Here is a brief trip report for my activation of Grays Peak and the rest of the hike...
My sister, Jackie, wanted to hike her first 14er, so we decided to knock out Gray's and Torrey's. Being me, I didn't want to do it the easy way... We left Grand Junction at 0300 and drove to Dillon. We stopped for a quick breakfast at Mickey D's and headed up towards Keystone then Montezuma. Finally making our way up the Peru Creek road and parking at the trailhead just before sunrise. We were both very optimistic about the day! After hiking about 1/4 mile, we had to decide to ascend via Argentine Pass or head straight up the south ridge of Gray's. Since we got going later than we had planned, we decided to head straight up to Gray's, figuring there would be plenty of time later to knock out the Gray's - Edward's traverse and descend via Argentine Pass.
The hike up Gray's was steeper than we anticipated, but it was in no way awful. We headed up and over to the summit. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that there were only about three other people on the summit. Based on what I knew about that summit, it felt like we had the place to ourselves. We took the obligatory pictures, then I set up the radio gear in the east wind shelter. Jackie made some hot chocolate while I called CQ. I was happy to hear N0MTN announce that he was monitoring 52. He made the rest of the activation easy. He put out a spot and let some people know on the 145.145 repeater! Then... the QSOs came rolling in! I had 18 total QSOs in about a 30 minute period, including a S2S with Steve (WG0AT) while he was setting up to activate Sheep Mountain (W0C/FR-121). Thanks for all the contacts!
Jackie was getting cold and needed to get moving to keep warm (It was maybe 20F with 15-20 MPH winds at the top). So I signed off and we headed over to Torrey's. We made it over there fairly quickly. Once on the summit, it seemed colder and windier than it was on Gray's. By this time it was a little after noon, so we decided that we needed to get our obligatory summit pics and move on... Sadly, there was no time for an activation on Torrey's.
We headed back down and decided to traverse towards the Gray's - Edwards saddle. We lost the trail we saw while on Torrey's and had to scramble a bit, but we made it over. This is when the "fun" began. Between Gray's and Edwards is several false summits and some exposed areas. We took our time route finding and scrambling our way across rock faces, gullies and scree fields. Two hours later... we made it to Edwards. It was about 1600 when we got to Edwards. It had taken us more than two hours to traverse from Gray's to Edwards! With three more miles and the sun getting lower in the sky, we headed down Edwards and down the Argentine Pass trail. We got to the parking lot around 1800. The sun has already disappeared over the western ridge. We drove out watching the sunset, and arrived back in Dillon after dark. We got gas and headed back to Grand Junction. It was a long day. It may be a while before I head back out on another 14er, especially on a route I'm not familiar with! But I was very happy with the activation on Gray's. Thanks again to all the chasers!!
Here's a link to pictures from the day:
Terry WB0RBA (formally KE0HNW)