Kelso Ridge – Torrey’s Peak
Kelso Ridge – Torrey’s Peak Walkthrough
How to Run Kelso Ridge – Torrey’s Peak
From the i-70 Bakerville exit:
Some vehicles may not be able to negotiate the forest service road, and should park in the lot just off the service road on the south side of the exit. Parking can become extremely congested on the weekends as the upper road is narrow, the summer lot is small, and hundreds of cars can line the sides. It is recommended you park at the Bakerville exit lot if you can spare the few extra miles.
The summer trailhead starts a couple of miles up the National Forest service road. Data for this route is based on the summer trailhead. Cross the bridge and begin climbing a defined and maintained trail. You’ll pass through shoulder height willow plants and parallel a river in the first mile. There is a very rocky section of the trail near mile 1.6. If you need to filter water, this is a reliable area for flowing water for early/mid season climbs. At about mile 1.8, you’ll reach a not-so-obvious intersection with the Kelso Ridge turnout. Leave the main trail and head right, joining with a faint trail that heads up to a low notch on the ridge.
From the notch, begin to head up the ridge as toward Torrey’s Peak. Much of Kelso Ridge is undefined trail and there are various routes that can get you to the top. Keep in mind that there is not a great way down this ridge as it can be loose and involves numerous falling dangers.
In general, the ridge maintains class 3 moves. The best routes are within 20ft vertical feet of the ridge in most areas, but this can vary. There is a section near the start of the ridge that will involve hands-and-feet for about 4-5 moves. Apart from the knife edge itself, this may be the most difficult part of the route.
The knife edge is about 100ft below the summit of Torrey’s and is the crux of the route. You must pull up on to a boulder, about 2-3ft wide, at the beginning of the knife edge, and there is vertical falling danger on all sides of it. The knife edge is best done by sitting on and straddling the rocks.
After the knife edge, you’ll walk right onto the summit of Torrey’s Peak. Descend by continuing across the summit and following easy class 2 trail down onto the Gray’s/Torrey’s saddle. At the fork near the middle of the saddle, drop left following the obvious trail and back toward the trailhead you started from.
Climbing your first mountain or 14er is an exciting and rewarding experience! You’ll get the achievement of seeing the world from above and the feel-goods of the endorphins from the exercise. However, the mountains aren’t a walk in the park, and getting down is mandatory. Some situations require extra caution and a little know how. With a bit of preparation, you’ll be able to get to the summit and back safely.
Whether you are training for a race or simply indulging in all the wilderness has to offer, there are a variety of factors, some constant, and some changing, that are likely to have an impact on your journey. Knowing these factors can help ensure your safety and get you back to the trailhead safely.