telemark skiingbackcountry skiingPacific NorthwestWashington and Oregonweather linksThe Yuki AwardsMt. Rainier and Mt. Adams
Turns All Year
www.turns-all-year.com
  Help | Search | Login | Register
Turns All Year Trip Reports
Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
11/20/17, 04:03 AM

Become a TAY Sponsor!
 
Trip Reports Sponsor
Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
Turns All Year Trip Reports
(1) Viewing these pages constitutes your acceptance of the Terms of Use.
(2) Disclaimer: the accuracy of information here is unknown, use at your own risk.
(3) Trip Report monthly boards: only actual trip report starts a new thread.
(4) Keep it civil and constructive - that is the norm here.
 
FOAC Snow
Info Exchange


NWAC Avalanche
Forecast
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2012 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  May 2012 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 19, 2012, Grays Peak (14,270'), NE Bowl
:
« previous next »
Pages: [1] | Go Down Print
Author Topic: May 19, 2012, Grays Peak (14,270'), NE Bowl  (Read 1360 times)
MW88888888
Member
Offline

Posts: 488


May 19, 2012, Grays Peak (14,270'), NE Bowl
« on: 05/21/12, 08:59 PM »

Day 47
Grays Peak (14,270')
May 19, 2012
NE Face

The first two I came across were scooting along on their butts, sitting on the frozen traverse, their sneaker-ed feet barely registering purchase while moving from frozen boot steep to frozen boot step.  Neither had a backpack, they looked like they just walked up to the grocery store to pick up a packet of skittels.  Good thing they brought jackets.

They couldn't have been more than 12, but I'm getting so old that's getting hard to tell, and it appeared they had every stitch of clothing they owned plastered to any exposed skin so it was even harder to see they were even human. Human indeed.  Scared, tired and beat up at that.  Of Asian descent perhaps, at least the one red face I could see, and not looking like they were having any fun at all.  No, no fun indeed.

It was a little before 6 in the morning, at 12,500' or so, and the low clouds were preventing any spectacular alpine glow morning, only shading a building northwest wind with the onset of a front.  The blustery breeze meant the 29 degrees felt way colder and a brief return to winter was at hand.  Sonny Rollins' St Thomas roared through my earbuds and into my brain, and this was a very strange dream to wake to in the dawning light.

"Hi!", I said, pulling up below them, smile on my face.  I leaned on my ice axe, scanning down the 45 degree slope below us, the one they were trying not to crash down at frightening speed.  There were a couple rocks and unpleasant boulders on the way down, otherwise the run out ended reasonably on the smooth valley floor.  They were not in danger of a life ending event should they slip, but it was a long way down and steep.  I'm sure in their scared minds this was the Southeast Ridge of Everest, and this icy traverse the Hillary Step.

They looked at me with grim smiles, "Hi." 

I plodded on, pulled by Rollins and Company echoing around my brain. 

I looked back down after a few minutes and saw the two slowly scooting along on their butts again, intent on completing their miserable traverse. 

***

I had seen a rather large group above the Lost Rat couloir well before dawn as I had rounded the curve on the access trail down in the valley below when you get your first view of Grays.  Thankfully, I had seen a ribbon of snow to the summit before the clouds set in.  I also saw a big group down near the cliff bands above the Lost Rat. I guessed at the time that they were moving up the mountain.  Apparently not.

The second group, a long, long way behind the adventurous duo I already met, was the pelliton, including what appeared to be the group leaders.  All smiles.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  An epic just ready to happen.  Must have been a dozen of them.  I'm not sure I saw a pack on any of them.  Big cliffs, cold, darkness, ice, sneakers, kids...big epic.

Blue 7 rode me through the throng of underdressed, red faced survivors. 

Bizaar.

***

It started snowing near the summit, and the clouds settled in for good soon after reaching the Torrey's / Gray's col.

I reached the summit about 8:45 and watched as clouds moved over and around the peaks around me.  There would be no warm corn anytime soon this day.

I skied right from the summit, zig-zagging in the drifts down the walk-up trail, finally reaching the big wave snowfield that connects the summit and the NE bowl after some easy traversing.  Along the edge of the snowfield I found drifts of new snow, frozen corn and rather smooth skiing.  All-in-all pretty OK skiing.  Then the headwall, where I chose a nice line between exposed ridges, where the skiing steepened, became almost icy.  Not like the Whites in winter hard, but not the chalky hardpack of mid winter, either.  One could get gripped if one wanted.  I didn't want to, so I didn't fall, and skied out into the smooth bowl below, carving big s-turns down to the scree line well down the valley.

***

I did not read about a church group benighted on Grays Peak on Monday morning.

But I'm sure there will be chilling recounts of derry-do in houses all around Denver in the years to come because of one cold night up on Grays.
« Last Edit: 05/21/12, 09:10 PM by MW88888888 » Logged
TonyM
Member
Offline

Posts: 229


Re: May 19, 2012, Grays Peak (14,270'), NE Bowl
« Reply #1 on: 05/22/12, 11:50 AM »

Hi Mike-  Nice report, nice ski.... in WA on an abbreviated ski vacation....   there's still at least one un-skied peak here.  Sally and I were on Grays last Sunday and got the shock of our lives...  litterally.  Lots to learn about Colorado mountains compared to the Cascades.
Logged

mountains will add years to your life, and life to your years
Pages: [1] | Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Login with username, password and session length

Thank you to our sponsors!
click to visit our sponsor: Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
click to visit our sponsor: Marmot Mountain Works
Marmot Mountain Works
click to visit our sponsor: Second Ascent
Second Ascent
click to visit our sponsor: American Alpine Institute
American Alpine Institute
click to visit our sponsor: Pro Guiding Service
Pro Guiding Service
Contact turns-all-year.com

Turns All Year Trip Reports ©2001-2010 Turns All Year LLC. All Rights Reserved

The opinions expressed in posts are those of the poster and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Trip Reports administrators or Turns All Year LLC


Turns All Year Trip Reports | Powered by SMF 1.0.6.
© 2001-2005, Lewis Media. All Rights Reserved.