Climbers: Me and the Wifey
Conditions: Beautiful. A few small snowfields beneath Redcloud's 13,000ft saddle, other than that, totally clear including the Redcloud-Sunshine connecting ridge.
Summary: Nothing too special or earth-shattering here: a fun weekend in Lake City followed by a standard day out on these beautiful peaks.
As any Denverite knows, the San Juans are just far enough away to be especially inconvenient for a day trip. With that in mind, the wife and I decided to take a weekend away to hang out in Lake City and explore some of the Northern San Juan's beautiful peaks.
We departed Denver early Saturday and spent the afternoon hanging out in Lake City and the surrounding area. Katie had never been that way, so it was fun to explore. Lake San Cristobal (gorgeous), Poker Alice, The Alpine Loop, Lake City history....as so many other 14er climbers have found, this is really cool little town with lots of history, and only a few crazy locals
One stop I did want to mention was Russ Brown and his beautiful gallery in town. Maybe other people on the site have visited, but his art and paintings are truly remarkable. Approx 50% of his painting are airplanes (which happens to be a hobby of mine, so that was sweet), but he also does some very beautiful work of the peaks and nature.
The reason I mention him is because I highly recommend a stop in if you're down that way. Some of his work of the mountains is incredible, and he does commissions as well. I'm am absolutely considering bringing some of my favorite climbing pics to see about some commission work.
The Russ Brown Gallery. Lots and lots of planes.
Russ showing me some nature pieces. Talking with him, you can tell he's got a LOT of practice chit-chatting w/ Lake City tourists ;)
Lake San Cristobal. Hard to belive this is CO's second biggest natural lake - went for a run on Saturday, and only took 45 minutes to circle it.
Doing the Lake City tourist thing.
Anyways...on to the peaks.
We drove to the TH and pitched a tent the night before. I can't even remember the last time I got 8 hours of sleep before a climb, so the full night's rest was much appreciated. 5:00 had us on the trail and being quickly chased by the dawn.
Handies smiles up at us in the morning.
The trail up is mostly snow free-with a few very easy snowfield across the trail at points. Breaking tree line, we got first glimpses into the basin beneath Redcloud's Northeastern flanks. It not all too often in Colorado that you get to hike through an alpine basin covered in green, and we loved the spot.
Relaxed, green, and wide open...love this basin.
Looking back down the route.
Beta shot beneath Redcloud's saddle. Although as you can see, there's really nothing left to even report. Only 1 or 2 fields had to be crossed
Reaching the saddle, the peak wasn't too crowed. Maybe a dozen or so people out in the morning. The route was snow-free from the saddle all the way to Sunshine and back.
Other side of the saddle towards the Alpine Loop.
All clear to the false summit. Of course, that didn't stop the group from NM going too far and getting off route, stuck in the loose choss.
Kinda cool one.
Beautiful to watch Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre slowly come into view while ascending Recloud. Always amazed at how massive Uncompahgre is...
These are easy peaks, and we topped out in what seemed like no time. As usual, the views from Colorado's highest places are well worth the effort every single time.
Kinda different summit pick.
The monarch of the San Juans
Looking over to Sunshine. Snow-free the whole way.
To copy Bill's line...Redcloud, sky blue.
Originally planning to only do one peak, Katie was feeling good and decided to make the trek over to Sunshine with me. A bit further than it looks, we eventually got there.
The best kind of climbing partner.
Mountains, mountains everywhere...what a range.
The climb back was bit rough as the wind picked up and the altitude started to get to poor Katie. Slowly but surely though, we made it back over Redcloud and back to tree line.
Making it out, Handies in the afternoon sun.
Everytime I see this one I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Haha, needless to say, Katie wasn't feeling too good on the way out.
The high TH for these peaks is much appreciated on the walk out, we were off before we knew it.
Again, noting too special from a mountaineering perspective, but nonetheless a terrific day out in the Colorado high country. Excited for all the other San Juan trips planned this Summer.