Solo, no partners.
Route Description: Steven's Gulch, followed standard summer route.
Data: The Steven's Gulch Rd was covered in snow from very near the bottom. I parked there and began skinning from 9,800 ft at 1:00 am. I followed the summer route mostly, and skinned most of the way. For the last few hundred feet I boot packed and reached the summit (14,270 ft) at 5:30 am. I was at the summit for about 15 minutes and then skied all the way back to the car. I reached the car at 6:55 am. Total vert climbed: 4,470 ft Total vert skied: 3,770 ft Total time: less than 6 hrs.
Relevant Links: TGR Trip Report
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 Gray's 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. I started at 1 am.
Things went according to the plan, and I left my car at 1 am. 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!
I could only stay on the summit for a short time after the sunrise because I knew I had to be at work by 10 am. So, off to ski I went. The snow was mostly frozen over the entire way. But it was still a fun ski in the amazing morning light.
I was able to ski down about 3,700' where I had to take off my skis for the 1/2 mile stretch of dry road mentioned before. After that, I was able to ski all the way to the car.
Along the way on the road I kept running into people who were on their way up to do Torrey's or Kelso. They had some very perplexed looks on their faces as they saw me heading down. Little did they know that I was climbing while they were sleeping ;)
I made it back to my car before 7 am, and was able to make it to work on time, with time to spare!
Picture of the Line
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