graytorreystundra

Two Fourteeners in a day, if you want them.   Or just do one. It doesn’t look like they are going anywhere.   Grays Peak stands at 14,270’ and Torreys Peak at 14, 267’ and they are the two highest points along the Continental Divide.

DSC_4291

DSC_4301

Distance: 8.35 miles round trip (both peaks)
Elevation Start and End: 11,259′ – 14,270′ and 14,267′
Elevation Gain: Round trip +3,011′ net elevation gain (+3,366′ total roundtrip elevation gain)
Difficulty: Strenuous
Best time to climb: June to August
Dogs Allowed: Yes
No bikes, no horses.

How to Get There: From Denver, go west on I-70 to exit 221 Bakerville. Turn left over the interstate and take the dirt road about 3 ½ miles to the parking lot of the trailhead.   Please note that this dirt road is full of deep potholes and not recommended for a 2WD car without good clearance or when the road is wet.

Trail Description: The peaks stand over a deep valley framed by Kelso Mountain (13,164′) to the north, and Mount Edwards (13,850′) and McClellan Mountain’s (13,587) jagged ridge to the south.

The two summits are connected by a saddle stretching .8 miles between.  The trail here describes going up Grays first, crossing the saddle and then Torreys returning by a connector trail to form a lollipop loop.

If you survived the rocky and rumbling drive up to the trailhead, take a few deep breaths and begin your journey at the trailhead.   The path crosses Stevens Gulch Creek and climbs steadily on a wide, rocky trail.   The first 1.7 miles are pretty moderate.

Then at 12,245’, the trail starts to ascend up the north side of a ridge and then more vigorous climb up the tundra.   The path twists a few places into the valley center with rugged rocky areas.   Soon you will see the split for Grays and Torreys Peak. (2.8 miles, 13,273’).

Keep left towards the left peak (Grays) onto a steady, strenuous climb through uneven talus.   The trail is sort of defined, but it is very easy to get off track on these vague rock directions.   (There is also a split to the right but not well marked if you want to do Torreys)   Note that these off trail options generally link back to the main trail but can lead to some unnecessary challenging terrain.   Believe me, I got off track about 10 times.

When you come to a sharp bend, you are at the final approach at 3.45 miles, 14,000. After a trek of fortitude, endurance and strength, the trail grips and tightens in all the right places leveling out at 3.7 miles, 14,270.’ Awesome job!! You just bagged Grays!

When you are ready to move on, look for the sign for Torreys Peak to the north. The trail descends on a rugged path to the saddle trail connector at 4.05 miles, 13,805.’

Continue past this split to the saddle’s lowest point (4.1 miles : 13,757′) before sweeping uphill for Torreys. This trail is narrower and looser than Grays.   At 4.5 miles you will reach Torreys Peak at 14, 267.’     You are amazing!!

Retrace your steps back down the saddle, but be aware of rock slides and other hikers.

Once you reach the saddle trail connector again, the trail splits down from where you came into the valley on the east side of the Divide.   Be careful on this section.   Eventually the trail becomes clearer and returns back to the original split for Grays and Torreys at 5.5 miles.

Continue back down the main trail back to the trailhead for a round trip of 8.35 miles.   Well done!!!!

Comments: Try to climb during a weekday to avoid crowds.   This combo is popular for all climbers.

The trail is usually fine but with the slightest snowfall, the trail can become an ice rink.   The northeast face of these peaks do not get much sun.

There are many free camping spaces in the area.   Some folks like to camp at sites near the parking lot or uptrail.

Be prepared for anything.   Storms are common, especially in the afternoon, try to be off the summit by noon.

Clear Creek Ranger
US Forest Service
101 Chicago Creek Rd
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
303 567 3000

DSC_4347

DSC_4247

DSC_4337

DSC_4206

DSC_4142

DSC_3945

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...