By the standard trail, both Torreys and its close neighbor Grays Peak are an excellent, easy introduction to 14er hiking. (You can hike both peaks in a couple hours.) Scrambling up Kelso Ridge instead of tromping up the standard trail makes the ascent a little more exciting. Kelso is designated Class 3, which means it requires no rope or technical climbing gear to ascend, but several sections are comparable to climbing a high ladder: handholds and footholds are plentiful, but you really don't want to fall. I thought Kelso could give a fit hiker like Larry a little taste of the more adventurous side of peak climbing, without the need for worrying over ropes and technical gear.
We chose a "weather window," Larry came out to Colorado and did a few acclimatization hikes to help his lungs adjust to the altitude, and then at dawn on a Sunday morning at the end of August, Larry and I and my hiking partner Dustin Putnam started out from the Stevens Gulch trailhead.
|Larry ready to tackle Torreys Peak (in background)
|Heading off the main trail toward Kelso Ridge (a spur trail climbs to the low point on the saddle)
|Larry tackles the first short Class 3 section (Dustin at top)
|Larry and Dustin enjoying a snack break
|Nothing like a beautiful day in the mountains
|Larry and I working our way up the ridge.
|Traversing along the ridge
|Moving up the ridge
|View of Grays Peak from the ridge (regular trail visible switchbacking up the peak)
|Climbers on the knife edge
|Higher view of the knife edge (the gray section of rock behind the lumpy white block)
|Crossing the Knife Edge
|Straddle that ridge! (A climber who crossed right after us said, "I feel like I've just made sweet, sweet love to the mountain.")
|Larry climbs around the white block that finishes the Knife Edge
|We did it! Larry at the summit.
|View from Torreys' summit
|Grays Peak, as seen from Torreys summit. It's close, but you still have to trek down to the saddle and then pant your way back up another 600 feet or so.
|View of the valley we hiked up from - if only we had a hang glider or a zipline!
|Second summit of the day! On top of Grays Peak
|Looking back at Torreys - Kelso Ridge is the long ridge forming the right side of the peak
|Already a hint of fall color in the valley
|Made it! End of the trail.