Torrey's Peak via Kelso Ridge

1 Jul 2006 - by S Anonymous

We got up at 6:00 am and leaving Evergreen by 6:30 am. We arrived at the trailhead parking lot just around 7:30am. It was so packed that we didn't actually park in the lot, but down on the side of the road. We began our hike to the Kelso ridge at about 8:00 am. We hiked the first 2 miles on the trail when we saw the spot to cross over the little stream to Kelso ridge. We hiked up to the saddle by the old mine and we sat down for an early lunch before heading up the Kelso ridge to the summit. Here we snapped a few pictures and got D ready for the scramble up Kelso ridge to the summit of Torrey's. With his helmet and harness, D was ready to go, as were myself and my husband B.

We scrambled up Kelso ridge. Lots of 3rd and 4th class scrambling. Most of the people that were there took Gray's trail to the top of Gray's then crossed over the saddle to the summit of Torrey's, so we didn't encounter many people on the way up. We got out of the way to let one couple go by, as they were a bit quicker since they weren't scrambling with a 5 year old as we were. They were the only other people going up Kelso when we were. As we were going up we saw a couple trying to downclimb Kelso ridge with a yellow lab. The guy was having a hard time getting the dog down. The dog was just freaked out, I think I'd have been freaked out too if I were the dog. We told them that it was going to be a tough climb down the ridge and that they may want to think about going back up and taking the trail down. Then we saw 2 more guys, again with a dog, and we advised them they may want to do the same. I'm sure most of you reading this know how hard downclimbing is. It wasn't easy climbing up and I wouldn't even attempt going down.

By this point the clouds were really coming in and we knew we neesded to hustle it up to the summit. So we got moving and quickly scrambled our way to the top. When I was coming over the ridge the people on the summit cheered a bit, then behind me pops up my 5 year old D and my husband B. They were amazed to see that a little guy like D could climb Kelso Ridge. And he sure did. We didn't carry him once. He did it all on his own. B wrote our names in the register and Darian wrote his in there too. We were so excited that we had made it, we wanted to hangout longer, but the clouds were really moving over us and we started hearing thunder. We high tailed it down he saddle between Torrey's and Gray's. Not but 10 minutes into our hike down, it started hailing on us. We were too exposed on the saddle to stop and put our raincoats on so we kept going. Once we made it down to the valley where we could take cover for a minute, we got our raincoats on. Boy did that feel better. No more hail pelting me in the back of the neck. The little buggers hurt. Fortunatly we were able to stop because just after we got our raincoats on, the real rain came down.

We kept on the trail and were descending rather quickly when we started to hear shouting from the Kelso ridge. We saw some people up ahead stopped and we stopped when we got up to them. They said they heard a guy calling for help and blowing a whistle. They also said that the guy calling for help had a dog. We were just like OMG we saw them when we were going up. Sure enough someone downclimbing was hurt. And it looked to be the couple with the yellow lab. There were 3 separate groups of us standing together on the trail trying to figure out what to do. We had left our rope in the car which was over 2 miles away. Finally, a girl said she had signal on her cell and she called 911. We yelled to them that help was on the way and we all started back down the trail. On the way down, we saw Alpine Rescue and they stopped to ask if we knew anything about the accident up there. We told them who we had seen when we were going up Kelso and that we thought it was the couple with the lab. They said you guys went up Kelso ridge with the little guy? We told them we sure did and they were very impressed D made it up there.

Once we got back to the trailhead and back to the Jeep, we were just happy to get in dry clothes and be safe at the Jeep. The sherrif said it was looking like a girl that had been injured and that Alpine rescue hadn't gotten to her yet. I really hope they got her down ok. If it was the couple that we advised to rethink their downclimb, I hope that next time they will take the advice of other people who are just trying to help.

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