Grays Peak (14,270′) – Torreys Peak (14,267′)
- Class 2
- Exposure 1
- 3,600 ft elevation gain
- 8.4 miles
- Front Range
- Closest town: Silver Plume/Georgetown/Idaho Springs
- Grays Peak TH – Stevens Gulch Route
- Grays East Slope, saddle, Torreys South slope
After Bierstadt and Evans the day before, I spent the afternoon/evening recovering with lots of cold water and a beer or two in Georgetown. In hopes that a big, hearty meal would store energy for the next day, I ate a proper supper in Georgetown before heading to the Grays Peak trailhead to camp for the night. The next morning I allowed myself some extra sleep after being woken by a sunrise seeking group heading up at 3:30 AM. I hit the trail at 5:50 AM, quickly passed a couple small groups of people along the way. The start out felt quite brutal. My body wanted to lie down and sleep longer. I could tell I was dehydrated with fingers slightly swollen and cheeks still feeling the burn of wind from the previous day. I snarfed down some snacks with extra amounts of water and continued forward for a 7:50 AM summit of Grays Peak. Despite the “early” hours, the warm sun was already shining brightly with just the right amount of wind to dry the sweat beading on my forehead. I had the peak all to myself and was highly encouraged that I made it up faster than the other groups despite my unsteady strength. With renewed vigor I quickly headed down the saddle over to Torreys Peak and reached the top at 8:40 AM. At the top I met three other hikers and their two dogs. I sat and chatted with them a bit to discover one guy and his dog will be on the Colorado Trail a week or two before me. I am to look out for Sticks and Paws in the registries. I am completely enthralled when someone readily offers advice and encouragement for my upcoming jaunt along the CT. Conversation was great, but I was ready to head down and be on my way. I bid farewell to the group and set out for a strong finish back to the trailhead at 9:30 AM. On my way back I was surprised by how many people were on their way up. I am pleased with my decisions to make earlier than later ascents. I left the trailhead with maybe four vehicles in the parking lot yet returned to one so full the cars had spilled out along the access road. I enjoyed meeting the small groups in the morning, but sharing the summit with a dozen people is not nearly as appealing. I will make not to continue early mornings with a goal to hit a few peaks for sunrise shots.
Eight 14ers completed. I feel pretty accomplished in my physical training. The back to back hiking days were a brilliant idea to fast track my preparation for conceptualizing what twenty-odd days of hiking in a row will feel like. I want a concise and ultralight pack, lots of thoughtfully prepared food, a brisk pace, and lots of beautiful scenery. I feel very confidant that over the next weeks I will easily be able to guarantee all of those desires.