Grays Peak Ski Descent

After the previous day’s hike and descent of Huron Peak, I found myself at home trying to figure out what to do for the evening. Nothing sounded appealing – not watching a movie, going out, listening to music – except for going to bed. Being one to believe there’s usually a good reason behind it when all you want to do is sleep, I hit the sack early. I was planning on a relaxing day starting with sleeping in, but things didn’t really go according to plan.

My eyes popped open; I was wide awake . It was still dark and I looked over to the clock. 4:27. Before I’d gone to bed, I told myself – knowing that there was no way that it’d actually happen – if I woke up on my own really early, I’d go ski Grays. Knowing that I had plenty of time, I slowly went through my morning routine. Get dressed, deal with Scout, coffee, breakfast. I didn’t unpack my ski gear from the car the night before, figuring I’d be going up at least one more time for the long weekend, so all I needed to grab on my way out the door was a couple Snickers and some water.

I was hiking by 7am, back here yet again.

I didn’t take many photos on the way up as I was just trying to make decent time (which I did – car to summit in under 1:45). The East face of Torreys is still in but requires an early exit to Dead Dog, which will probably be skiable in to August. I was on top well before 9am, surprised at the quick softening of the snow.

I spotted a ribbon of snow that went almost the entire way to the parking lot, which made me happy – I don’t do this because I like walking downhill.

I took my time on top enjoying the perfect weather, the view, having a snack, and leisurely transitioning over to my ski gear. At about 9am, I dropped on to perfect corn.

I got about 1,200′ of great skiing in before stopping to hop over a ridge to more snow.

A quick 100′ re-climb later and I was back on snow.

Things flattened out quite a bit from here, but it was still much better to be on snow than on dirt, made better by the fact that I expected to be walking at this point. There were a few chokes in the snow, but nothing bad.

I took one last shot before Grays went out of view behind Kelso.

The snow along the creek is melting fast, and there was a bit of a discontinuity I had to cross, but it wasn’t long enough to make taking the skis off worth it.

Less than an hour after leaving the summit (and three hours after starting up), I was back at the trailhead to retrieve the PBR I cached in the stream on the way in, one more box on the list checked.

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