Posted by: athike2011 | July 25, 2011

Day 13–Grays Peak

Today started around 5:15am when my alarm went off. Hiking a fourteener is something you must start early as thunderstorms often roll in by noon and you do not want to be on the peak when that happens. That being said, this is a relatively easy fourteener as they go. Not to say it’s easy. Climbing 3,500ft in 4.5 miles at 10,800ft and up is no simple task no matter how you put it. I knew I would not take me more than a few hours to get to the top, but the early start ensured I would skip a decent amount of the crowd, or so I thought.

my alarm went off at 5:15, I sat up and looked out the window of my car, like every morning. I was caught off guard by the parking lot that was empty when I went to sleep, full of cars with people heading out as I sat there. I quickly hopped up and threw my stuff together, trying not to miss anything important. After feeding Sierra and throwing on my shoes I was ready to go.

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Without really really realizing it I framed Grays on the left and Torreys on the right.

Luckily, from those 1,200 miles on the AT, I have pretty strong trail legs. I was able to pass a good number of people all the way up. Within the first mile I passed the majority of the people who started before I did. Around 13,000ft I started to feel the altitude. I could have kept going without any real issue I’m sure, however my heart rate was greatly increased from what I am used to when normally hiking. I decided the best bet was to hike for about six to seven minutes then sit for one, drink a little water and let my heart slow down. I repeated this process the whole way to the top, at a literally breathtaking 14,270ft.

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From the peak I realized I passed all but one couple who started before me. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I was fairly impressed with myself. The views were amazing. Sierra and I completed our first fourteeners, not being from Colorado this is a bit more of a rarity for us. We sat and relaxed for fifteen minutes or so, chatting with the few others who made it up while we were there. I took a bunch of pictures, ate and apple, then took a look down passed the saddle at Torreys Peak. Torreys would be our second fourteener. From Grays it requires a 636ft drop, and 3/4 of a mile walk across the saddle with another, much steeper 600ft climb to the top.

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Grays Peak 360

It turned out the climb to Torreys was not only steeper, but the rocks were much finer making the climb a lot tougher as I was constantly worried about slipping. Never the less, within 25 minutes Sierra and I were at the top of Torreys Peak, our second fourteener! I took a few pictures of basically the same view, and one looking back at grays, which is about 40ft higher.

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We headed back down to the car, and were back in the parking lot by 11am. Not to bad considering we knocked it out before noon. I ate the sandwich I made the night before and recovered the Rainier beer I stashed in the river by the parking lot, which was now ice cold and ready for me to enjoy. Once Sierra and I had enjoyed our lunches we set out for our next stop.

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We made a pit stop in Boulder, CO so I could do some much needed laundry and a little reasearch about our plans for tomorrow. I found a place I could camp free near Brainard Lake, which was only a 15 minute drive from the south entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Once laundry was done we headed out to our camp for the night. We got there a bit early so after an early dinner we went for a short walk and I played some guitar. I read until it got dark around 9 and quickly passed out after our big day and early morning.

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Responses

  1. I guess I’ll leave a comment here beacuse of the wonderful picture of SIerra!

    Wow! Twin peaks!
    This was “almost” before I was done with the NY Times.
    Pretty awesome.

    And, as always, great photos..


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