Josh and Danielle had been working seriously on training and Josh and I started thinking about tackling Torreys at the same time as Greys as it is the next mountain over. We had not yet done a twofer, but in our quest to collect 14ers, you can count a second 14er if you descend at least 1,500’ before going back up the next one.
On Wednesday afternoon all but Mat took the free gondola ride up to the Breckenridge ski slopes and checked out the stuff Nate and Amber did Tuesday. Amber, Danielle and Judy went shopping and we had the kids- took them to a couple parks and an arcade
Mat made pizzas for supper and after we finished them off, we pulled out the snacks to put together trail mixes and got our packs ready. I started with filling my water bladder and putting it in my pack and then I sat it on a chair. A while later someone noticed that there was water running on the floor. I had not turned off the valve before the bite wing and it was leaking out and soaked through the bottom of my bag. Unfortunately, Danielle had a similar problem later, but Josh spotted it quickly on the counter and turned the valve off. It was nice to get the errors out of the way before the ride as happened to me on one of our previous trips, so I could start out with a full bladder.
Our goal was to be on the road by 4:30 a.m. on Thursday so we could be heading back down the mountain by noon as the danger of lightning strikes is much higher in the afternoon, but as usual, we ran a little behind schedule and headed out of the parking lot at 4:47 a.m.
Our first excitement of the day happened as we were starting down the long, sharper descent from the condo into town, and we saw 5 bucks on the road that scattered to either side. They were fun to see. Mat was down to a quarter tank of gas in the jeep, so we stopped in town and filled the tank before getting on I70 and headed east. At 5:18 a.m. we pulled off the interstate and onto Steven’s Gulch Road and started up the 3.2 mile long rough road to the trailhead. It had taken us 20 minutes to travel the access road in Mat’s Jeep on our last trip to Greys.
I had started writing this trip diary on the road and was working on it as we began our way up the very rough trail. I had just saved the document and put my laptop away as I could only type one key at a time and even then was hitting some wrong keys when the Jeep slowed going up a steep and little longer incline.
Mat stopped and tried unsuccessfully to shift into low range. Apparently, first gear had not been working and he was afraid of burning out the transmission if he couldn’t get it into low range. At that point the engine died and he was unable to restart it. We got out and were trying to figure out the best way to get it off the road. After finally settling our difference of opinions, Mat got back in to steer while Josh and I would guide and push if needed. Fortunately, the Jeep started again at that point, although still would not shift to low range, so Mat backed it down and off to the side at a good spot just on the other side of the road that we had just passed.
We got out and got our equipment straight and started hiking what we later learned was 2.6 miles to the trailhead as we had only made it .6 mi up the access road. This was an unhappy prospect, but I kept hoping someone would offer us a ride to the trailhead. There were a number of vehicles that passed us and I put my thumb out when I saw one that was likely to have room for us, but one after another, they sailed on past us up the rough road to the trailhead.
I thought that maybe seeing 4 people in need of a ride was too much of a hindrance to hitching a ride, so I walked on ahead of the group thinking that if they could catch a ride, I would get more aggressive about requesting assistance to catch up.
After a bit (about a mile up the road) it sounded to me as though the other’s might be getting lucky with a ride, so I waited for the next vehicle to catch up to me as I had gone on up a hill and around a couple curves ahead of the others. They didn’t even slow down when they caught up to me, so my hopes for a ride were suddenly dashed.