| Handies Peak- Silver Creek-Grizzly Gulch TH
Date: August 26, 2007
Team: USAKeller and TalusMonkey
After finishing the Fourteeners last week, TalusMonkey joined me with some repeats on peaks that I have not yet done with the intention of Redcloud and Sunshine on Saturday, and Handies on Sunday.
The alarm went off at 4:15am Saturday and the weather did not look promising as it had been thundering and pouring rain since 3:15am. Four hours later, we saw a window of sun and decided to head for the Silver Creek TH. On the drive there, it rained again, but we didn't decide to call it off. We chose to climb Handies rather than Redcloud and Sunshine due to the late start. At the TH, the rain stopped and we began hiking at 9:45am! The road to the TH is in decent condition and wasn't a problem for a 2WD rental Chevy Cobalt (Note: not a great car to rent!).
Because of the weather the night before, most of the peaks nearby were brushed with snow. The trail is a well-defined, easy walk-up to the summit.
A view of Handies Peak below tree line:
As we gained the ridge, we passed a few groups of people warning us that there was a big storm headed our way. We kept going until we could see it- it definitely didn't look good, however, we were just 300ft. shy of the summit and still headed up. Quickly, lightning and thunder were overhead (this was the most threatened I have felt by weather) and we were forced to turn around and run from it- the sleet that hit us was pretty hard and somewhat painful! We dropped 200ft. off the ridge to some larger rocks to huddle near.
The remaining route (and storm) from the rock pile:
We waited 20-25min. for the snow storm to pass and rushed for the summit. Without the delay, our total time of climbing was 2hrs. 27min. The skies opened up for some pictures.
TalusMonkey and USAKeller on the summit of Handies Peak with Wetterhorn Peak (to the left) in the far distance:
We made it back down in 1hr. 35min. Along the way, we passed the groups of people we saw on the way up who informed us that they were glad to see us safe, and were surprised that we made the summit!!
Despite the unfavorable weather conditions and very late start, we made the appropriate decision to climb Handies Peak.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):