Peak(s):  Kelso Mtn  -  13,164 feet
Date Posted:  09/08/2015
Date Climbed:   09/06/2015
Author:  Jay521
 The other Kelso...  

Solitude near Grays and Torreys


Trailhead: Stevens Gulch/Grays Peak
Route: South Ridge up, Southeast slopes coming down.
Length: A little over 4 miles
Vertical: About 2100 feet
Ascent Party: Solo

Doing the Kelso Ridge route up Torreys last weekend got me looking (again) at Kelso Mountain and I thought a quick climb on a Sunday during a Holiday weekend would work out great. And it did. Yeah - there is the usual conga line going up the standard Grays trail and that thins out considerably at the Kelso Ridge cutoff. But I was the only one that turned right at the saddle - everyone else taking a left to do the ridge. And that was fine by me.

Kelso can be climbed easily on its southeast slopes but I thought the south ridge looked like it would add a little spice. (Captions below photos)

First good look at the ridge

A little closer - looks like fun!

Looking back from the Kelso Ridge cutoff - the conga line is starting to form.

The route would likely go as a moderate class 2, however one can make it a bit spicier as I chose to do. Why go around a tower or a bump when you can go over it?


More fun

Even more fun

Looking back from one of the towers

The exposure on the south side is there but not that bad. The north side is a cliff that you will see in a later pic.

Getting easier

Starting to transition to a grassy slope.

A look back down the ridge

And another view back down from a little farther up. The standard trail visible on the left.

Once past the easy towers, it's a stroll on grass to the summit.

Cliff left, grass right.

Stolling along.

Looking back.

Still strolling...

OK - I think that is the summit cairn.

Summit shots

Maybe the best picture I've ever taken of Torreys

Looking North - Note I-70 in the center.

Looking East

Looking South

Looking west

A short 360 vid from the summit.

I chose to go down the more common ascent route on the southeast facing grassy slopes. Partway down, I met one other solo hiker who wasn't going for the summit but just wanted to take a look at Grizzly Gulch. He was the only other person I ran into since leaving the saddle at the Kelso ridge.

About 1/3 of the way down, looking back up.

And what's a summer trip report without a wildflower shot?

Thanks for taking the time to read this - and please be careful out there.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

 Comments or Questions

Great TR!
09/08/2015 16:36
And congrats on the secluded summit. The photo looking down the ridge (#13) is dizzying.


Solitude near Grays and Torreys
09/08/2015 17:06
Now that’s something you don’t hear every day. I may have to try your ascent route the next time I’m in the area.


09/08/2015 17:47
@Bowman – Sometimes I get lucky taking pictures and I got lucky on a couple in this TR. All luck, no skill!

@Eddie – Yeah, solitude is kinda unusual. I think you’d like the route. I sure did.


Nice report, Jay!
09/08/2015 19:56
The last two times I’ve done Torreys, I’ve thought about swinging up Kelso Mt first. May have to do that the next time around. Thanks for the inspiration!

Doctor No

Love the shot of Torreys!
09/08/2015 21:04
Looks like a great alternative to the masses; thanks for posting it!


More thanks!
09/09/2015 07:44
@Doug #1 – I read some TR’s on Kelso some years back and thought that I oughta hit it someday. Wish I hadn’t waited so long as it was kinda nice to have a mountain so close to G/T all to myself. (Edwards also has that going for it.)

@Doug #2 – I have always thought Torreys is a neat looking peak. I can’t help but look at it every time I pass by the Bakerville exit on I–70. I just lucked out with the sun and the clouds with that shot.

Brian Thomas

prayer flags on the summit?
09/09/2015 07:47
What happened to them? Somebody must have cleaned them up or the wind blew them away...


None there
09/09/2015 08:47
There was a summit cairn and a fairly new register in what looked like a new container. No flags nor evidence of any that I saw.


09/09/2015 20:06
to self: Gotta add the other Kelso to the never–ending list. Jay, you keep churning ’em faster than I can keep up! But thanks for the beta as always.


It goes both ways, Raj.
09/09/2015 20:44
As I recall, it was your TR that got me up Oklahoma...

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