Southwest Ridge Overview
The Southwest Ridge route on Gray's Peak offers and easy alternative to the standard route. Although the access is not as easy for Denver area residents, it does offer solitude on an otherwise, crowded mountain.
The first half of the route is an old 4x4 road, followed by a great ridge walk to the summit. There are also other hiking objectives in this area which shouldn't be overlooked.
This route can be a safe winter climb, provided you stick to wind scorned ridges and avoid other avalanche prone areas. The winter road closure is at Montezuma Road and will add just over 4 miles RT.
This route starts from the Chihuahua Gulch TH, Southwest of Grays Peak. To get to the TH first drive Hwy 6 to the Keystone Ski Resort in Summit County. This is 8.5 miles West of Loveland Pass and 7.8 miles South of the Hwy 6, I 70 intersection.
Follow signs pointing to Montezuma Road as you pass the resorts River Run area. Follow Montezuma Road 4.7 miles east to the Peru Creek Road. The road is unmarked but is located behind a guard rail on the left side of the road in a sharp corner.
Follow the Peru Creek Road for 2.1 miles east to the marked Warden Gulch TH. Continue for about 0.1 miles to the unmarked Chihuahua Gulch 4x4 Road. There is a small parking area here and it is recommended for everyone to park here.
The route starts at the Chihuahua Gulch TH and follows the 4x4 road north into the gulch. For the next 2 miles, the road crosses back and forth across the creek and passes through two meadows. There are many great views of Gray's, Torreys and the other peaks of the area along this stretch of the route.
While in the meadows, you will also get a view up Ruby Gulch which is were you are headed. Don't be tempted to turn up into Ruby too soon as you'll end up with wet feet and ton's of bushwhacking. Instead continue on the road until about 2.1 miles from the TH at about 11,400 at which point the road gradually turns SE and enters Ruby Gulch.
Contiue along the road as it turns East and eventually ends at "Ruby's Cabin", an old mining shack at 12,100 ft. At this point you will have an excellent view of the route above. Climb NW from the cabin to gain the SW ridge of Gray's Peak near 13,000 ft. From here it is a view filled hike to 13,800 where you will encounter some scree on the way to the summit.
A great alternative when spring snow is still present, is to hike to the cabin and then climb the snowfield from the cabin directly towards the summit.
Standard summer gear, snowshoes in early season and perhaps and ice axe if you anticipate climbing the snowfield.