Peak(s):  Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Post Date:  02/10/2013
Date Climbed:   02/08/2013
Posted By:  Exiled Michigander

 Mountain Goats (and a Torreys Summit)  

dillonsarnelli has recently posted a nice trip report of the Loveland Pass route that he and BenfromtheEast undertook on December 29th, 2012 (see LINK). I don't have too much to add to their experience other than some cool mountain goat photos! I will not be offended if you stop reading and just scroll down to see them!

I left the Loveland Pass trailhead at 2:30 a.m., hoping to get some nice sunrise photos of Torreys and Grays. Temperatures hovered between 10 and 25 degrees all day, with a relentless 20-25 m.p.h. wind. There were really no gusts higher than that, but the wind was steady all day long. My core stayed reasonably warm, but my legs and arms were just slightly uncomfortable for most of the day. I didn't have it in me to saunter over to Grays, but was happy to get a Torreys summit in calendar winter. There is very little snow along the west side of the Continental Divide. Snowshoes are completely unnecessary, microspikes are helpful but not required, but bring an ice axe for anchorage while crossing over Grizzly Peak. With just knocking off Torreys, it ends up being around 9 miles with 5,600 feet of elevation gain. Getting up and over Grizzly Peak twice is really the crux of the route. If you are feeling tired by your first summit of Grizzly, it is worth considering calling it a day. If you continue, you not only need to gain elevation to Torreys and/or Grays, but then also need to regain Grizzly (and others) before you can get back to Loveland Pass. The traverse of Grizzly isn't technical in any sense, but the relative steepness of the ridge and the cornices that form along it require a bit more caution than any other part of the route (which, to be quite honest, is mainly just mindless plodding along).

Watching the sunrise behind Torreys and Grays from Grizzly Peak.

This is roughly the route from Loveland Pass to the Grizzly-Torreys saddle--an undulating route along the Continental Divide.

From the summit of Torreys: Mount of the Holy Cross, far off in the distance.

Looking down into Stevens Gulch. Very bare for February.

Grays from the summit of Torreys. Looked a bit too far for me on this particular day.

I was able to glissade down a small portion of this snow-filled gully on my descent, even though conditions for a glissade weren't ideal.

Some cornices starting to form along the Grizzly-Torreys saddle.

The route from the Grizzly-Torreys saddle to the summit.

Definitely the best part of the day was running into a herd of around 23 mountain goats along Grizzly's ridge on my way back to Loveland Pass. I didn't want to approach them (kept thinking of those signs at RMNP: "DO NOT APPROACH WILDLIFE"), but unfortunately didn't have any way to get around them. As it was, they very polite and never became agitated or aggresive. They let me get within about 7 yards of them--that seemed to be their comfort zone. If I got any closer, they just kind of shuffled a few more yards away. They certainly weren't skittish in the least. I guess when you hang out on the top of the Continental Divide in the cold and wind for most of your life, not too much else worries you.

An unexpected surprise.

I love how the sun glistens off this goat's horn.


This photo should be on a beer label. How badass does he look?

I counted 23 mountain goats at one point; the most I have in any photo is about 20. How many can you count in this one?



Looking west to the summit of Grizzly.

From the summit of Grizzly Peak, looking at the route back to Loveland Pass.

Torreys, Grays, and Grizzly Peaks.

Almost back to Loveland Pass, looking back on the route to Grizzly Peak.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

02/10/2013 20:49
Nice photos! That's a heck of a lot of goats!!!


02/11/2013 01:17
Some outstanding photos, MI! Super sunrise shot and some great shots of the goats! Thanks for sharing!


good for you
02/11/2013 01:41
Nice work dealing with the winds. I went up on Saturday morning and intended to hit Grizzly and the winds pushed me back to the car pretty quickly. Not to mention my waterline froze up. Wind chills were forecasted to be right around -7 or so and it felt every bit of that.


Sweet hike!
02/13/2013 18:13
Nice pics of the goats! What an interesting surprise. I'll have to look into this route in the future.


02/17/2013 03:35
As I sit here in Afghanistan, these pictures inspire me. I have 8 weeks left then its back to Gods Country....I have 5 14ers left to go and will be checking them off this summer! Great shots!

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