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Ascent of Kelso Mountain on 2010-09-04

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Daniel Musser
Date:Saturday, September 4, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Kelso Mountain
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:13154 ft / 4009 m

Ascent Trip Report

It was still the same morning of our earlier acclimation hikes on the west side of Gray and Torryes and now it was time to move our campsite to real campsite and have a second night sleeping higher and force those Florida lungs to overcome!... we summited the peaks over at Mount Sniktau so early that we were down at the roadway to Grays Peak TH by 9AM all still part of our trip to do the two peaks. We already had about 3.6 miles and 1,800 feet of total gain under us and had been on the top of 2 peaks over 13k.

We were not able to get to the parking lot as it was so crowded with people. Doing Grays Peak is not a climb for solitutde! Dogs and people everywhere. We ended up parked about .2 Mile below the upper parking lot and about 50 feet lower at 11,230.

We put on our backpacking gear and headed up. Nobody else was going to backpack back up there. They all camped at 11,200 to 11,300 by the old mining area. We hiked up to the last grassy clearing where the USGS map shows three little wet tarns. At this time of year only one had a little water left and it was only 6 inches deep. The USGS map shows the hill in this area to be at 12,235 but it was too exposed so we hiked about 0.3 mile from the trail and behind the hill at EL= 12,190. Although this gave us some water and amazing views of Grays Peak and Torreys - we had a little extra climbing and distance everytime we to camp. We set up around noon and then rested. This spot had only 1 other couple tent camping and they were out of sight on the the other side of the hill around 0.2 miles away. Some solitutde. Finally.

We ended our first day with one more acclimation hike. We set out for the nearest 13er Mount Kelso another heavily mined mountain. The mountains is a beautful back drop looking down from Gray and Torrey as it's east side is steep grassy sloped and the western side is more rugged jagged rocks. Its ridge to the south forms the nice butress that many people use as classic class 3 and 4 scramble up Torreys. That climb once you start it is nearly all class 3+ or very rugged class 2.

We found no trail up this mountain but knew it had been peakbagged and witten about in here so we simply z-backed our way up the eastern face. The grass although very steep had good footholds. Once we made the ridge we were several false peaks short of the summit. Daniel started to show signs of nasuea from the all the altitude on his first high day. We thought i was only ten minutes from the top and he wanted to throw up so he told me to go bag it.
I complied and was treated to no less than 7 false summits along the ridge line before I found it. The summit has wonderful views of the Loveland Pass peaks we had hiked earlier in the day and of Torreys. No time to enjoy them - a few pics and hurried back to Daniel who felt a little better after successfully throwing up. But I wanted him down to base camp fast so we hiked back as quickly as he felt comftorable which was not his normal fast pace. I later estimated he stopped at around 12,900 just short of completing another 13er.

At camp we rested from our 8.5 miles and 3,800 feet of total gain on day one and attack of a several 13ers. Not too bad for fist day away from sea level in Florida. Once hydrated and he felt better, we both went to bed early to acclimate a second night - this time at 12k plus for the 14ers in the morning. We went to bed at around 6:30 PM and slept very comfortably on the soft bunch grass and awoke at around 5:20 AM very rested to attack Gray and Torreys on our second day.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2014 ft / 614 m
    Elevation Loss:1054 ft / 321 m
    Distance:5.1 mi / 8.2 km
    Grade/Class:1 and 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1974 ft / 602 m
    Extra Loss:50 ft / 15 m
    Distance:3.6 mi / 5.8 km
    Route:Grays Peak Trl to camp #2 then climbed east face t
    Trailhead:road up to upper parking for Grays Peak  11230 ft / 3422 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1004 ft / 306 m
    Extra Gain:40 ft / 12 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Route:same then back to campsite
    Trailhead:Camp site #2  12190 ft / 3715 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Gray/Torrey (2 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1East Loveland Pass Peak2010-09-04 a
2Mount Sniktau-South Peak2010-09-04 b
3Mount Sniktau2010-09-04 c
4Mount Sniktau-South Peak2010-09-04 d
5East Loveland Pass Peak2010-09-04 e
6Kelso Mountain2010-09-04 f
7Grays Peak2010-09-05 g
8Torreys Peak2010-09-05 h



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