Stats: West ridge, Class 2. 7 mile round trip. Approx 4,000ft gain to summit elevation 10,563. Total time approx 6 hours.
Gear notes: N/A.
Links: Idaho Summits trip report. Gray's Peak on Idaho: A Climbing Guide. Gray's Peak on Summitpost.org.
Note: For the soul purpose of back logging my trip reports, I am omitting the small local peaks many of us use as training hikes, Cervidae, Kepros, etc and skipping straight to the good stuff. Thanks for being one of the three readers, enjoy!
|Pioneer Mountains on the drive in.|
Back in my more active days of rock climbing at the Black Cliffs, I knew I wanted to climb Borah Peak. I knew I needed experience that just rock climbing could not provide, so naturally, I started to do the small, local peaks with the intention of working my way up to bigger and bigger ones.
I attempted Galena Peak in 2009; epic fail. I drove up from Boise that same morning and started way too late. Then I got burned out trying to go too fast to make up the time. I had no idea what I was doing.
In 2010 I drank the mountain climbing Kool-Aid for good, got serious and received my first taste of the bigger peaks; I was hooked.
|Grays Peak. The West Ridge is shown,|
Grays Peak was my first big peak. When I say big, I mean over 10,000 feet. I chose Grays Peak because it looked to be a straight forward route to a summit over 10,000 feet and the road access looked good. I drove to Federal Gulch camp ground the day before so I could get an early start. I took the West Ridge, as opposed to the more common route up the trail from the camp ground.
|West Ridge on Grays Peak.|
This is the same route up Gray's Peak that we attempted in 2014.
|Upper West Ridge.|
I remember being excited and a little nervous about how being above 10,000 feet for the first time would feel. It wasn't bad at all.
I don't remember the grind up the shale to the summit to be particularly bad. Today, I'd say its down right cruiser.
I used an old shirt to make a make shift summit flag of sorts.
My descent was via the trail. This trip was relatively uneventful but I learned a lot about starting early to get ahead of thunderstorms and giving yourself the whole day to complete a summit. I also had a better understanding of pacing myself to not wear out too soon. These were all lessons I had practiced on peaks like Cervidae when I was training and studying. Now I had taken the exam; I suppose I passed. It took me about 2 days to lock in my next big peaks to attempt.