Although this trip did not include an ascent to the summit of Greyrock itself, we did climb some of the interesting nearby ranked peaks. There are six ranked peaks in all for the "Greyrock Grand Slam" (7681 (aka “North Greyrock”), Greyrock, 7456 (aka “Aiguille du Greyrock”), 7309, 7180, and 6740), and we did three of them, so does this make our hike the "Greyrock 2-Run Homerun"?
Ranked Peaks 7309, 7456 (aka “Aiguille du Greyrock”), 6740D and “Little Greyrock”
Joe Grim and Carolyn Randall
3695’ elevation gain (18% grade)
We started the hike under mostly clear skies and 39° at the Greyrock TH (N40.69475 W105.28384, WGS84). The first part of the hike was easy as we made our way up the Greyrock Summit Trail for 1.7 miles. At the east end (N40.70617 W105.29338) of a switchback, we headed off trail up through a valley toward the east. After a while, we decided to turn more to the south for a more direct approach to the summit of 7309. The going was slow, as the steep north-facing slope had plenty of old slippery, sugary snow; fortunately the undergrowth wasn’t bad at all. The summit (N40.70326 W105.29074) was atop a rock outcropping, which provided a nice view in all directions, including the two other ranked peaks we would do that day, plus an awesome view of massive Greyrock itself! The summit spire of 7456 appeared as though there was nothing close to non-techincal, but we had heard there was a non-technical climb from the north side, so we were hopeful we could do it this day.
We went back down to the trail pretty much the same way we came up and then followed the trail up to its upper junction with the Greyrock Meadow Trail (N40.71188 W105.29450). From there, we headed west through the old burn area toward Greyrock Meadow, cutting off the trail at a point above the meadow (N40.71169 W105.29770). We quickly got down to the meadow and then cut across it, where we encountered ~35 mph winds; however, as soon as we reached the far side of the meadow (N40.71549 W105.30181) below peak 7456, the winds became blocked by the mountain. It was a steep slippery climb on many snow-covered rocks up the mountain’s east slope, but eventually we made it to a point (N40.71613 W105.30562) just to the north of the summit. From this vantage point, we could see what appeared to be a class 4 climb to the top. We left our packs and poles and after 5 minutes of climbing and scrambling, we had made it to the top. There was definitely some exposure on this, the easiest route, with 50+’ drops on our right (west) side that made us cautious as we climbed up. Fortunately for us, the route didn’t have much snow; otherwise I wouldn’t have attempted it. A slip along the final scramble to the top would have likely resulted in a fatal fall. We didn’t stay too long on the summit due to the wind, plus I was hungry!
We started down pretty much the way we came up, but shortly after we decided to descend by a bit more northerly route; a good choice, as the slope was less steep and rocky only 50 yards further north than where we had come up. We ate a leisurely half hour lunch in a sunny spot, where the wind was light, so that I actually got a bit too warm and had to shed a layer while just sitting there. Once back down to the meadow, we made our way over to “Little Greyrock” (N40.71424 W105.29976), a rock pile on the north side of Greyrock Meadow that resembles the much larger Greyrock Mountain when seen from the south. I quickly scrambled up to the top to bag this tiny summit, while being buffeted by the strong wind. From here, we returned to the Greyrock Meadow Trail on the far southwest side of the meadow (N40.71033 W105.30430).
We followed the trail south, passing only a hundred yards to the east of ranked peak 7180A, which we had both bagged on previous outings, and then made our way down its south ridge. At one point, the trail seemed to curve off to the steeper east side of the ridge and drop down, so we cut off trail at this point (N40.70218 W105.30492) and contoured west around a few humps along the ridge. It was slow going as the slope was steep and rocky, and there was a lot of brush that didn’t want to let us pass through. (Later, when reviewing our track, I discovered that the trail actually switchbacked on the other steeper side of the ridge and would have provided a much easier route. Oh well.) Upon reaching the saddle (N40.69673 W105.30376) between 7180A and 6740D, we started a steep climb up the north slope of 6740D. The vegetation on this aspect was very dense, while there were a lot of loosed and snow-covered rocks beneath the snow, making this the hardest climb we had done this day. Eventually, we made it to the top, a rather unimpressive summit after the difficult climb; however, we were both glad to have crossed it off our list!
We were both adamant that we did not want to go down the way we had come up, so we instead descended down the eastern ridge of the mountain, which was a little less steep, and also had much less vegetation and rocks. Upon reaching a point where the ridgeline leveled out (N40.69451 W105.29976), we decided to angle down to the Meadow Trail on its northern side. At first the descent was moderate, but the lower we got, the steeper it became. The forest wasn’t too dense, which was nice, but it was steep enough that in a few places Carolyn opted to slide down on her backside (she had just broken her hip six months earlier and didn’t want to risk reinjuring it), while I thought it would be fun to “ski” down on my shoes. Well, in one spot it was a bit too steep to do this, as I almost lost control as I slid onto a flat rock and then proceeded to quickly pick up speed as I inadvertently surfed on the rock. Falling to my backside I was able to stop but I got all snowy in the process. Finally we made it back to the trail near its intersection with the Summit Trail and quickly made our way back the last 3/4ers of a mile to the trailhead.
It was a nice hike with very nice weather! It was a bit windy, but I think it was better that way; otherwise we would have gotten too warm! 7309 was definitely a nice peak and 7456 was awesome! However, 6740D was a peak that I’m just glad to have crossed off my list.
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