Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks (Front Range) – Combo (Class 2)
- Attempted 7/10/12
- 8.5 miles round trip
- About 6 hrs (with breaks at both summits)
- Easy 14ers (Class 2)
- Gray’s Peak: Class 1
- Torrey’s Peak: Class 2
- Combo Ridge: Class 2
- +3,600′ net elevation gain to peak (14,270′)
- sunblock (at that elevation, you’ll feel the sun)
- tech shell (you will want a shell to protect you from the wind)
- Soft shell or nanopuff jacket (always layer when attempting a 14er)
- headlamp (you’ll have to be starting this hike earlier than most 14ers)
- light gloves
- Lunch and lots of snacks
- Lots of water
A big group of us packed into a car at 3am or so in Arvada and left for the combo 14ers. This was my first combo 14er and certainly the best combo 14er to start on, not to mention it’s close proximity to Denver! We arrived at the TH around 5:00a or so. It didn’t take us long to summit Gray’s Peak. It is 4 miles up to Gray’s. While that sounds like awhile, the first 1.5 miles or so is in a relatively flat valley. After then you begin to gain some altitude, but it is very manageable! I would definitely start early to beat the heavy traffic that these 14ers experience in the summer. The upper TH for parking is fine to reach with a Subaru Outback (about 4-5 inches of clearance). It was a bumpy road, but nothing that the driver couldn’t handle.
We reached the top of Gray’s in no time at all. We played some tunes (“On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons) and took a nice rest. The backside of Gray’s has a stellar view!
You may see a hiker come up the backside of Gray’s. It is far less popular but arguably a much better hike because of that! After a nice break, the trail is obvious to traverse over to Torrey’s. It sucks going down the ridge before you go back up to summit Torrey’s, but it really isn’t a hard traverse. At this point in our hike, I began to feel very sick. In the morning I had taken a Dayquil because I had a sore throat. Now, it had evolved to the point where I could barely speak or breathe. My tip to you is never attempt a 14er unless you feel 100% waking up.
Despite ending up with one of the worse sicknesses I have ever had (about 3 weeks of sickness, 1 week without a voice) it was a great combo 14er. Would I do it again? Maybe, but I would do a non-standard approach because I am not a fan of super populated trails. But it is a great first combo 14er otherwise!