Monday, September 08, 2008

Moral of the Story: Start Early

Great photo ops; there are three people in this picture.
If any of you have ever climbed Greys and Torreys (mountains just west of Denver off I-70), you know what I learned on Saturday, which is, they are very popular mountains. Despite having a very poor excuse for a road, many, many people exit I-70 at Bakersville and make the 3-mile crawl to the Greys Peak trailhead every Saturday and Sunday.

My friends wanted to get an early start, so early in fact that our goal was to see the sun rise from the summit of Greys. In July, this might be an okay idea. In September - and one day after a cold front moves through the state, dropping snow at higher elevations - this is not such a great idea. When we arrived at the top at 5:50 (43 minutes before sunrise), it was probably about 25 degrees and the wind was blowing consistently at about 30 miles per hour. It was cold and dark, and we were getting cold, no thanks to our sweaty backs after the 4-mile hike from the parking lot. In fact, three of us got so cold that they decided not to summit Torreys, the nearest mountain, which happened to be only about 35 minutes further. Kind of disappointing, really. So I climbed Torrey's solo, enjoyed the view, ate some peanut M&Ms and tried not to be blown off the mountain. This was easier said than done. I met the other three about half way down the trail as we passed another group of hikers every 30 seconds or so.

So if you're interested in hiking one or both of these mountains, go on a week day or start from the trailhead at 3:15, like us. Oh, and try to avoid returning to a flat tire. That's no way to end a hike.

Rachel watches the sunrise from Greys summit trying to stay warm in the cold wind.

Trying to stay out of the wind while watching the sunrise.

Sunrise over Mt Evans and Mt Bierstadt

I-70 valley undercast.

Eagle's Nest Wilderness

First rays of sun strike Torreys east face.

Mostly just a minute long clip of the wind blowing so hard you can't hear me.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Sounds pretty freaking cold but the sunrise pictures are awesome. I really like the light hitting Torreys as it comes up.