| Redcloud and Surrounding 13ers
-Silver Creek Trailhead
-Point 13,832 Northwest Ridge
-Point 13,832 over saddle to 13,811
-Point 13,811 to Redcloud via Northeast Ridge
-Descent of west gully into South Fork of Silver Creek
-Elevation Climbed: 5727'
-Time: 7 hours
Drive to Trailhead:
This usually isn't something to mention in a trip report, but after climbing in the Crestones I drove through Creede and over Slumgullion pass to get to the Lake City area. This drive is one of the top 5 in the state. If you get a chance, drive it!
Starting the Day:
A guy pulled into the parking lot just as the sky began to show signs of a new day. I was glad I slept near rocks as he might have driven right over the top of me. Suffice to say he was surprised when I emerged from my bivy right in front of him. Nice wake up call. Not hiking for 7 weeks removed my calluses from my heals, and I was dealing with some very large blisters on my left heal and several toes. I also lost a contact and my respiratory infection had worsened from the previous day. Wasn't sure it would be a successful day as I ate my hot breakfast and taped my feet.
As many of you know, wearing one contact will just about drive you crazy after a bit, so I went fuzzy. My blisters were mostly tuned out after a few miles and some pretty severe asthmatic symptoms quieted down after I reached the saddle between Redcloud and Point 13,832. The day showed new promise!
Point 13,832 and Point 13,811:
The trail to point 13,832 is quite good at some points and non-existent at others, typical of 13ers I spose.
Ridge to Pt 13,832 from Redcloud-Pt 13,832 saddle
I was a little surprised at the length of the saddle between the two peaks, and realized getting Sunshine as a bonus probably wouldn't happen.
Ridge to Pt 13,811 from Pt 13,832
It was nice to get away from the crowds and have two mountains to myself and these summits provided the best views of Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre I have seen. On the way back toward Redcloud, the weather became a serious issue and I had a long way to go.
Long way to Redcloud from Pt 13,811
Luckily the building didn't organize right away. I watched wind directions and building patterns change continuously. As I approached the low point before the final push to Redcloud, everything came together and nature was on the march. I continued, foolishly under the fog of summit fever, reassuring myself that escape was easy from Redcloud.
Redcloud and Escape From the Wrath of God
I topped out on the neat red dirt cap as the hail and lightening crested the neighboring valley's boundaries. I asked a guy leaving the summit why he didn't want to wait for death This was my final official 14er 3000' climb, an important summit for me. I didn't take much time to savor the moment, quickly retreating down the Redcloud-Sunshine saddle.
Redcloud summit with Sunshine in background
At the first low point, I put on my rain gear. I have now summited 14ers 92 times, and have never come close to dangerous weather. I found out what it takes to hear that erie crackling sound from the rocks. You have to be really stupid: guilty as charged. The fastest decision I have ever made was to immediately scree ski at high speed down into the South Fork of Silver Creek. Without contact lenses this was an interesting fuzzy few minutes. Its was kind of like skiing in a white out, only hail was falling not snow.
Mangolishish in the South Fork of Silver Creek drainage, Sunshine in background
In the safety of the valley, I ate a mango and enjoyed the sunshine, then made my way down through neat lush forest to silver creek pausing to drink from the mineral rich stream (hopefully not lead or arsenic!). Out to the car by 1:30. The past 48 hours I had climbed nearly 15,000' of elevation and summited 7 ranked peaks. My feet prove it!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):