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 Peak(s):  Redcloud Peak  -  14,034 feet
Sunshine Peak  -  14,001 feet
Handies Peak  -  14,048 feet
 Post Date:  09/10/2008
 Date Climbed:   09/05/2008
 Posted By:  MUni Rider

 Redcloud-Sunshine-Handies, act one   

Hike date: 5 September 2008

Timeline:
7:10 a.m. start at Silver creek TH. Cool and breezy, the sun is up, but I'm walking in the shade of the mountain. Come on sun, come on!


8:00 brings me to the ice caves. The sun comes soon after.

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Looking back on the 1st "cave" that monster ice must have been 20 feet deep!

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Darkness within. It would have been a fun exploration with a headlamp, and waterproof boots. I am still headed up hill and don't want to hike with wet feet. On the way back, I still have to hike Handies. So no exploring today.

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The water is a light aqua-marine color due to the minerals in the water that had coated the rocks and wood bright white.


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Just downstream, the side creek has different minerals. I'm guessing Iron, blood red iron.

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Just below that, the avalanche that romed the ice cave has taken a toll on the trees around here. Nothing higher than a few feet is still standing.

But we are headed up, so lets turn this car around and resume our tracks up the hill...

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To the right, passing Redcloud's summit above it's cliffs.

9:20 and I'm standing on the ridge. The wind had been building all day. I't relentless headed up from the ridge. I had to hide behind some rocks for about 15 minutes to eat.

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View looking back the way we hiked.

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And the view over the other side where the grass really IS greener.

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From the ridge, the view looking toward the summit, left of center.

10:00 I make it to the top!...of a false summit.


10:20 I'm at the true summit. Just me and the wind. Lots of wind.

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Summit shot with the traverse to Sunshine in the distance.

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View toward Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre. Yeah, I know. The ground on Redcloud is VERY red!

Five minutes to take a few pics and I'm out of there.

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This way to Sunshine.

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Across the traverse and 1/2 up the slope to Sunshine you come to this break in the rocks and a nice view.

11:20 One hour later and I'm across the ridge and up ontop of Sunshine.

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View of Handies from the top of Sunshine.

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View of Redcloud form Sunshine.

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Look at that skree slope coming off Redcloud. That's a long one!

The wind has not relented so I'm out of there after 15 minutes, (11:35).

11:48 and I'm at the lowest point on the saddle looking at a sign that says it's dangerous to go down here. So I go down. It's super loose. It started out as a trail but soon gives way to straight down sand/gravel/then rock channels the water had etched out of the skree.

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View from about 1/3 the way down elevation-wise.

I can surf/ski a bit. But it's fast. Too fast in some places so I have to arrest my speed. But at one point near the end I stand on a flat plate rock and surf it down the rocks 100 feet or so. It would bog down into the fist-sized rocks every 20-30 feet, I'd reset and head down again. This is a DOWN route ONLY!!! It would take hours to get back up what took minutes to descend.

12:10 p.m. and I'm standing on stable ground in the talus fields of valley below.

12:25 talus gives way to the first grass.

12:30 Trail passes through the first Engelmann pines.

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12:35 Treeline is reached. Great camping area if one is so inclined to carry all their crap all the way up here.

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Not far below treeline is this neat old cabin.

1:05 I'm back on the main trail. The junction is 100 yards uphill of the 1st ice cave that you saw in the earlier pictures.

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On the way out I am greated with a framed view of Handies where I am headed now.

I forgot to log what time I got back to the trailhead. Probably 1:30.

I will resume the trip report in act two.....

http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=5237&cpgm=tripmain



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