Peak(s):  Torreys Peak  -  14,267 feet
Date Posted:  05/07/2011
Date Climbed:   05/06/2011
Author:  jameseroni
 There and back again - Torreys from Loveland Pass  

Party: Solo (with a SPOT)
Vert. Elevation - 5500?
Round trip - 10mi
Time - just under 9 hours
Photos - taken with the iPhone 4 - which will turn into a jet and fly you to a private island.

Although the weather wasn't favorable (WIND) I decided to go ahead and get out into the alpine. The forecast called for 30-40mph winds, with 60mph wind gusts. In my mind I reasoned this would be "warmer spring wind" which it turned out to be, but still just as much of a pestilence.

I started from Loveland pass, leaving the car at about 6:00am. Ahead of me one other gentleman split off to the left for Sniktau, just after hitting the first point of elevation. There were also two other gentlemen (packing skis) who would be slightly ahead of me the remainder of the slog to Torrey's. I wound up catching one and chatting for a bit on the uphill to Torrey's. It was good to have the presence of another climber.

Anyone who has climbed this route knows the "ups and downs" take their toll. Gaining Grizzly peak in itself is quite a little climb, for the most part I'd say, steeper than the route up Torrey's. This really takes it out of you, but you don't realize it until you start your elevation gain on Torrey's. I paused a few times to eat part of a PB+H (Peanut butter and honey) sandwich and some honey stingers. This proved to be a great help throughout the duration of my climb, although I pretty much hit a wall the way back up Grizzly the second time.

Once on the ridge connect route up Torrey's, there were a few good mini couloirs to follow. The snow was firm and boot friendly, kicking steps was not hard. Near the top of Torrey's the ridge loses its angle a bit and you're met with a gentle glide to the summit. Although exhausted.

At the summit, I was of course ecstatic about what I had accomplished so far. I celebrated briefly as the winds were really starting to pick up. The register must have been buried in snow, I found the high point and stood on top, yelling at the top of my lungs for a second or two.

The route back down Torrey's to the connecting saddle to Grizzly was uneventful. The snow filled mini gully made for an alright descent. Trekking poles in hand until the saddle, where they were traded over for an Ice Axe. The snow slope back up the east side of Grizzly sure looked menacing. It was definitely steeper than 30 degrees in a lot of areas and the temperature was now a good 10-15 degrees warmer, the sun beating directly on the slope.

I started to make my way up, from rock band to rock band. After passing the first rock band the snow started talking to me. I was caught in the middle of a suspect slope (albeit pretty much just as safe as any other route back up the east side) and my boots were making a hollow crunching sound with every step. I was only sinking just past toe top at this point and wasn't too worried, although the sound was intimidating to say the least. I put my axe in self arrest position and tip toed up to the next rock band. I continued this tip toe method until regaining the cornice ridge, where I felt somewhat safer.

These are huge cornices by the way, absolutely HUGE. For the most part the ridge on the east side of grizzly is pretty safe though and you can stay on the top of a pinnacle. Everything was going well, beside the fact my boots were now picking up about 3" of snow ball on the bottom every 4 or 5 steps. This was exhausting and continued until I re-summited Grizzly. Re-summiting Grizzly by the way, was completely exhausting. 9 or 10 steps followed by a 30 second pause leaned over on trekking poles. My body was definitely feeling the effects of the elevation gain- the second time around.

Once on the west side of Grizzly again, I was met with fearsome winds. These were enough to rip my hood off of my head, lift me off the ground temporarily and make for a menacing descent. These winds continued until I descended the final point to the car. The winds were especially strong in the miniature saddles, it looked like a wind tunnel - the snow/ice mixture visible being blown at a high rate of speed.

For all intensive purposes, this was pretty much a winter climb - but the wind was a tad bit warmer and the snow was a different consistency. I'm pretty much convinced there is only one season in the mountains when weather doesn't cooperate - El Nasty season. Things get cold, windy and miserable.

I consumed about three liters of water, ate a sandwich, some pineapple and a small snack of honey stingers. If I had it to do over - I would've consumed a little more food prior to the re-ascent of Grizzly. Pack consisted of a winter pack, except I substituted the down parka for a downlight sweater. Enjoy the photos and hope this was helpful in terms of conditions. Everything is still pretty much covered in snow.

Oh, and the cornice that guy fell through the other day on the same route - well I couldn't find it anywhere. I'm sure its already been blow in with a few inch layer of snow concealing the hole.

The first view of Torreys

Grizzly from Cupid I believe

Grizzly and Torreys on the left

Torrey's from Grizzly - still a long way to go.

Grizzly from the side of Torreys

A view back up Torrey's from the saddle between Grizzly/Torreys - summit not visible.

Contemplating the long slog back up Grizzly. My route consisted staying to the right, then skirting the ridge to the left. Suspect slopes.

The Grizzly to Lenawee traverse

And here are a few videos. First one taken from top of Grizzly, Second one taken after descending Grizzly, atrocious winds.

Top of Grizzly

Old man wind

The summit video

Thanks for looking hope the info was helpful. I know this isn't a first ascent or anything, just wanted to log a trip.

 Comments or Questions
Thanks for the info
05/07/2011 23:36
Looks like it was a rewarding climb. I'm waiting for the snow to melt to get my first two 14'ers under my belt. Thanks for the report.

05/08/2011 18:15
I was up around there twice this winter, guess what - Wind! I think it must just be a fact of life around Loveland Pass. Anyone catching a calm day, if there is such a thing, can consider themselves lucky.

Fast Jimm
Excellent info
06/07/2011 03:33
Was on Grizzly today, with the idea of possibly rolling over to Torrey's. There isn't as much snow as you encountered, of course, but I just didn't feel comfortable with the amount of snow travel required.

Your photos of the Grizzley/Torreys traverse are great. This is one grueling hike and I can't wait to hit this route in late July with some friends. With all the roller coaster/snow/rock on the approach and even some of the looseness of Grizzly's steep ascent it seems impossible to make good time on this route, lol...


06/18/2011 00:15
You've definitely got to start early. Taking short breaks and pressing on is the key. Fast travel is safe travel!

Oso Blanco

Good pics of snow cover
11/27/2011 02:00
congrats! What was your gear list on this hike?

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