This past Thursday, Matt and I hiked to Torrey’s Mountain at 14,267 feet. We woke up at 3:30am ate breakfast, took our coffee to go and drove up Stephens Gulch off the Bakersfield exit on I-70 to the Grays Mountain trailhead. Stephens Gulch Rd. was extremely rocky and I felt like I should have been in a jeep not a Volvo xc90. We left my car at the trailhead and drove back down Stephens Gulch and up to the top of Loveland Pass. The start of our hike was about 34 degrees at 11,991′ at 6am.
We hiked up to the saddle of Sniktau Mountain and Grizzly Mountain in all of our layers. I had on fleece pants, a capilene layer and my Rab puffy and we both had gloves on. At the top of the saddle we entered into what we decided to call the abyss. Fog was forming in the valley to the west of the saddle and coming up and over at what seemed like 40mph. It was very windy and we ducked into the little windbreak to take some sunrise photos and to decide if we should wait or keep going.
We decided to keep going and headed southeast on the ridge towards Grizzly Mountain. The wind was whipping and we both had our hoods up over our faces and Shea was a little chilly, she kept trying to find another windbreak. We reached the low point in the saddle before the climb up Grizzly after about 3 miles. We stopped at this point and each ate a snack and some Pro Bolts.
The climb up Grizzly wasn’t as hard as it looked from the saddle. There was a well traveled trail leading up on the west side of the ridge. There was some loose scree and it was kind of steep but I felt really good climbing up and the views from the top were awesome. We stopped in a windbreak again at the top for a few minutes and I took some photos.
The next mile or so after the summit of Grizzly was downhill on scree. My knees definitely took a beating. There were a lot of loose rocks and we tried to stay on as many grassy patches that we could but it was tough. Not as tough as Torrey’s looked looming over us once we got down to the saddle. The climb up Torreys was the hardest part of the day. We stopped before starting our climb, ate some more food and looked up at Torreys and the clouds and hoped it would stay clear for our ascent.
There isn’t a path up the backside of Torrey’s where we were climbing. The main trail up to Grays and Torreys comes from the east side and is very well traveled. The way we went coming up the backside was nice because we didn’t see anyone the whole time until the Summit, but there was no trail and we were just hiking straight up a scree field. We attempted to cut switchbacks in ourselves, and as the elevation got higher, breathing got harder. Mile 6, the climb up Torreys was 1,152 ft in one mile. It was painful but when we made it to the top it was very rewarding.
There were a lot of people on the summit. Grays and Torreys are two of the most popular 14ers in Colorado, since they are so close to Denver. We could see hordes of people going up and down Grays too. We stayed at the summit for about 20 minutes and took photos, ate some snacks and talked with people. We thought about going over to Grays too, but ultimately decided to just hike down. I am glad we did because it was a 3 mile hike down that was kind of relentless since my legs were tired from climbing and descending so much already. We got back to the car around 2pm and headed back to the house. It was a great day and adventure!