The North Ridge
is a class 2 route from Grizzly Gulch
up to about 13600 feet where it joins with the Kelso Ridge
. To summit Torreys Peak
from this junction, the class 3 section of Kelso Ridge including the White Tower must be surmounted.
North Ridge in red
The approach is nearly identical as that for the Eroica Couloir
on the north face of Torreys Peak. Exit Bakerville from I-70, follow the Stevens Gulch Road (189) about one mile to a junction with the Grizzly Gulch Road (189.1C). Turn right
and drive up Grizzly Gulch about 0.3 miles to the Grizzly Gulch Trailhead
. Hike or drive about 1.1 miles from the trailhead to a meadow at about 10740 feet. Bushwack south up the forested hillside to a bench just around treeline at about 11600 feet. You should see the North Ridge heading south from this bench. Mileages, road numbers, and elevations paraphrased from Gerry Roach's "Colorado Fourteeners" Second Edition
Continue up Stevens Gulch to the Grays Peak Trail and follow that until you can cut off to the Torreys-Kelso saddle. Cross the saddle, drop down on the other side, and contour roughly northwest across the basin between Eroica and Kelso Mountain. I haven't personally done this, but it appears to hold no great difficulties other than the extra mileage and elevation loss.
North Ridge and Kelso Ridge 06/12/05 (l to r) The White Tower on upper Kelso Ridge
The North Ridge itself is a mostly rounded scramble on loose talus and scree
from the bench at about 11600 feet to about 13600 feet where it joins the Kelso Ridge route. There are no particular difficulties but it is fairly steep and the rocks are prone to rocking, rolling, and sliding. Once you arrive at the Kelso Ridge route at 13600 feet, you should be prepared for the difficulties of the upper part of that route. The easiest way down from here in most conditions might be to descend the North Ridge route.
If descending this route, take great care to not cut down too early to the northeast. There are two ribs directly on either side of the Eroica couloir and these should be avoided.
b/w treeline and Kelso Ridge 02/23/08
Due to loose rock, helmets are recommended. Trekking poles can also help with balance. In snow conditions an ice axe can add a great deal of security. Read up on the Kelso Ridge route to supplement with any gear that the upper portion of that route might require. Some groups take a skinny rope, light rack, and alpine harnesses for the upper Kelso Ridge.
External Links02/23/2008 Winter Trip Report