Kelso Ridge on Torreys

A few years back I made a decision not to head up Kelso Ridge- but rather wait till I had my helmet- which was smart…rocks were fall etc. I waited the next two years- to climb this peak, specifically so I could climb via the route I wanted to!

Sarah, Greg, and myself met at the trailhead at 5AM- on a beautiful, cool Sunday morning. The trail was already crowded with lots of people heading up to climb Torreys and Grey’s via their standard routes.

We made our way up to the Kelso Ridge turn off, and hopped up on to the ridge- the sun  crept over the landscape- rosey and warm.

First light over Torrey’s Peak

We sat down to have a snack, and dig out our helmets- this is where the fun begins- Peanut Butter Helmet Time.

This jagged class 3 ridge, climbs to the summit- including a section we like to call ” the pocket knife” as it’s a small knife edge ridge toward the summit.

Sarah and Greg making their way to the sunny section of the ridge.

There were a few sections that we decided to make class 4….because the rock quality was more solid– and with all of the helmetless idiots behind us- it was the better idea. Most of the people didn’t even realize that they were on Kelso Ridge, they thought it was the standard route. It’s important to do research before you go hike something, like maybe look at the route description… or look at a map! Ack.

Sarah crushing the class 4!
Looking across to Kelso Mountain down the ridge.

We made our way to the  “Pocket Knife”, followed by lines and lines of people- generally the more difficult the route, the less people- but any of these easy to get to places, are just SWARMED! One of many reasons I don’t enjoy 14ers on weekends.

We finally made our way up the reminder of the crumbly ridge to the summit…where there were at least a hundred people, with more on their way up- I couldn’t believe it!

Summit of Torreys Peak 14,267′
Only a small fraction of people summiting Torreys- it was terrifying!

We had a snack, then made our way past the throngs of people to our vehicles. I have been on 14ers on a weekend but this was ridiculous- and gives met YET ANOTHER reason to avoid easy 14ers on a weekend- damn crowds.

Aside from the crowds- it was great experience, with good company!

Point 13660′ a relaxing weekend

Our original plan had been to knock out as many peaks as possible, there were about 2-5 on the list of peaks…. it ended up being a weekend of rest- which was needed apparently for both of us.

Makayla and I decided to climb up towards Casco Peak from the back side- this is the third time I tried for this peak, total- and we follow the directions but ended up on the wrong side of the valley. Luckily for Makayla and myself- there was another centennial for her to climb- as she was in the midst of the 30by30 challenge- Lackawanna was up there! I decided to snag the unnamed 13er Point 13660.

Side of the basin we were SUPPOSED to be on. 
Makayla before her Lackawanna push!\
Beautiful view of the Elks from 13660
Casco from 13660
Summit of bicentennial point 13660
Steep descent from Lackawanna

We had a lovely day- and decided to go camp near Castle/ Conundrum- so we made our way back towards the Elks. We had a fire, and relaxed- ended up not climbing the next day- both of us were beaten from the bushwhacking the day before.

Rather than stay there another day we decided to try to climb Mount Massive the next day….which we ended up sleeping through… and just deciding it was a beautiful backcountry weekend with good company.

Waterfalll near Castle Creek

I know that it sounds like we were lazy, and we kind of were- but as I said in a previous post- it’s important to relax sometimes and quiet the mind. And we both needed it- and it was a good lady bonding weekend.

Ypsilon Lake

I never get the chance to go up to Rocky Mountain National Park during the summer, so I figured a Monday was a great day to avoid crowds, and explore.

I usually spend most of my time up around Glacier Gorge- so this time I picked something in the Lawn Lake area-  on the northern side of the park.

The trail up to Ypsilon Lake is well maintained, and less traveled than ones on the other side of the park. AND I chose to go on a day when it was going to rain, I thought I could out run the rain… which I mostly did.

But boy was I bright, I completely walked out of my house without my hiking boots…so I ended up hiking in my chacos… which is better than nothing I guess!

Longs Peak!

I wanted to share a few more photos- but the hike was rather uneventful– and rushed.


Chipmunk Pond
Ypsilon Lake

I feel lucky enough to live in such a place as beautiful as Colorado- that you can adventure into your national park on a monday, and not see anyone…thank goodness it wasn’t a weekend…WAY too many people.

or Not to Casco…Lazy Mountain Dayz

Sometimes you get all the way up to a basin and just decide you’d rather nap on the grass than climb the peak. It’s a rare day, but they exist.

Greg, myself and our dog Jessie decided to attempt to climb Casco Peak, so we spend the night at the trailhead in our truck, and head up the trail early.

First- we were lazy and took a while to wake up, then we were moving slow….and finally, once we had reached the basin below Casco…we both felt like sleeping in the grass. I didn’t have the drive to summit that day, I was just happy to be up in the high country- with the flowers. So we napped in the grass on the side of the trail with the dog.

Here are a few photos.

Casco from our Nap spot.
Such a happy pup.
backside view of Mount Elbert.

Back on Rock

Since I chopped my hand open back in May, I have not been back on rock….this was my first time back. I followed a few routes in Solaris area of Boulder Canyon- and wanted to share a few photos.


Dan leading up.
Not sure what kind of move that is, but Greg is sure pulling it off?
Extreme belaying?

Sunrise summit- Oxford/Belford

I decided I wanted to do a sunrise summit of Oxford and Belford- with the Trailblazers. We ended up with a small group, but a good group!

The basin that these peaks are in, is notoriously steep- then it flattens to a beautiful open meadow, with 3 of the Sawatch 14ers right there-  Belford, Oxford, and Missouri.

We hiked up the steep switchbacks on Saturday afternoon, and found a place to camp right before the sky got dark. The group sat down, ate dinner, and drank some wine. It was a great way to relax before bed.

We woke at 2AM and began our slog up through the basin, and the switchbacks to the summit of Mount Belford…arriving at the summit right before sunrise.

Summit of Mount Belford 14,197′
Mount Oxford from Mount Belford

We had a snack, and waited for the sun to rise, then made our way down to the saddle between the two peaks.  It was gravely, and loose- so it would suck going back up later.

View from the saddle

I made my way to the summit, far behind everyone else, nursing some more foot issues/ knee issues- acquired from my cross country peak adventures.

Mount Oxford 14,153′

We relaxed on the summit- then made our way BACK up to the summit of Mount Belford- then decided rather than deal with the switchbacks again, we would descend via Elkhorn Pass.

Left to right- Emerald, Iowa, Missouri

We made our way down to camp, and packed up after a short break, then walked back down to the cars.

I have learned to love sunrise summits, despite the early hour one must get up in order to achieve them- it was truly beautiful

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge- and HOME

We finished Wheeler this morning, and headed home through the back roads of northern New Mexico. I wanted to show a few photos of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, seeing as it was the only stop we made.

Perfectly placed. 

It was beautiful- then we FINALLY were back in Colorado.

We still had quite a long drive, but it was least through well known terrain. There was SOME excitement when we were driving past our exit on C-470…something had lit the side of the highway on fire. We have had a lot of fires this year- and luckily this one was not lit by a person. I found out later that it was lit by a piece of trash flying out of a trash truck…and hitting the electrical wire- not even a joke.

It was amazing to get picked up by my human, and go home. I had missed him very much over the last week and some change.

When you go on a long trip, it’s always very nice going home. That being said- it was an adventure- not everything went exactly as planned- but I learned a lot about other parts of the county, and got to spend time with an awesome lady!

AND now- I eat, sleep, and shower.