Kelso Mountain  
Condition Updates  
Route: SE Cliff Bands Ascent/Ridge Direct Descent
Posted On: 2022-06-18, By: stomblin7
Info: I did the loop following the GPS for the most part counter clockwise. Full summer conditions for entire route. SE face is steep loose grassy slopes with very short cliff band sections you might use a hand or two for balance, but I would still say Class 2+ range. I descended the ridge all the way to Kelso Ridge's saddle, and there were maybe 3x short class 3 moves when you stay ridge direct. Super fun day, I did not see anyone else on the mountain, but had the joys of enjoying a goat family and some young marmots tackling each other. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2022-06-15, By: Danger_D
Info: Summer conditions. A tiny amount of snow right on the ridge but easily avoidable. The Greys/Torreys trail was a little wet, but not bad 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2022-04-18, By: yaktoleft13
Info: Road is still snow covered from i70 parking lot, though the lower half is melting fast. Wore spikes in the morning to upper trailhead, then snowshoes from there till the upper mountain. Wind was brutal from upper trailhead to 12.7. 40-50 mph constantly, knocking me around and blowing snow around. It calmed down slightly after that, but kept whipping that powder around. At first went to take the ridge straight from the Torreys saddle, but the wind was too strong for that exposure and terrain. Sidehilled back to the standard route and connected rocky tundra segments till the ridge. Ridge has a ton of false summits and piled snow, but on the northern side there's almost always rocks exposed. On the way down, I took a more expeditious route, and would recommend it for the way up: when you reach the sign that talks about what a cairn is, turn uphill and link those rocky sections together to reach the ridge. Wore snowshoes from the sign till 1.5 miles from the parking area 
6 2
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2022-01-02, By: gluckhikes
Info: The road is well used up to the trailhead, including snowmobile tracks. I broke trail in snowshoes from the bridge up to the Torreys-Kelso saddle. The snow is all pretty windblown and never got too deep.The ridge is mostly dry from the saddle. While mostly gradual tundra and rocks, there is some fun optional class 3 near the start of the ridge climb. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2021-12-18, By: angry
Info: Pray for snow! Did not use traction/flotation. No summit register. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2021-06-30, By: Skimo95
Info: Summer conditions. Water all the way to kelso split, 2.9mi from TH > saddle > summit. If you summit by 11, good chance of having a F16/F22 flyby. No summit register. Class 1 trail, took the short way down for 4.4mi RT; Dog friendly 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2021-05-27, By: cougar
Info: Parked at 10900 past the gutted building as snow on road is bit higher. Didn't need snowshoes on south slopes, traction would be useful in spots but I got by without. Slopes are about half melted out, blotches of snow remain so about 50 pct snow picking a drier line. I descended one of the northeast ridges and wouldn't recommend unless you know the good line, although skiers took the gully between them which is still snow filled. My line was dry higher but loose talus and scree, then postholing on the trees and around avalanche debris. Grays and Torreys still coated in snow. Don't push it driving through snow to trailhead, saw someone else get stuck up there today. 
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2021-03-07, By: supranihilest
Info: We started at Bakerville off I70 and didn't use flotation until past the summer trailhead. Eventually the postholing began in the willows, so we put in a new trench that stayed away from Kelso Mountain's loaded south slopes. As we wrapped around to the southwest side things dried out and we left our snowshoes at the base of the slope. There's plenty of snow on the upper, lower angle slopes, and quality is variable. Instead of descending to our snowshoes we took the ridge to the saddle with Kelso Ridge, which is snowy Class 3 and exposed. If you don't want to do the sketchy scramble then go back down to the trail the way you came up. Flotation, traction, and an ice axe are not mandatory. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2021-03-01, By: drop_bear
Info: Booted up the road to the summer trailhead. Snowshoes from the bridge to just past the info sign, up the drainage to avoid Kelso's avy slopes. There wasn't any trench here, but the snow was supportive. May be able to boot up it, but it was a breeze in snowshoes. Left the trail and snowshoes at a large rock cairn just up from the sign. Started off steep with an inch or so of powder, making for a lot of slipping, but there were enough lumps/rocks to make it work. Spikes may have been helpful, but I was too lazy to put them on. After the initial two steep slopes, it was an inch of powder over an inch of packed snow/ice. Was able to avoid any snowfields the entire way except when the mountain goats blocked passage on the ridge. Just over 6 hours RT 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2020-12-06, By: Chicago Transplant
Info: Road from I-70 to summer trailhead is well packed and easy to walk with just boots. Some people drove farther up with varying degrees of success and there is certainly lots of evidence of people getting stuck on the side of the road. I recommend just walking the road. Summer trail is also well packed with no need for flotation of traction. The packed trail is following the normal summer route, which means it goes under the avy slopes on Kelso. Danger is low right now, but as more snow fills in people should veer off into the willows and create a new trail. I left before that and went up a mostly dry rib straight up the east face from a little past the 11,900' switchback in the trail (photo 1). Some minor postholing but no need for flotation. Photo 2 is looking down from near the end of teh steeper slopes. Some slippery grass below but I doubt traction would do much. My route hit the ridge in the flat area at 13,000. Easy stroll to the high point from there (photo 3). Photos 4 and 5 are because people probably are more interested in Grays and Torreys than Kelso! 
