Support 14ers.com
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...
 Peak(s):  Handies Peak  -  14,048 feet
 Post Date:  06/30/2009
 Date Climbed:   06/23/2009
 Posted By:  Mooney Pilot

 Close, But No Summit   

For my first 14er of the season, I decided to have a go at Handies Peak. It was on the list of "easier" 14ers and was near Pagosa Springs, where my wife, my son Cody, and I were spending some vacation time away from the Texas heat. So on a late June afternoon Cody and I abandoned Beverly in Pagosa, drove over to Lake City, and set up camp at the Grizzly Gulch campground. The night was clear with countless stars out. We had an enjoyable evening visiting with other hikers around a campfire, turned in early, and were on the trail well before daybreak.

Immediately after passing the tree line, we were greeted by this view of Handies bathed in early morning sunlight:

Image


There is a solid trail all the way, and the peak stays in view the entire hike:
Image
There are several water crossings requiring some rock hopping:

Image
On the trail to the ridge, approaching from the right side, we became concerned about the snow up ahead:
Image
A closer view as we approached the snow fields:

Image
At around 13,500, the trail was covered by this snow field:
Image

There were footprints in the snow that we could step in without needing the gaiters in our backpacks. But the snow was slushy and slippery. I took a few steps and the unstable footing was just outside my comfort zone. One slip would have resulted in a disastrous tumble. So we turned back within 500 feet of the summit. We didn't have crampons or ice axes. But even if we had, there wasn't much in the loose snowy mush to grab onto.

Even though we didn't reach the summit, it was a fun adventure. And as a consolation prize, we had this view as we hiked back to the campground:

Image

The Handies summit will have to wait for another day. But I'm in no hurry. That mountain isn't going anywhere. And I'll be back.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (2)
bookofjohash


you‘ll be back     2009-06-30 18:58:45
Great mindset, I had my first turnaway to weeks ago on Belford. The mountain will remain for another day. Hard thing to grasp at first, but I‘m not going for a record here! It will wait for my end of summer summit!


Aubrey


It‘s worth returning to     2009-07-01 12:44:23
Sorry to hear you didn‘t make it, but it sounds like a good decision, based on your situation. Thanks for posting conditions ... I hope to be up there soon.



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2014 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.