Grays & Torreys01/06/2012
Wednesday morning I couldn’t ignore the absolutely stellar mid-winter weather window and bolted for the high country. With only an hour’s drive to the trailhead at Bakerville on I-70, Grays & Torreys were the obvious choice for getting above 14,000′; I was running up the road to the summer trailhead by 7:30am. Three miles, 1500′ vert and :38 later and I was crossing the footbridge to the trail proper.
Upon hitting the singletrack, I was pleasantly surprised to find more excellent footing–wind- and boot-packed, stryofoam-like snow; perfect for Microspikes–and as such was able to maintain a running cadence until the trail kicks up appreciably at the giant cairn at the base of Grays. Wind was a non-issue until the final 100′ or so of vertical to Grays’ summit (where there seemed to be a steady 30mph+ or so breeze), which I reached in 1:47 from Bakerville. I negotiated the 600′ drop and subsequent ascent to the top of Torreys in :18, on whose windless summit I shed my shell before making the descent back to the car in 50min flat, dispatching of the final three downhill road miles in a snappy sub-18min for a total of 2:55 car-to-car.
The one time I’ve hit this loop in summer it took me 2:41, so I think it is safe to say that conditions up there right now are about as perfect as they could possibly be for this time of year. With sufficient acclimation I think Wednesday’s conditions were capable of being even faster than a typical summer trip. All in all, this outing was certainly a gift considering the throngs of crowds that these peaks are known for in the summer (I briefly saw only two other parties yesterday)–not to mention the fact that I spent the vast balance of my summer in 2011 sitting on my duff with a broken leg and have plenty of catching up to do when it comes to high country summits.
|Euro-style accessories all around.|
|The morning’s objectives: Grays, left and Torreys, right.|