| Redcloud Peak & Sunshine Twofer
Sunday May 27th – Bright eyed and busy tailed, we awoke at 4:50AM, drank our coffee and wolfed down some breakfast for our first hike of the trip. We left trailhead (Silver Creek) by 6 a.m. with our haywire dogs. Tugging us forward, dogs in the lead, we passed two other hikers. The first 2,000 elevation gain was an easy, heavily traveled trail that follows the creek for the most part. At this point, there were only patches of snow.
We passed some trails to our right that carved up snow embankments (later realizing they would have led to Sunshine) but we kept to the main route. We made it to the snow packed bowl in about 2 hours. Heading straight up the bowl, it led us to a lower ridge.
After a short rest we climbed up the snowy bowl to the rocky trail to Redcloud summit, the last push to Redcloud's peak wasn't too tough.
The higher ridges are snow covered over loose rock but we still hiked without snow shoes. We summited by 9:50 a.m. The top was breathtaking- no wind, warm and absolutely stunning views of Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and the San Juan range.
Our 30 minute rest ignited a new fire. We charged forward and took the saddle ridge to Sunshine Peak for our first "twofer". Near the top of Sunshine we put on our snowshoes as the hills were slick and fairly steep. We made the peak by 11:30 a.m. Winds were picking up a bit and we could see storms off in the distance hitting the Silverton area. We still were in luck with blue skies.
After a quick recharge, we realized we had to hike back down Sunshine and up Redcloud (a majority of the way) to find a safe place to glissade down. On our trek back down we came across the other two hikers. They recommended a route between the two peaks, closest to Redcloud.
At 1 p.m. we all hiked down this NE bowl. About ˝ way down Rick, Jen, dogs, and one of the climbers glissaded quite easily for 1,000 feet. The other hiker took the steep slope by skies. Because the sun was melting the snow by this time it was a tough ski down, slushy on top of concrete snow.
We all reached the bottom of the bowl safely, hikers taking the high trail to avoid crisscrossing the river while the skier glided along closer to the river. Again, due to sun melting the top layer of snow, we post holed for a mile, requiring us to wear snowshoes. It was a bit of a struggle, but we made it back to the main route by 2:40 and back to trailhead by 3:30. A beautiful 9 ˝ hour day of hiking- phew! We made it!
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