Guanella Pass to Loveland Pass
Distance: 14 miles
Elevation Gain: 7,200 feet
Elevation Loss: 6,800 feet
Difficulty: Some easy scrambling between Mount Edwards and Grays
Summits: Square Top, Mt. Argentine, Mt. Edwards, Grays, Torreys, Grizzley
Time: 12 hr
I have been wanting to do the Guanella Pass to Loveland Pass traversal of Grays and Torreys ever since I first climbed Square Top 13 years ago and saw the route. I was finaly in good enough condition this summer after having climbed 9 fourteeners.
My partner bailed out at the last minute, but I didn't want to miss what might be the last opportunity to do the hike this summer. I started from Guanella Pass at 6am with just a bit of light. I ascended gentle east rige of Square Top. About half way up Square Top I encountered a herd of mountain goats that I followed to the summit. From the summit of Square Top you have an excellent view of the route as far as Torreys.
From there I descended about 700 feet of talus to a saddle, ascended about 700 feet of easy terrain to the summit of Argentine Peak and then dropped to Argentine Pass where where I encountered some Hominidae 4 wheeler. I then followed some cairns up the gentle south ridge of Mount Edwards.
The ridge from Mount Edwards to Grays requires some scrambling on pretty solid rock and several ups and downs. I then followed the usual ridge route from Grays to Torreys, which I reached at the end of rush hour, about 2pm. I descended 1700 feet down the tallus slope on the west side of Torreys and then ascended the east ridge of Grizzley, which involves a bit of easy scrambling on good rock. From there I followed the ridge to Loveland pass, completing the hike at 6pm.
I had the good fortune to catch a ride to George Town almost immediately. Hitch-hiking back up Guanella Pass was not so easy at 7pm, but I met a couple of interesting people. One was planning to convert his Ford Excursion to run on nothing but spent vegetable oil from deep fat fryers. Another guy worked at the Cabin Creek Hydro Electric plant on the Guanella Pass road. Apparently that plant has two lakes. During the night they pump water to the upper lake using excess power capacity in the grid and then during the day when power consumption peaks they re-generate the electicity by running that water back down through the trubines. It's like a huge battery with about 50% efficiency.
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