Ruby Mountain A (13,277ft)
East Ridge Variation (4th Class)
RT Distance: Approx 5 miles (unknown)
Gain of 1,500'-2,000' ft
Car to Car: 2.5 hours
Grays Peak - Like you've never seen her before
There isn’t too much info on Ruby out there, so I figured I would add a quick report. Most mentions of the route are for trips grouped with Grays, and there was a useful page on SummitPost that gave us most of our information. This is a fantastic short hike that isn’t too far from Denver and has something for everyone, from a Class 2 ridge walk to sustained 4th Class climbing. I highly recommend this peak for its accessibility, enjoyable summit and variety of climbing opportunities.
Aaron and I had been talking about getting another “13er After Work Hike” in before I leave for a couple of weeks, and Ryan was happy to join. After tackling the crux of the route (picking Ryan up in Denver traffic) we met up at T Rex just before 5pm and hit the road in Aaron’s car. Having 4wd was a must for this.
THe gate that blocks passage to the lake is foudn 1.5 miles below the lake.
The road. Easy walking for a bit.
Aaron claims he called ahead to see if the gate was open, but when we got there and it was locked, we knew he was lying haha of course not, but our 3 mile round trip hike was looking like it had become 6. I am not certain, but I would say you should generally assume the gate will be closed and then you can be pleasantly surprised if it’s open.
The Uninviting Sky
We started the hike at 630 pm under evil looking skies and some rain. The approach on the road went by very quick and before I could catch up from taking pictures and rearranging my pack, Ryan and Aaron had taken a left off of the road. The road winds around the slopes of Ruby before ending at the Lake and it seemed to make the most sense to bail off of the road given our unexpected approach and head right for Ruby. The views of Grays are awesome and the solitude of the area was rather enjoyable. I am quickly becoming addicted to these after work 13ers.
The route description on SP was very clear on what they thought were the different route options and we had all agreed to go for the 4th class route. Some scrambling was required to gain the slopes once leaving the road and once on top we were treated to a nice view of the remaining route.
Shortly after gaining the upper slopes, the remaining route comes into view. The light colored terrain on the far right is the class 2 gully
The 2nd class route is obvious and follows the light colored gully. The recommended 4th Class route goes up 1-200ft of cliff bands immediately to the left, but the talus/scree nightmare below it left us all scratching our heads and wondering why we’d ever want to do that. We all agreed to push a line directly ahead and gain the ridge lower down via some ledges and short technical moves. Not only would this avoid much of the loose talus, but it would offer us the best opportunity for sustained climbing. We stopped to put on our helmets and headed up. I followed as Ryan and Aaron took turns picking lines. The rock here is loose and rotten and care should be taken when someone is below you.
Aaron making his way up the cliff bands
Aaron and Ryan make their way up some of the awesome climbing in the lower cliff bands
Looking down from about 12,500
Ryan in the midst of the hardest move of the day....unexpectdly loose holds and some questionable footing
You could probably keep the route at 3rd Class, but on more than one occasion Ryan blurted out “We are here to have fun, aren’t we?” as he tackled a face head on instead of finding a way around it. All in all the climbing was relatively short and within 15 minutes or so we were on the ridge. We turned right and headed up on 2+ terrain (but could have easily walked around to the left on gentle slopes) and shortly found ourselves on the false summit. After a 30 second discussion we decided the bump to our left was actually the summit and we topped out at 8pm to wonderful views of the Front Range. The temps dropped a bit and we didn’t stay too long.
Walkin' Ridge towards the false summit
True summit as seen from the false summit. A quick and enjoyable walk put us on top.
Aaron contemplates what he's going to do when he runs out of Front Range 13ers
Who is it?! The world may never know...
We dropped straight down off of the Southeast slopes towards the car and with minor bushwhacking down low we found ourselves at the car at 9pm.
All in all, this peak delivered on all that it promised. The views were unexpectedly good, as was the climbing. Thanks to Ryan and Aaron for yet another awesome outing. Evenings above tree line with good friends beat sitting on my couch watching Netflix any day!