Yikes… talk about an O-Dark 30 start – we were up at 330am, checked out of the condo and arrived at the 11,280 ft trailhead by 515am.
You saw the trailhead in yesterday’s post… this morning it’s a world of silent black ridges silhouetted by a brilliant field of stars.
Up we go, and I learned the benefit of the early start on a predawn trail – the first hour’s labor simply disappeared into a swirl of headlamps, crisp cold air and and the beginning glow of sunrise. It was delightful… I forgot we were hiking steadily upward through 12,000 ft.
We watched dawn sunlight spread over the face of the range. Mt. Grays is on the left and looks rounded; Mt Torres to the right with the sharper ridge line. It doesn’t look it from here, but Grays is a few feet taller than Torreys.
Now we’re closer and I’m starting to get a sense of how tall these mountains are.
We could see mountain goats far away on the upper slopes, but this fellow waited to meet us as we ground our way up the switchbacks, probably wondering what on earth was taking us so long.
Euekra! We summit Mt Grays, 14,278 ft at 830am, 3hs into our hike. Elevation gain: 3,000 ft over about 4 miles.
The saddle connects us to Torreys, so we drop down and then begin to ascend toward this second peak. Here’s Greg trotting down the switchbacks.
The ascent to Torreys is steeper, with few switchbacks, so it’s a straight upward climb to 14,267 ft, and took us about an hour to reach the second peak.
The saddle and peak you see behind Greg’s shoulder is looking back at Mt. Grays.
The view at 14,000 ft is amazing, and the weather was spectacular – colbalt blue skies, no clouds, pleasant temps. We never used our full wind gear, but also chuckled at several college students we met on the trail wearing t-shirts.
We stopped about an hour later in a meadow near 12,000 for lunch with a great view up and down the valley.
Meal of the day: Lunch on the trail, in a meadow at 12,000 feet in t-shirt weather, cloudless blue skies
Beverage of the day: Black Lager, Eddyline Brewery, Buena Vista