Route: North ridge, south ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-21, By: bangerth
Info: We took the north ridge up, south ridge down, then continued on Kelso ridge up Torreys. It's all dry on Kelso Mountain. Nice loop, worth doing! Because there are not a lot of good trip reports: To take the north ridge up, take the road to the Grays & Torreys trailhead to just after the first big avalanche chute that comes in on the right side. There is a pull-out right after that where one can park. Hike uphill past the old and surprisingly well preserved structure that sits right by the road and then turn into the remnant of a road that turns off to the right (it's got a gate across). Follow that road as it curves, cross the creek, and then make your way up to the ridge on the other side. Follow that ridge all the way to the summit. The south side down to the saddle with Torreys is obvious and needs no description. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-19, By: dleflar
Info: All slopes clear, summit clear and dry as a bone. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2019-11-17, By: Kitten
Info: Trail was covered by snow to the Kelso Ridge turnoff, after that intermittent snow all the way to the top. No microspikes needed on the way up, but they were useful on the way down. Pictures added (2nd one showing the Kelso Ridge route to Torreys for those interested). 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2019-08-05, By: supranihilest
Info: Kelso Mountain's south slopes are fully dry. You can climb them pretty much anywhere, but it's best to go a little farther west and ascend the slopes instead of try to climb through the cliffs farther to the east. Retracing your steps is then probably your best bet. I went on to climb Kelso Ridge and Grays and Kelso Mountain's southwest ridge to the Kelso Ridge saddle was a nice Class 3 warmup - scrambling, loose rock, and exposure to the north are all things you'll find on Kelso Ridge. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2019-07-13, By: shaunblair
Info: Patches of snow on top, but easy to avoid. Summer conditions. 
Route: South slopes
Posted On: 2019-06-08, By: TheHikingTexan
Info: Road to the summer trailhead will be closed 1.8 miles up for some time due to the avalanche slide. Micro spikes were plenty to get me up and down today. You could ski off the summit right now. 
Route: North ridge
Posted On: 2019-04-28, By: Marmot72
Info: Road dry to first turn, then continuous snow. Ascended north ridge; it was windswept with snow loaded on the east side of the ridge. Snow in the trees was mostly supportive with snowshoes; minimal postholing, even on descent after 11. 
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Route: Kelso Ridge (SW Ridge)
Posted On: 2018-08-25, By: LetsGoMets
Info: Fun route if you go directly to the saddle between Kelso and Torreys and ascend the SW Ridge/Kelso Ridge directly versus the south slopes. Class 2/class 3 scrambling if you wish on solid rock. Eventually the ridge connects to the south slope route and its an easy stroll to the summit. I descended steeply east, and easily navigated some cliffs down to the overgrown road right near the main trail. Great quick outing, great views, 1.5ish hours total. 
Route: North Gully
Posted On: 2018-05-04, By: badwater
Info: Great day on kelso mtn north gully. Stevens Gulch Rd. was too slippery for my truck, so we hiked in from I-70. Started at 9:00, ascended for 3 hours. Down low, the snowpack didn't support boots, but as soon as we were in the North Gully, the snowpack firmed up and supported boots well. We didn't summit, but we made 2/3rds of the way up the gully before the visibility (and our legs) gave out. On the descent, snow was stable and good with 6"-8" of fresh snow, relatively dry for May. Minimal wind drifting in the gully. We were able to cross the creek at the bottom and ski all the way down the road. 
Route: North couloir
Posted On: 2018-05-01, By: brech
Info: Parked at Grizzly gulch rd, may have been able to go to the abandoned building. After the creek continuous snow to the top. Couloir was filled in completely. Some signs of previous wet roller balls but no slides. higher there was a thin freeze crust with about 4-6" of sugary snow under it on top of the snowpack. No other concerns. Excellent ski 2000+ vf from near the top back down to the creek. By noon snow near the creek was quite soft. 

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