Kelso Mountain  
Condition Updates  
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2021-03-07, By: supranihilest
Info: We started at Bakerville off I70 and didn't use flotation until past the summer trailhead. Eventually the postholing began in the willows, so we put in a new trench that stayed away from Kelso Mountain's loaded south slopes. As we wrapped around to the southwest side things dried out and we left our snowshoes at the base of the slope. There's plenty of snow on the upper, lower angle slopes, and quality is variable. Instead of descending to our snowshoes we took the ridge to the saddle with Kelso Ridge, which is snowy Class 3 and exposed. If you don't want to do the sketchy scramble then go back down to the trail the way you came up. Flotation, traction, and an ice axe are not mandatory. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2021-03-01, By: drop_bear
Info: Booted up the road to the summer trailhead. Snowshoes from the bridge to just past the info sign, up the drainage to avoid Kelso's avy slopes. There wasn't any trench here, but the snow was supportive. May be able to boot up it, but it was a breeze in snowshoes. Left the trail and snowshoes at a large rock cairn just up from the sign. Started off steep with an inch or so of powder, making for a lot of slipping, but there were enough lumps/rocks to make it work. Spikes may have been helpful, but I was too lazy to put them on. After the initial two steep slopes, it was an inch of powder over an inch of packed snow/ice. Was able to avoid any snowfields the entire way except when the mountain goats blocked passage on the ridge. Just over 6 hours RT 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-12-06, By: Chicago Transplant
Info: Road from I-70 to summer trailhead is well packed and easy to walk with just boots. Some people drove farther up with varying degrees of success and there is certainly lots of evidence of people getting stuck on the side of the road. I recommend just walking the road. Summer trail is also well packed with no need for flotation of traction. The packed trail is following the normal summer route, which means it goes under the avy slopes on Kelso. Danger is low right now, but as more snow fills in people should veer off into the willows and create a new trail. I left before that and went up a mostly dry rib straight up the east face from a little past the 11,900' switchback in the trail (photo 1). Some minor postholing but no need for flotation. Photo 2 is looking down from near the end of teh steeper slopes. Some slippery grass below but I doubt traction would do much. My route hit the ridge in the flat area at 13,000. Easy stroll to the high point from there (photo 3). Photos 4 and 5 are because people probably are more interested in Grays and Torreys than Kelso! 
Route: North ridge, south ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-21, By: bangerth
Info: We took the north ridge up, south ridge down, then continued on Kelso ridge up Torreys. It's all dry on Kelso Mountain. Nice loop, worth doing! Because there are not a lot of good trip reports: To take the north ridge up, take the road to the Grays & Torreys trailhead to just after the first big avalanche chute that comes in on the right side. There is a pull-out right after that where one can park. Hike uphill past the old and surprisingly well preserved structure that sits right by the road and then turn into the remnant of a road that turns off to the right (it's got a gate across). Follow that road as it curves, cross the creek, and then make your way up to the ridge on the other side. Follow that ridge all the way to the summit. The south side down to the saddle with Torreys is obvious and needs no description. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-19, By: dleflar
Info: All slopes clear, summit clear and dry as a bone. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2019-11-17, By: Kitten
Info: Trail was covered by snow to the Kelso Ridge turnoff, after that intermittent snow all the way to the top. No microspikes needed on the way up, but they were useful on the way down. Pictures added (2nd one showing the Kelso Ridge route to Torreys for those interested). 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2019-08-05, By: supranihilest
Info: Kelso Mountain's south slopes are fully dry. You can climb them pretty much anywhere, but it's best to go a little farther west and ascend the slopes instead of try to climb through the cliffs farther to the east. Retracing your steps is then probably your best bet. I went on to climb Kelso Ridge and Grays and Kelso Mountain's southwest ridge to the Kelso Ridge saddle was a nice Class 3 warmup - scrambling, loose rock, and exposure to the north are all things you'll find on Kelso Ridge. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2019-07-13, By: shaunblair
Info: Patches of snow on top, but easy to avoid. Summer conditions. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2019-06-08, By: TheHikingTexan
Info: Road to the summer trailhead will be closed 1.8 miles up for some time due to the avalanche slide. Micro spikes were plenty to get me up and down today. You could ski off the summit right now. 
Route: North ridge
Posted On: 2019-04-28, By: Marmot72
Info: Road dry to first turn, then continuous snow. Ascended north ridge; it was windswept with snow loaded on the east side of the ridge. Snow in the trees was mostly supportive with snowshoes; minimal postholing, even on descent after 11. 
1 4
Route: Kelso Ridge (SW Ridge)
Posted On: 2018-08-25, By: LetsGoMets
Info: Fun route if you go directly to the saddle between Kelso and Torreys and ascend the SW Ridge/Kelso Ridge directly versus the south slopes. Class 2/class 3 scrambling if you wish on solid rock. Eventually the ridge connects to the south slope route and its an easy stroll to the summit. I descended steeply east, and easily navigated some cliffs down to the overgrown road right near the main trail. Great quick outing, great views, 1.5ish hours total. 
