This is part of an ongoing series re-telling Brittany’s fourteener-skiing story. Look for the reports every Thursday, as part of a Throwback Thursday theme.
Work and inclement weather were providing some barriers to getting fourteeners done. I had to think creatively. After skiing Mount Bierstadt after work, I was looking to see if I could get one done before work. Grays Peak fit the bill. I headed out solo on this mission. Gray’s ended up being my 22nd fourteener skied, and the only one I would do solo. Below is a slightly modified version of my original trip report.
Skiing a 14er Before Work
Brittany, and her shadow
After a weekend of crappy weather, I was antsy to get out and this weekend’s weather was looking much better. But, I was scheduled to work all weekend at my second job, and outdoor shop. I didn’t have to be at work until 10 am so I decided to make something happen. I settled on Grays peak knowing it was a relatively easy ski and I’d been to that basin before so I knew I wouldn’t get lost in the dark. I’d checked out the trailhead the weekend before and knew you couldn’t really get up the road past Bakerville at 9,800 ft so I knew it was going to be longer than usual. “Okay, so I have to work at 10, and it’s an hour and a half drive from Gray’s…. so…. looks like I’ll be hiking at night!” So there it was. My plan was to leave the car at 1 am.
When I got to Bakerville the snow was frozen despite the temperatures reading 39 degrees. It was a clear night. It was possible to drive up the road a ways on the frozen snow but I opted not to do that. I didn’t want to get my car stuck should the snow collapse, nor did I want to go sliding into a tree or something. So I parked at Bakerville.
I left my car at 1 am.
And I hiked on the road for quite a while in the dark
Skinning up the road was easy, but seemed to take a while because I was alone, and it was dark. I was able to skin most of the way up the road except for a stretch that was not more than a half mile long.
Having skied Torrey’s before, I was familiar with the route to Gray’s. So, even though I could see only outlines of the mountains, I could generally find my way just find.
I generally followed the standard summer route to the top of Gray’s. The snow had a hard freeze on top, after melting earlier that day. This made skinning difficult at times. Near the summit, I was frustrated with skinning and opted to boot pack the last few hundred feet of the route. By then, I was seeing the first glimpses of twilight.
I reached the summit just in time to view the most beautiful sunrise. Sunrises are always better when earned, and when seen from the top of the world!