This will be a brief report with just a few notes and a link to my video.
My climbing partner and I climbed Torreys Peak via Kelso Ridge on September 9. There isn't anything extraordinary about the climb, with the exception of two cautionary items I wanted to report on for new people climbing this route:
The date we climbed Torreys was one of the later times to climb before the first snow came in. With it already being a dry year, there was literally no snow on the mountain, let alone the route. I used beta found on other trip reports as well as Bill's route description to understand the route best. I want to point out to new people climbing the route that just before we reached the Knife Edge, we found it much too easy to drop down to the left side of the ridge and stay too low on approach to the Knife Edge. This caused two problems:
1. We Were Too Low
As a result of being too low, we had to backtrack and encountered a more difficult climb back to the ridge once we realized our error. This climb was over loose rock and up a narrow gully (not Dead Dog). It was all too easy to get down in this undesirable area on approach. Stay high to the right near the ridge crest as you approach the area before Knife Edge.
2. We Ended Up on Loose Rock
As a result of being in this lower spot beneath the Knife Edge, I made my way forward and around the curvature of the mountain to what I assume would be the Dead Dog Couloir when it is filled with snow. I read in several spots prior to the climb that this area can be loose and dangerous when dry. Being accustomed the solid rock I found all morning up Kelso, I carelessly continued climbing upward in this area until a rock above me moved and I realized how precarious my situation was on the loose rock near Dead Dog. The exposure was not too mindnumbing, but it was enough for a considerable fall if any sizable rocks slipped from under me or fell on top of me. The rocks in this area are large and look solid, but they are loosely conglomerated, particularly so in an extremely dry year like 2012. If you find yourself in this exposed, loose area, be sure to carefully retreat back and climb up the steep slope on more solid ground. You might not recognize it as being loose until it's too late.
Still shot from my GoPro during retreat from the loose rock area. Exposure was more severe off camera to the right.
Lastly, I recorded the entire Kelso Ridge using my GoPro2. I've cut the video content down to 15 minutes, which includes initial climbing of the ridge, climbing of the first class 3 wall (1:30), the white wall (3:47), and crossing the Knife Edge itself (6:04). Hopefully this will all be helpful for someone looking for more visual information before hitting the ridge in the future.
Click on the YouTube icon to go to the YouTube site if you want to watch it in fullscreen 1080p.
I removed all audio from the video. No one wants to hear me breathing over wind noise, and I have yet to run across decent soundtrack material that isn't copyrighted.
Cameo appearance of Jay521 at 13:00. Good to meet you up top! I told you I would eventually get this video on 14ers.com!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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