| Sunshine Peak (NW face) - Redcloud Standard
Arrive: 5pm Friday 9/4
The access road was fairly busy (not unexpected on a holiday weekend); definitely easier accessed with a high clearance vehicle, but we saw several passenger cars (Honda Civic, Ford Focus) that arrived with careful driving at trailhead.
Great campsite in the Willows next to the Lake Fork of the Gunnsion, just a short walk from the parking. Much more secluded than the open area next to the Silver Creek TH
Next morning an early start at 5:30 (since the weather peoples were hinting at higher chance of showers).
We were keeping an eye out for the cairn's pointing us toward the NW face of Sunshine, we found them almost exactly at 11,300ft across from a obvious drainage.
From there it is an obvious trail to the basin below Sundog and Sunshine. With great views of Sundog's multi-colored slopes.
As you leave treeline, the trail becomes spotty, but you can easily see the gully pointed out in Bill's route.
Before and after climbing the gully we noted that there was another cairned route to the right of the gully described in Bill's route. We infact saw another group climbing one of these gullies before us that morning. We didn't get a good pictures of the entire cliff band, but the picture below shows the direction these gullies are from the one we climbed (blue arrow, red arrow is Bill's route). They appeared to be easier and wider than the one we took.
This gully was extremely eroded without any good spots to place feet or hands. After helping a friend out of difficulty in the center of the gully; we spotted a more stable route to climbers left. The possible routes are marked on the following picture.
Top of the gully
Once you top out on the gully the route is very straight forward, if not unpleasant, on the very small talus and scree. We took the western ridge which provided some excellent views down toward the trailhead and Cinnamon pass.
Obligitory summit shots
We forgot the standard coors lights for the summit. So that and the worsening weather conditions, promted us to head for Redcloud. The traverse was very obvious and a fun ridge walk with amazing views. We ended up not having an opportunity to enjoy them for very long as the storms started to let go. No thunder and lightning, but plenty of graupel and wind!
Obligatory summit shots from Redcloud
We beat feet of the summit of Redcloud before the weather deteriorated any more; lo and behold it started clearing a few hundred feet below the summit, for a pleasant hike down on a great trail with more spectacular views! We saw a family of Ptarmigans in the meadow, and stopped to let them cross the trail.
I would definitely recommed this loop! We saw only one other group on the ascent, the traverse to Redcloud and descent from are nice shallow slopes on great trails. It probably wouldn't be nearly as pleasant in reverse, as the steep gullies on Sunshine are are loose and nasty. The conditions are great right now, get up and climb a few before winter (and a few in winter, too).
GPS Points on loop
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):