Grays Peak: Horseshoe


On June 6, 2004, Jonathan Kriegel and I drove to the end of the Peru Creek Road (four-wheel drive necessary) in order to climb the Horseshoe side of Grays and ski the wide bowl that descends to the SE from the summit. We could do the climb in sneakers and the descent offered the best corn of the season. This is a very pleasant way to climb and ski Grays. As you can see from the photo, one can start skiing right at the summit, and on this day we got down to very close to the car. Unlike many other runs this spring, this face was very smooth.

Along the Peru Creek road you will pass under an avalanche slide on Ruby Mountain. If you look to the south side of the road you will see some power lines, one of which is protected by a "splitter": a rock barrier designed to deflect an avalanche from the metal tower. This seems to be the only splitter in Summit County, though there are others elsewhere in Colorado.

On June 13, 2005, after a period of lots of new snow, I went for a short walk at the road end and got the following photo of Grays. The Horseshoe ski line is left of center. The climb up the leftmost ridge is straightforward. There is an interesting couloir dropping down from the right-hand ridge, the Grays-Edwards ridge.


On June 20, 2007, the Peru Creek Road finally was open and Elke Dratch, Ellen Hollinshead, Jeffrey Bergeron, and I drove to the end and used sneakers to get to the top of Grays. This is a very fast way to climb the peak. The main gully was in good condition and we had a fine descent. What fun to hike up beside all the flowers, and then ski down. We did see tracks in one of the gullies descending into this area from Edwards's summit. And we had a good look down the face into Ruby Gulch, which appeared in good condition too, though that starts well below the summit. The east face of Ruby, however, had too little snow to ski.

First, a shot of the ski line:


And here is Elke Dratch at the top of the run. There is a little steepness in the first bit, but then it eases off. The summit is just beyond the upper right of the photo.


And here's Jeffrey Bergeron (aka: Biff America) skiing down.


Here's a shot of Horseshoe bowl from the summit of Argentine, May 28, 2009.


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