Standard Trail from Steven’s Gulch
Saturday August 28, 2004
Drove up I-70 to the Bakerville exit and noticed a good many peaks with new snow on top especially looking west towards to continental divide. I arrived at the trailhead at 7:00AM and saw many vehicles already there with several people starting up the trail. I got myself ready, and was on my way at 7:10; I was wearing several layers, hat, and gloves as the morning was quite cold.
The trail immediately crosses a large bridge and proceeds up through some shrubs and switches back several times as it climbs up into Steven’s Gulch where I now could see Grays Peak directly ahead and Torreys Peak to the right. The sun was now rising and the upper portions of each peak shown brightly from the shadows below, each peak had a new dusting of snow and being surrounded by this green valley and the ridges & peaks made for a most beautiful sight; I stood in awe and felt blessed to behold the enormity of such a sight as this………simply spectacular.
The climb is gradual but steady and the cold air made it hard to take a really deep breath. Looking up at Grays Peak from this vantage I could now clearly see the long switchbacks of the trail leading all the way up to the summit as the little bit of snow outlined them quite well. I had passed several people going up through the shrubs and was now gaining on several persons as I headed up out of the gulch and onto the mountain itself.
On the mountain the trail was now spotted with ice in many places and I really had to watch my step as a slip here could result in a bad situation. Although the ascent up the switchbacks was somewhat steep in places, wherever the trail turned onto the next switchback offered a good place to pause, catch a breather, a drink of water, and take a moment to look back down the valley below……..splendid.
Continuing up the mountain the trail is excellent and the shape of the peak makes the switchbacks tighter and shorter as I made my way to the summit at 9:00 sharp. There were four people on top and the views in every direction were wonderful with new snow on all the taller most peaks in sight. Took a few photos, a quick bite, a long drink and after about 10-12 minutes rest I started off to the trail that leads straight down to the saddle and over to Torreys Peak directly to the west where I could see people standing on that summit as well.
Now off to Torreys Peak after completing my 2nd 14’er. Sweet!!