chains. We gave it an honest try, but with summer tires on his Jeep, it was never going to happen. It was steep enough and slick enough, that we were sliding backwards and any attempt to move forward only got us into more trouble. I jumped out and pushed and we were able to avoid any real mishap. Enough of that sillyness, so we went back down to the parking lot and called it good.

With chains or studded snow tires (along with AWD/4WD and clearance of course), this section could be negotiated as several vehicles proved. Once past this short stretch, the road has very little snow/ice beyond and made for easy walking. We made the summer TH in 1:10, going at a conversational pace and took a short break to add a layer and eat a bit.

Beyond that, the trail was in great shape with very little snow, and what snow existed on the trail, it was very well packed. Snowshoes were certainly not necessary, but if I were to go back any time soon, I would elect for some sort of traction on the shoes (crampons, microspikes or studded shoes), as the upper stretches of trail closer to the saddle were absolute bulletproof ice/snow and progress here was frustrating without traction.

Because of time constraints, Allison and Steve elected to head up Grays, while I wanted to add Torreys, so Sierra and I went ahead, summiting Torreys first, then met them on Grays afterwards. I was sucking wind a bit from not having been up high in so long, a heavy pack and I was also doing a bunch of slip sliding which was quite taxing. The fast mountain runs of summer wearing shorts and running shoes seemed like a world away.

We all arrived on Grays within 10 minutes of one another and lingered for a while, the weather was as perfect as any day, any time of year, hard to believe it is a week from Thanksgiving and we are basking in the warm sun at 14,270 feet! This was one of those days that if I were home, I would stare at the mountains and wish I were there knowing it is such a perfect day. I was so elated to actually take advantage of one of those days, absolutely outstanding. The walk back was a cruise and we were done by 3pm, for a 7:30 day. Great company, perfect weather and great conversation.



  1. Your dog is some sort of phenomenon. You need to meet my fat ass beagles.

  2. Phenomenom might be a stretch, but she really loves running up high mountains. She was really kicking my ass yesterday from 13k onward, as she has the advantage of 4wd, crampons and I think she is a does a little better with the altitude. Normally I am waiting on her....

  3. Any way to edit a comment?? I was not paying attention and messed up the previous one.