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Torrey's this weekend

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Torrey's this weekend

Postby Jaymi » Fri May 03, 2013 7:38 am

Quick question about avalanche conditions on Torrey's this weekend. I was on the last part of the ridge on the standard route just before Gray's summit cone last weekend and there was a small (short) section that just seemed too soft to me, so I turned around. There has obviously been snow this week and I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on conditions this weekend. I am aware of CAIC and ALWAYS turn around when in doubt. Will most likely be hiking solo (with appropriate safety precautions). Thanks!

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Re: Torrey's this weekend

Postby CO Native » Fri May 03, 2013 7:47 am

What exactly are "appropriate safety precautions" for avalanches when hiking solo?
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Re: Torrey's this weekend

Postby larkinrx2 » Fri May 03, 2013 8:24 am

CO Native wrote:What exactly are "appropriate safety precautions" for avalanches when hiking solo?


stay home and :iluvbeer:
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Re: Torrey's this weekend

Postby viejo » Fri May 03, 2013 8:41 am

CO Native wrote:What exactly are "appropriate safety precautions" for avalanches when hiking solo?



Things like evaluating snow pack, looking at slope angles, checking alpha angle in a run out, looking for signs of recent runs, checking for signs and sounds of instability, conservative route selection, awareness of rollers, sloughing and cornices.

Basically all the same precautions that should be taken when traveling with others. Avalanche resue and beacon proficiency are certainly important, but are secondary to making the choices that will keep one out of the avalanche in the first place.

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Re: Torrey's this weekend

Postby paxtonsnjones27 » Fri May 03, 2013 9:04 am

I can't think of a safer mountain to climb besides Quandry. The major concern is deep snow areas. Don't get near them. There definitely have been some blizzards up there recently, but I think areas of windblown have to be accessible the whole way up. I had something come up and I was going to try and do the Kelso Ridge up to Torreys. If you are having to hike under a cornice slope or obvious wind loaded area I would stay off even though it will probably take more than one person to trigger a slide. I personally was counting on traversing on the wind blown side of Kelso mountain to reach the saddle of Kelso ridge. No avy danger traversing the ridge and this would add to the excitement. :-D PS: The weather looks to be possibly snowy...don't get lost. That is probably your biggest concern. Bring a GPS. Hope this helps and you sound smart if you can turn around before a summit...the most important knowledge a person can have when avy danger is involved in my opinion. Impressive...good job!

Re: Torrey's this weekend

Postby Steve Climber » Fri May 03, 2013 9:17 am

I don't have any recent info on conditions up there, but I will say in the past, one area in particular to keep an eye on is the southern flank of Kelso as you are approaching Grays/Torreys. Sun gets on it fairly early and wet slides would be in the front of my mind any time I was below it. The only other area I can think of is the Torreys spur of the trail that takes you up to the saddle. That face is just steep enough to take you a long way down through rocky terrain if it went. Maybe climb Torreys via saddle while it's still early enough the snow isn't too warm, combo over to Grays up the shoulder, and descend Grays standard rioute to avoid spur?

Again, I don't have any idea of current conditions, but those are the two spots I have kept a close eye on in my experience.
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Re: Torrey's this weekend

Postby I Man » Fri May 03, 2013 9:21 am

I was up there on Monday and there was a large slide that was very recent coming off of the North slopes of Kelso and completely covering the Steven's Gulch road for maybe 200ft. There was a good 10ft of debris on the road. Kind of scary when you think of the general consensus on this forum that "Grays & Torreys is always safe." This slide could have been problematic, as is the slope going around Kelso that proved fatal several years ago.
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Re: Torrey's this weekend

Postby Mountainfreak4465 » Fri May 03, 2013 9:29 am

I've been thinking about heading up that way myself, but can't do this weekend. If you go up Steven's Gulch, snap some pics of the dead dog if you don't mind. Have a good trip.

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Re: Torrey's this weekend

Postby paxtonsnjones27 » Fri May 03, 2013 12:04 pm

I agree with I-Man with the concerns of working your way up through the valley with avalanche worries on both sides of you. However, walking in the middle was my idea and this puts you in a spot where you won't be triggering an avalanche from below. However, I skin in so I can ski. Due to the "trap door collapsing snow" this might prove to be a major pain in the butt. The avy danger is not high and not extreme. The chances of you being in the wrong place at the wrong time is unlikely. Natural slides are very unlikely at this time. According to the weather during your plan of ascent things are not going to be hot out or sunny. Yes, wet slides are a big issue when the snow pack has not become hard and glacier like. So do be careful if the sun comes out because it doesn't have to be warm for the snow to get slushy in the sunshine.

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Re: Torrey's this weekend

Postby chrismjx » Fri May 03, 2013 6:39 pm

Pics and beta would be fantastic as I was thinking of heading up that way as well...

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Re: Torrey's this weekend

Postby Jaymi » Fri May 03, 2013 10:38 pm

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and perspective. I will try and take some pics along the way to share if I make some good progress.

Happy Hiking! :-D

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Re: Torrey's this weekend

Postby Jaymi » Sun May 05, 2013 8:05 am

Here's a little info from yesterday:
Arrived at 0610. Road was still too icy/snowy to get far (I have a Jeep). On the way down, I saw a Jeep made it to the Grays Peak sign (Grizzly Gulch turnoff?). The snow is starting to melt and there are more and more patches opening up on the side of the road on the way to the summer TH. The snow was compacted enough for spikes/boots all the way to summer TH. Changed to snowshoes and continued up to last sign before shoulder. Again snow was pretty well frozen in the AM. I was there last weekend and clearly the snow had melted a bit (more of sign showing). Old Tracks were visible and solid/stable even on ridge. Felt very safe. I was also lucky to have a very nice couple in front of me the whole way that really helped break trail (thanks Jeff/Lori, good luck on Denali and Cho!). Wind was slight and weather was nice in AM. Decided not to traverse from below Gray's summit to saddle based on recommendations here and concerns over snowpack stability on the upper traverse slope (and I was pretty tired). Summited Gray's at 12:25ish (yes, I'm slow) and descended quickly as clouds were moving in. It snowed lightly most of the way down, covering tracks a little but not completely. Overall, an awesome day in the mountains. I'm no expert (and very conservative) but I would still be very careful with the snowpack on steep slopes in this area. My pics from my Apple Iphone are too big to post but if anyone wants them, let me know and I will be happy to email. Happy hiking!

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