An exciting class 3 alternative to the standard route.
~8 miles RT, ~3500' of elevation gain (including Grays Peak)
Climbed with: Scott Lowery, Kerry Fessenden, and Kerry's dad and sister.
|Grays Peak (L) and Torreys Peak (R)|
|Group photo about a mile in (I took it)|
|The route for Kelso ridge begins at the saddle between Kelso Mountain and Torreys Peak|
Scott and I split off the group to try the exciting and often-mentioned Kelso Ridge route. It's pretty easy to figure out where it starts because the saddle is obvious.
|Off the beaten path (photo by Scott)|
|Almost immediately the trail gets interesting|
Very soon after you start there is an easy class 3 section to get you started on the fun.
|Coming to the first class 3 section|
|Scott Emerging after the class 3|
|A rocky part. The climbing crux can be seen just below the "fin" on the top right|
|At the base of the climbing crux. I went straight up, and easier path lies to the left (Photo by Scott)|
|Climbing out of the "Crux" area|
I will say the climbing crux could be somewhat challenging for someone who has never tried class three. In addition, you are somewhat exposed upon reaching the top, where you then take a sharp right turn and scramble up easier terrain. We both did the right chimney (supposed to be more difficult) and it's hard class 3 climbing.
|We got off-route a little and ended up climbing this way to regain the ridge|
|Easy climbing near the top|
|Starting off (I have a red backpack on) (Photo by Scott)|
|Looking back on the knife edge|
|Scott finishing on the knife edge|
|Mountains, mountains everywhere|
|We met up with the group again on the Torreys summit|
|The summit of Grays Peak from Torreys. We can see about 100 people on the summit.|
|Kerry F. and Scott on the summit. They are engaged. :)|
|Looking back at Torreys from the saddle|
|Kerry and Scott heading up to Grays Peak|
The summit of Grays Peak was insanely crowded, so we quickly traversed to the south end of the summit for some relative peace and quiet.
|Mt. Evans (R) and Mt. Bierstadt (R) from the summit of Grays Peak|
|For as popular as Grays Peak is, it sure has a spectacular view|
|Another group photo from the summit, Breck in the background|
|A superb day for a hike in the mountains|
|A last look back|
|The wildflowers were simply outrageous|
|Back at the trailhead, a welcome sight|
Grays Peak and Torreys Peak are two easy 14ers that see a ton of traffic. However, it's still a pretty area and a nice trail, and the Kelso Ridge route is a great escape and a test piece for your 14er climbing abilities. Don't miss this alternate ascent of Torreys if you plan on doing all 58, or want a fun challenge close to Denver.