A few miles east of Colorado’s Loveland Pass on I-70 is the Bakerville exit, and access to some great hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. My wife and I have done all three multiple times. Besides access to the popular trail head for the 14-er duo of Grays and Torreys peaks, the area also has a few other shorter, but still inviting mountains worth climbing. The one that’s been attracting my attention for a few years now is Mount Kelso. With short notice and rapidly changing October weather we decided to finally check it off our list.
The north side of Kelso looks much more interesting than the east side (pictured), but also crosses some private property. Easier routes can be found on the east side using the first part of the Grays/Torreys trail.
The route we took went through an old mining claim, complete with mine tunnels, excavated piles of rock, a collapsed living structure, and many rusty, discarded steel cans of what once probably held food, as well as broken glass and ceramics. While trash this old is kind of neat from an antique point of view, it still is pathetic.
It didn't take long before we noticed a herd of mountain goats near the ridge in the far distance.
One partially excavated mine entrance that must not have yielded anything worth further digging.
This lone mountain goat was hanging out for a while on the ridge directly above us.
The original route we picked to go up, which looked easy from the distance, ended up being a nightmare. It wasn't incredibly steep, but the rock was just too loose, and the warming snow made it too slick.
Here is Rhiannon, who tried to avoid the snow and loose rock, opting for more solid, yet equally challenging rock climbing.
At some point we both felt our routes were too dangerous and we reluctantly decided to climb back down.
Had we not climbed back down we would have missed a couple mine entrances. This one actually had ore cart train tracks going into it.
Rhiannon found this interesting, purple specimen on one of the mine heaps.
By the time we got down off the rough stuff we didn't know if we'd have time to make the summit from a different route, but we just started walking south until we came to these grassy, gradual slopes. From there we just started heading up. Grays and Torreys are in the background.
The goat herd visible again, we counted as many as seventeen.
The entire east side of Kelso is flanked by a long, impressive ridge leading up to Ganley Mountain. I will traverse this one day.
Rhiannon posing with Grays and Torreys