Grizzly Peak Winter Hike

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 39.63636°N / 105.85464°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Dec 31, 1969
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Winter

March 9, 2008 - Beautiful Blue Skies

pt 129115
Over the days leading up to the weekend, I found myself looking around the front range for something fun and challenging to do but I didn't really have time in my schedule for an overnight trip. I came across the Grizzly Peak page on summitpost and it sounded like a safe but fun winter outing. It was pretty easy to find a couple of friends to go along so we gathered up and left from Loveland Pass at about 8:15 am under cloudless blue skies and mild temps (the thermometer said 6, but it sure felt a lot warmer under the bright sun).

Climbing up from the trailhead we examined the slopes below the first 'obstacle' (Pt. 12915) and decided that it wasn't holding sufficient snow to be an avalanche hazard and opted to traverse across the slope rather than going over to the saddle just below "Cupid". This saved a bit of climbing, but probably didn't really save much effort as the slope was slippery enough in the soft snow that was on the ground to make traction difficult.


One thing that attracted me to this hike/route; aside from the relative lack of avalanche danger, is that it's a ridge walk, which is always interesting. Plus the route allows you to bag a second named peak, Cupid (13,110) en route to the main objective, Grizzly Peak, (13,427). Moreover, you have the added opiton of going for Torreys and making it a 'three-for' day!

Climbing the ridge to Cupid provided wonderful views of the Loveland ski area and at times we were startled by the concussion from what seemed like artillery fire on the ridge far to the east of us for avalanche control. It made for a somewhat surreal experience - hiking along looking at the views and all of a sudden "BOOOOOM" - you can feel the concussion in your bones... It's a bit unnerving, but since we never had an explosion near us, we soon became used to it, and it eventually stopped. I never could really tell where it was hitting, and I couldn't get the image of the sign at the traihead out of my mind that read "Warning Backcountry Users - Avalanche Blasting At Any Time Using Long Range Weaponry". I had laughed at the sign when we started out thinking to myself - 'gee, are they really gonna be shooting at us'.

Grizzly Peak

Grizzly Peak
From Cupid to Grizzly was the best part of the hike. Crossing over the small bump on the south side of Grizzly was fun, big rocks sticking up out of the snow on the ridge crest... we crossed easily on the west side of them and even got to do a short glissade down to the saddle below Pt 12,936 where we stopped to catch our breath for the last push up to Grizzly Peak.

Pt. 12936

This is the steepest part of the hike/climb - the first part where it actually started to feel like Class 2. The snow was just firm enough between the rocks to be a bit bothersome - you could kick into it with your boot - no crampons required, but as I slipped a little every now and then, I thought that if there were just a bit more snow, I'd stop and put on the crampons that were in my pack.

I was following tracks from an earlier climber (who we never did see, I concluded he/she must have exited via Stevens Gulch - hope he had skis), but they began to swing out in a contour to go around the Class 3 rocks on the small hump in Grizzly's ridge and I diverted here and took a more direct route - but still opted to traverse around the hump. Once above that small saddle in the ridge, it felt a bit more airy and I could see over the ridge into Grizzly Gulch - very mild exposure - just enough that I felt like I was actually on a ridge. Suddenly, it seemed, the ridge flattened out and I arrived at the summit.

Retracing Our Steps

Chihuahua Gulch

After enjoying the summit views for a bit, we turned and retraced our steps back toward Loveland Pass. Along the way we were rewarded by a brief encounter with a couple of local residents on the south side of Cupid.
Mountain Goats

I had fun with this hike - I'd tentatively planned to perhaps continue on to Torreys and bag a winter 14er. When we were on the summit of Grizzly though, the group decision was to turn back. Not wanting to make them wait on me to do the extra mileage I went along with that group decision - wasn't really keen on hiking that bit solo anyway and I figure this gives me a great excuse to go visit Grizzly Peak again soon.


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slowpoke - Mar 16, 2008 9:20 pm - Voted 10/10

Nice report

...those explosions were most likely avy control work being done on the East Wall area of Araphoe Basin ski area.

Roam Around - Mar 16, 2008 11:16 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice report

Thanks. We couldn't tell if it was at A Basin or Loveland, one of my friends said Loveland, but i never could see any snow puffs or slides or anything.

Jander Talen - Mar 23, 2013 6:19 pm - Hasn't voted


How long did the total hike take you?
Also, where exactly did you park off of Loveland Pass?

Viewing: 1-3 of 3



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