| Sunshine and Redcloud Ski Descents
Silver Creek Trailhead at 10,400'
South Fork Silver Creek Drainage to Base of Sunshine North Slopes
Sunshine's Summit via North Couloirs and NW Face
Ski Descent of Sunshine Northeast Face to 12,800'
Climb back to Sunshine Redcloud Saddle, Traverse to Redcloud
Ski Descent of Redcloud Northeast Face to Silver Creek Drainage
-Elevation Climbed: 5,200'
-Vert skied: 3,600'
-Mileage RT: 10.5 miles
- Round Trip Time: 9.5 hours
Route: climb blue, debbie green, ski red
Ascent of Sunshine:
Debbie is out of school and ready to finish the 14ers! She has the difficult peaks left and the Handies group, so thats where we headed to get her mountain legs back. The trip had been planned for a while, off we went toward the San Juans. The drive from Boulder all the way to the trailhead takes about 5.5 hours, we had the tent up and hit the sack at 11pm. Two other groups of people were camped near the parking area.
A 4:45 am start was in store to catch the corn cycle and find easy frozen snow for climbing. The plan was to get Sunshine first via its north slopes, ski its northeast face and then head over to Redcloud. The stream crossing to leave the Silver Creek drainage and enter the South Fork of Silver Creek drainage is the first obstacle to this route.
Debbie crosses Silver Creek
Progress was swift up into the upper basin where first light hit Sun Dog, 13,432'.
A new day touches the rugged east face of Sun Dog
The path up the basin was clear; we stayed in the creek bed. This wouldn't be a good idea in the afternoon, as a good deal of this area is undercut by the stream.
Skinning toward Sunshine north slopes
We found a really cool natural ice feature through here where the stream had broken through its roof of ice.
We opted to climb one of the moderate couloirs in Sunshine's lower north face.
Sunshine north slopes
Just as we entered the apron, a significant rock fall occurred out of the rock band above us. Lucky, nothing more than softball size debris fell around us, but there was a lot of it, probably 50 pieces. Debbie batted one with her pole and one struck my boot. We could have avoided this by beating the sun to the rocks. The maximum angle was found in the very top of the couloir at 43 degrees.
We finished the climb up the northwest face just as sun came over the summit ridge above.
Debbie climbs the northwest face of Sunshine
Looking down our ascent route from the summit of Sunshine
The summit was well covered in snow, the views of the San Juans were excellent.
Debbie topped out on her 43rd 14er
Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn
The saddle to Redcloud
Ski Descent of Sunshine:
It was 9:30 and the snow on the northeast face of Sunshine was perfect. This was the best corn I have skied on any peak. So much fun… I was smiling the whole run. Debbie took pics from a little ways down the ridge.
Skiing Sunshine Peak
Climb to Redcloud:
I skied down to 12,700', then booted back up to the low point in the Sunshine/Redcloud saddle. The snow on the boot was still solid requiring several kicks for each step. Debbie had a sandwich while waiting for me, and then together we headed over to Redcloud.
Hiking the ridge between Sunshine and Redcloud
Here comes a head shot:
On the summit of Redcloud, Debbie's 44th!
Ski Descent of Redcloud:
I opted to ski the northeast face, as the snow was still stable. Debbie walked a bit down the ridge to get some more ski pics. Another great ski down high 30 and low 40 degree terrain.
Skiing Redcloud's northeast face
Ski route, can you spot me?
At the bottom of the main face I traversed out to just above the saddle of the standard route to meet up with Debbie who had descended the ridge. Many more turns were earned down the Silver Creek drainage. Debbie got in some nice glissading. The snow was continuous to within a quarter mile of the South Fork confluence.
Finishing the ski
Debbie glissades back to camp
The view of Handies from this drainage is memorable.
Handies from Silver Creek Drainage