Grays & Torreys Peak – Unconquered
Thursday August 23, 2018 marked the beginning of my foray into the Colorado 14ers. I am joining one of my Colleagues from work, Dan Chambers, and his friend, Tim Russell, to hike three 14ers this weekend. We spent Wednesday driving from Broken Arrow, OK to the Grays & Torrey’s Trailhead just outside of Denver. We arrived in this beautiful place mid afternoon giving us some time to look around, set up camp and acclimate to this altitude. The trailhead was a 11,280′, a far cry from our normal 755′ in Broken Arrow. after setting up camp we checkout out the trailhead, hiked a short distance up the trail, and explored along the creek. As evening approached we fixed our dinners, started a fire, and sat around and discussed our adventures ahead. We retired early, planning for an early start in the morning.
I was awoke about 3:00 am to a light rain and strong winds blowing the tent around. This was not expected, it was supposed to be a clear day today for our hike. The rain and wind continued on until early morning as we broke camp and prepared to hike. The trailhead starts at a very good bridge over a creek and begins the gradual ascent up the mountain. The trail was not too steep, but the thin air made any climb a struggle. We made good time despite having to stop frequently to catch our breath. About a mile into the hike, the winds became stronger and the rain turned to sleet and eventually into snow. With the wind the sleet and snow were blowing near horizontally across the mountains. As the weather deteriorated we passed several groups of people heading back down the mountain. The forecast showed it was going to clear up by about 10:00 am so we continued our climb upwards hoping for the best. As we approached a ridge near 12,800′ the clouds began to clear and the sun peeked out. However, the winds did not subside and were becoming very gusty. We climbed up to a great overlook at 13,000′, took some pictures and began our trek up an exposed ridge.
This is where things began to get a little scary. The wind was gusty and several times caused me to stumble off the path as it hit me. We took a moment to discuss the situation and decided it would most likely just get worse as we continued to climb and not worth the risk of being blown off the mountain. We decided to turn around and “bag” Grays and Torreys another day. The wind continued to chase us back down the mountain, but the trip down was much easier than the climb up and we arrived back at Tim’s truck around noon. We drove into Frisco where we had reserved a hotel for the night and the winds continued throughout the day.