EXTREMELY difficult traverse of all 10 peaks in the Ten Mile range. Very technical class 3 scrambling most of the way between peaks 1-4, with several spots I would consider class 4. Did this in some pretty fierce wind and snow and had to bail out after peak 3 to the valley to the east and loop back around to the start. Very disappointing, but you don't mess with Mother Nature. This is a serious hike for serious hikers. Do your research and know what you are getting yourself into. Amazing hike though. I will be back for the rest of it in August when the snow has subsided.
Taking off on a 3 day wandering session someone mentioned this trail to me at the trail head. I've hiked the Grays/Torreys Peak trail a few times already, so I thought I'd check out the Kelso Ridge trail.
I was really expecting another well maintained. Well marked trail like Grays. This Is Not The Case. Which I enjoy. Easy to get off trail, a couple places to climb up and over. Lots of exposure to get you second guessing. A lot of fun.
If you get to a point where you think your about to fall to your death you've lost the trail... Your supposed to be on the other ledge with the death drop.
Probably not dog/small child friendly.
The road gets a little rough towards the end, but there's tons of places to park within a 10-30min walk to the trail head. Lots of places to camp as well.
I like to drop down the west side of the saddle between Torreys and Grays and explore chihuahua gulch. Lots of wildlife around the lakes this time of year.
Sept 11th was my 4th successful summit of Longs Peak over the last nearly 30 yrs. I must get amnesia in-between making this climb as its a very mentally and physically tough one. One also needs to understand the true danger aspects you're exposed to in order to summit.
10 Strong suggestions:
1. Leave the trailhead no later than 2:30 AM to summit by 10:00AM latest.
2. Carry at least 4 liters water (or a RO filter/pump)
3. Avoid weekends and holidays as more people = more risk to you from falling rock and critical point traffic jams!
4. Understand it is summer conditions at the lower elevations and winter conditions where the climb is toughest. Never have been at summit where it's above freezing in Aug/Sept climbs.
5. Aerobically condition, condition, condition especially if you live at lower elevations like I do in KS.
6. Don't do it if you have a fear of heights as there are several places where you have a wall of rock on one side and an abrupt 2000 ft drop off on the other. I've seen people freeze and panic and have to be talked through step by step.
7. Have a contingency day and go on the best day forecast.
8. If the weather turns, abandon attempt quickly and get to tree line ASAP if thunderstorm forms! I learned the hard way in my 20's and the lightening was horrific in Boulder field! You could feel the static electricity literally like the wind and there is no where to escape up there!!
9. Do it once and move on!! Lol! Note to self: re-read point 9!
10. Revel in your successful climb of Longs as you are in a very elite group as most anyone can do 20 or more of the other 14'ers without most of the risks Longs throws at you!
ASPENS!!! If you are looking for aspens, go to this trail now!! Plenty of lemon-lime, golden, and even pink aspens scattered all around this trail, reaching their peak right now.
I arrived at 9:30 AM on a Thursday, and had no issue finding a parking space. Didn't see anyone on the trail for probably an hour, and as the day went on, more people arrived. Amazing views and scenery, and a little bit of everything for terrain: streams, plains, rocks, and trees. The views on this trail took my breath away. I came out for the sole purpose of seeing the aspens turn, and I couldn't have picked a better time and place. Although there are many aspens, I didn't necessarily see a any super dense groves of them, like we tend to see in photos--where it's nothing but trunks and yellow leaves. However, the views on this trail made me forget all about that! There are TONS of clusters of aspens, I couldn't get enough of them. Great challenging hike but short enough for a beginner like myself.
While you're there, keep heading south on route 67 towards Cripple Creek, about 10 mins down the road. SPECTACULAR views right now.