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 Peak(s):  Redcloud Peak  -  14,034 feet
Sunshine Peak  -  14,001 feet
Handies Peak  -  14,048 feet
 Post Date:  07/16/2009 Modified: 09/24/2009
 Date Climbed:   07/12/2009
 Posted By:  mt_turtle

 A tribute to my wife!   

My wife and I have been married now for a year and a half. When we first met, she noticed I had summit pictures on my fridge. She began talking to one of my friends about hiking. She was really working on a date with me. It worked, but she had no idea what she was in for. I asked her out on a hiking date. She had never hiked above tree-line. I took her up the Ben Tyler trail to see the aspens changing. She almost made it to tree-line. The next year 2008 we got married. We began getting backpacking gear and planning for 14ers. Our first backpacking trip was set for Arapaho Pass, just to get her feet wet. We camped at the Fourth of July Mine (11,245ft). The next day we did South Arapaho Peak (13,400ft). We would go on do nine 14ers together last year. We have become a good hiking team. I'm thankful for her support and companionship in this great sport, even when she is ready to kill me at 13,500ft . This report is a tribute to her, my loving wife!

Here she is at the trailhead, ready to go.

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We set up camp at tree line. This location would double as a storm shelter the next day on our way down. Three people would get trapped on the saddle between Redcloud and Sunshine in a lightning storm, more to come in the report. Handies is in the background.

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As we reached the saddle, Redcloud was staring us down. The hike was easy up to this point, now the work begins.

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Getting closer!

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Here is a good look at the final push up Redcloud.

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From Redcloud looking back down at the route and saddle.

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We got this picture on Redcloud on the way back from Sunshine. I love this peak, it is very unique.

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Here is the infamous warning sign at the low point between Sunshine and Redcloud.

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My wife making her way to the summit of Sunshine, it is a little longer then it looks from Redcloud.

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This picture was taken from the summit of Sunshine, looking back at Redcloud and the route.

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The picture below was taken on our way down. We were at 12,500 and lightning was all around. We were glad to be off the peak. We passed many people as we were coming down between 13,500 and 13,000 that were still heading up. At this time it started to hail, the time was 11:30. We did talk to others about the weather, but everyone we passed continued up. We made it to our tent. It was about 12:15. Lightning was still all around and then came the heavy rain. We made just in time. My wife was a little nervous. I said something about sticking your tail straight up in the air. I heard it is the best place to get hit. She never bit; we both ended up taking a much needed nap.

After the storm passed we packed up and headed down. On the way down we ran into a man who was stuck 200 feet below the peak of Redcloud, on the saddle to Sunshine. He told us he was up there with another couple and how they had to hunker down just below the peak through the storm. He said at one point he looked over at the lady and her hair was sticking straight up and how all the metal was humming. He said he touched a metal button and it shocked him. I have read about this phenomenon many times on this site. He also mentioned how his legs were cramping and how cold he got. He didn't bring extra clothes with him. I was thankful that we got an early start and heeded the warnings about getting of the peaks by noon.

Now we were off to the American Basin to do Handies the next day.

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The next morning started off beautiful. We felt good as we headed up the trail to Handies.

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This really is an easy hike, especially after doing Redcloud/Sunshine the day before. Here comes my wife to the top of Handies. It almost looks as though she is swimming in a sea of mountains. Awesome!

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Here she is on top with our next goal in the background. We hope to do Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre soon!

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Below you can see the silhouette of Redcloud and Sunshine.

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Looking to the West there was a storm quickly approaching and at 9:15 we heard the first thunder clap. We were on our way down. One group decided to turn around and they couldn't believe there was lightning this early. I was telling everyone I saw about the people that got caught on the peak the day before.

My wife wanted to get down and keep saying "Just give them the short story and let's get out of here".

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With a few more thunder claps my wife was now really moving.

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Of course I wanted to stop and smell the roses. The flowers were out in plenty.

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And as fast as the weather changes, it cleared up enough for us to enjoy the wild flowers and get our camp packed.

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Here is a bouquet of columbines just for my wife. I love you dear! Real women love wild flowers, roses are for …. I'll tread lightly here.

Proverbs 31: 10 An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.

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This was a great trip and the timing on everything worked out perfect for us. The lightning and rain began just as we were driving out. Here we are crossing the creek after leaving the trail head. Happy Trails!

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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
Presto


Flowers ...     2011-02-04 17:22:15
What great floral photos! So glad that you can share your climbs with your wife. My husband and I have been climbing together for over 25 years. May the two of you be as blessed. Love the scripture. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


bergsteigen


Storm Avoidance     2009-07-16 12:58:36
Glad you guys made it off the peaks before the storms. We were worried while going down Sundog, about all the people we saw high up on the ridge of Redcloud & Sunshine. Good to hear they survived it.


mt_turtle


Thanks for the picture!     2009-07-16 14:44:46
Yea! I was worried about a family with two kids we passed. They must have finally turned around. They passed us in the hail and my wife keep saying how they weren‘t thinking. I‘m sure they will be more cautious next time. I figured you three were already across Sundog and heading down. The two guys that came behind you had stories of their own. One went down the gully, the other over Sundog. Interesting day, we too were glad no one got hurt!


uwe

Sweet, sweet story     2009-07-17 20:06:52
Never lose the honeymoon feeling.

Love the flora, too!


kickintalus

Question about the 4WD road     2009-07-20 20:38:45
Hi,
First, great trip report. Thanks for all the pics. My wife has done one 14er with me and I‘m hoping she will do more in the future. This report will hopefully inspire her.

I‘m thinking of doing Handies this weekend. I have AWD, but not great ground clearance. How is the 4WD road to the upper trailhead (last .9 miles according to the guidebook)? How concerned should I be about ground clearance?


TerryLiv

Handies Road     2009-07-21 15:26:19
I have a 2006 Toyota Highlander with 7.5” of ground clearance and made it (hit no rocks) that Friday night (10th) and again Saturday (11th) night (11th). Great water feature in the creek at the end of the road where I slept Saturday night.

Terry


mt_turtle


4WD Road     2010-11-30 10:28:47
The Jeep Patriot we have has 8" of clearance and is only the 2WD model. It was raining when we went to the trailhead and it did fine. Someone said they made it in an Outback, that would have made me a little nervous, I don't know the Outback's ground clearance. There is one section just past the creek crossing that had some big rocks and uphill, but you can stop after the creek, walk up and look at it.



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