Route: North Gully
Posted On: 2018-05-04, By: badwater
Info: Great day on kelso mtn north gully. Stevens Gulch Rd. was too slippery for my truck, so we hiked in from I-70. Started at 9:00, ascended for 3 hours. Down low, the snowpack didn't support boots, but as soon as we were in the North Gully, the snowpack firmed up and supported boots well. We didn't summit, but we made 2/3rds of the way up the gully before the visibility (and our legs) gave out. On the descent, snow was stable and good with 6"-8" of fresh snow, relatively dry for May. Minimal wind drifting in the gully. We were able to cross the creek at the bottom and ski all the way down the road. 
Route: North couloir
Posted On: 2018-05-01, By: brech
Info: Parked at Grizzly gulch rd, may have been able to go to the abandoned building. After the creek continuous snow to the top. Couloir was filled in completely. Some signs of previous wet roller balls but no slides. higher there was a thin freeze crust with about 4-6" of sugary snow under it on top of the snowpack. No other concerns. Excellent ski 2000+ vf from near the top back down to the creek. By noon snow near the creek was quite soft. 
Route: North Ridge
Posted On: 2017-11-12, By: goldenite
Info: The road up Stevens Gulch is snow packed with some bare spots and just one or two icy patches. The creek crossing wasn't pleasant. The crossing at the turn-off road was quite wide and ice/snow covered, so I went downstream a little and forced my way through. On the way back, I followed tracks pass the road and continued down the gully to the stream. It was a little better here, but still had to force my way through to get back on the road. Ridge line in the trees has about 2-6 inches of snow, above treeline its pretty dry. Used microspikes the whole way, mainly because I thought the road would be ice covered and decided not to take them off...helped with a few sections of the ridge, but you could get away without them. Brought ice axe, but never used it, just used my poles. Left crampons in the car. Wind was almost nonexistent, which was a nice treat. Saw some goats up high too! 
Route: North Gully
Posted On: 2017-06-04, By: AlexeyD
Info: Still continuous snow top to bottom but probably not for long. Lots of dirt on snow in the lower sections. Despite N aspect, gully was almost in full sun by 7:30 AM. Bottom was already getting soft, while upper sections were a mix of supportable and breakable crust, making for a tiresome climb. Crampons and ice axe highly recommended (angle is upwards of 35 degrees in parts of the upper gully); ski crampons could also work well in these conditions. Sizable avy debris field around the middle of the gully, originating from the cornices along the ridge on skier's L; currently this does not present any obstacles to skiing. Upper section of the gully has an intermittent booter on climber's left side, giving some respite on the climb, but the snow is getting quite thin in places and looks like it will fully melt out in a few sections over the next few days. Given the warm temps, we didn't want to linger too long and dropped in around 10 (normal recommended time for this line is about 11). The upper portions were still quite crusty at this point, but skier's left side turned to corn around 1/3 of the way down. At the moment, skiing from the summit requires making a descending traverse from right to left in a somewhat no-fall zone (rocks below) in order to avoid the thin, crappy snow on skier's right. Once around this section, it gets much better. Bottom half was decent corn, though bottom exit chute was getting soft and kind of dirty from fir needles. We were able to ski all the way to the creek crossing, but probably not for much longer. In retrospect, I probably would've waited another 20-30 minutes before dropping in to enjoy better conditions on the upper half of the route. Otherwise, a decent enough line with good vertical (2000+ feet) for very little time commitment. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2016-10-21, By: madadraw1
Info: Rav4 made it up to the TH. Just the one major area of ruts at 1.5 miles from I70. The road had only a few areas of thin ice but not a problem at all. The trail has some very occasional areas of snow/ice but the trail is ~95% snow free. However, I can't speak to Grays/Torreys. From a distance, looked like snow might be accumulating in the trail higher up. This was a nice very quick outing. Just 2 hours 45 minutes in all. 
Route: Road
Posted On: 2013-04-24, By: emohr
Info: Not enough of a trip for a full report, but hopefully enough info for some conditions. My buddy and I reached the bottom of the Grays and Torreys trail at about noon, and set-off up the road. We didn‘t have snowshoes, and I wasn‘t too concerned. I just kind of wanted to scout the area, and see if it might be possible/safe to try and hike Kelso this weekend. The road had been driven up about 300 feet, then the tire tracks stop. There were a few pair of ski tracks running through the road, but otherwise, it was pretty desolate. We made it to the Bridge at the Grays and Torreys in about 2 hours, but were too burned from post-holing to continue. It was a much needed workout since a lackluster winter. Snow shoes weren‘t necessary, but they are definitely helpful 
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2012-11-04, By: MTGOAT72
Info: Kelso is a good hike right now with amazing views. The road up had a little snow and ice but nothing too bad. There is some snow building near the summit but other than that it‘s clear. The wind is crazy cold so pack that down jacket! Full TR: 
Route: Southwest (Kelso) Ridge
Posted On: 2012-07-05, By: DanielL
Info: We did the whole ridge from Kelso Mtn to Torreys Peak yesterday for Independence Day and the whole route was completely snow-free. The mountain has an unreal amount of false summits but the route is easy except for some Class 3 at the beginning above the Torreys-Kelso saddle. 

Return to the main Peak Conditions page

© 2021®, 14ers Inc.