Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Grays Peak, family style

DDD Family Reunion

Grays Peak 14,270'

24 Jun 2014

It started as a suggestion from my cousin Brian Ludvigson. "Are we going to do a 14er at the reunion?". I hadn't thought of doing that, but it's not a bad idea! So the idea took hold and I started planning a 14er hiking day. Grays Peak was chosen because it was somewhat close to the reunion location and it was an "easy" 14er for a first one to attempt. There was a lot of interest initially but as expected the group size dwindled from 12 to 8.

Group photo at the trailhead. Not shown- me.

Cousin Brian and Aunt Leslie

What a beautiful day in the mountains...

Coming up the lower trail

Coming up a wet section.

Crossing a snowfield

Group photo about an hour into the hike

Torreys Peak

Getting higher, we started to move more slowly.

At this point it seems you are close, but there is a ways to go.

Heading up through another snowfield.

Mountain Goat

"The Rascal" terrain feature around 13,600'

What are you looking at?

Torreys Peak, again

Looking North
The view before we turned around. Not bad at all.
So at this point Brian wasn't feeling so great. He is from Minnesota and he lives at 600' ASL. Even though we had tried to acclimate him to the altitude, having only 60% of the oxygen available at Sea Level was effecting his mental and physiological state. After resting for about 20 minutes and eating some snacks, I decided that we should just turn around and head down.

He told me that before today, he would have been disappointed having not reached the summit. But after experiencing the altitude first hand, he felt OK with having to turn around. This is no joke, and it effects everyone a little different.

Jacob doesn't do a lot of strenuous hiking, but he soldiered on. He might have been able to reach the summit, although I had been carrying his heavy backpack for about 2 hours in addition to my own. He didn't seem at all disappointed to be turning around, despite being close to the summit of the mountain.

It probably didn't hurt that the views were sublime and the weather phenomenal. You really can't ask for a better day with some interesting and nonthreatening clouds. It did snow on us, but only briefly and weakly.

On the way down
This marmot is watching you

Jacob taking a break

Brian soaking in the views

Jacob looks back on a beautiful day of hiking.

The crew back at the trail-head, Brian, Jeff, Jordan, Jacob (L to R)
Overall this was a great day in the mountains. The weather cooperated and 6 were able to reach the summit of Grays Peak, including my parents and some folks coming up from California. I think everyone who hiked that day came away with something from the experience, and I hope it will inspire them in the future to try some different things.