Category Archives: 14ers

Grays/Torreys Peak (via Kelso Ridge)

Last weekend, considering that the snow appears to be late this year, I decided to go “bag” two 14ers (and as of today,  I have 51 to choose from !) as I am sure the snow will arrive soon and it will be too late to go up as high as 14,000 ft. It’s not that those peaks can’t be climbed with snow but more that our van can’t reach the snowy trailheads.

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Grays & Torreys Peak via the Kelso Ridge (GPS Track available here : 7.5 miles, +- 3,580 ft elevation gain/loss)

I chose Grays & Torreys Peak. I started running without being completely decided on if I would take the normal route or the alternative “Kelso Ridge” (while it sounded more fun, I was not sure about the snow/ice cover of the ridge). Arriving at the fork, it seemed that the ridge had snow on it but when I saw other hikers near the Knife-edge traverse, I decided to go for it!
Considered a class 3 scramble, I didn’t encounter any real difficulties until I reached the Knife-edge, 200m from the summit. There, the knife edge seemed too icy as well as its north face (I tried!)
Earlier, I had passed two hikers that caught up to me as I was trying to find a way to the summit. We discussed the different possibilities, I explained my attempt on the north face and we continued to look altogether for the best option. Roaming on the south side of the ridge, I lead to what seemed the only option to me: Go down a bit to arrive in a gully where we would climb up until reaching a pass at the base of the last part until the summit. While it seemed feasible to me, I would later learn that it is called the Dead dog couloir and is not recommended unless in winter full of snow.

My GPS track showing that I tried every side to avoid the icy knife-edge

A steep gully offering a mix of snow/ice/dirt, this couloir had a wall on its right side. With this wall,  I had envisioned to climb it by practicing the Dulfer technique. Up I went, while Chuck & Nik were watching me. After about 10min of hard work, I was at the pass and ready for the last slope to the summit !
Chuck & Nik did the same but I could feel their hesitation and was worried I was bringing them outside of their comfort zone.

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Chuck (in red circle) & Nik following me in the Dead Couloir
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The Dead Dog couloir from the base of Torreys Peak

On top of Torreys, we congratulated our selves (Chuck & Nik made it!) and I went on to Grays Peak for a second summit. A perfect day in the Rockies!!

Long’s Peak

During our summer vacation, we visited Rocky Mountain National Park for the first time (And for free thanks to Mr Obama’s “Every Kid in a Park” program). I immediately planned on climbing the very famous Longs Peak (14,259ft).

I chose the normal route a.k.a The KeyHole. I started around 8am and the forecast was listing the typical summer afternoon thunderstorms. I was ready mentally to have to retreat but was hoping to make it to the top before the weather would turn bad.

After 2 hours of jogging/running on high alpine trails surrounded by marmots, I reached the KeyHole were the “run” turned more into a hike/scramble. In 45 mins, I would reach the top to be greeted one more time by a beautiful marmot.

I then went down as dark clouds were moving fast. After passing the KeyHole, rain and thunder noise made me accelerate. I reached the trailhead in 2 hours from the top and lightning/thunderstorm broke while I was having my lunch.

A beautiful day in the Rocky mountains that will constitute my main playground soon… 😉

Nutrition: Water, HoneyStinger Chocolate Waffles, HoneyStinger Fruit Smoothie Chews

GPS Track available here (14.5 miles, 4,480 ft elevation gain/loss)
**: As my watch seems not to have directly picked up the GPS satellites, the mileage is NOT accurate !

Note : A good inspiration about Longs Peak can be found in the movie “In The High Country“. Though Anton Krupicka climbs Longs via “Alexander’s chimney” and not the normal route, it’s a good inspiration and contains beautiful scenery about Long’s Peak.