Monday, July 11, 2011

Double Fourteeners

Among mountaineers, a 'fourteener' is a peak over 14,000 ft. There are 546 in the world, 53 of them in Colorado. It's a popular challenge among Colorado mountaineers to try to 'bag' all 53.

I had two under my belt before this hike -- Bierstadt and Quandary. Our latest hike allowed me to bag two (Grays and Torreys) on the same hike. It was a total 3,600 ft. elevation gain and 9 mile distance (round trip).

Starting out, the slope is very gradual, with streams and pretty wild flowers. (No trees, though, as you're already above the timber line):

Near the summit, there's very little vegetation and the slope is much steeper. Climbing this section of Grays, I decided there was no way I was going to make Torreys Peak, too.

Once on top, though, I got summit fever and decided it was a shame not to bag them both. Here I am on the summit of Grays Peak (14,270 ft.) looking toward Torreys Peak:

This is the saddle between the two peaks:

and that little blob in this picture is me heading up to Torreys, the second peak:

Here's my brother, BG, and I at the top of Torreys:

and here is the view from Torreys. You really do feel like you're on top of the world.

And best of all, we were heading down the mountain by noon (unlike our hike on Quandary where we started out too late and had a dangerous close encounter with lightning!).

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