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Handies peak?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Handies peak?

Postby phusion » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:12 pm

Hi all,

So I'm going to be in the Telluride/Durango area next week and I'd like to do a solo climb of Handies Peak and, depending on my schedule, maybe Red Cloud and Sunshine. Handies would be my first 14er!

I have lived in Albuquerque most of my life and I consider myself to be in pretty good shape. I have climbed Mt. Wheeler (~13,100) a handful of times and spend a lot of my weekends at high altitude. So I am not worried about the altitude or my fitness level...

However, I had a couple of questions for the more experienced climbers:

1) I only plan on hiking in regular hiking boots and do not plan on bringing any kind of ice or snow gear (except for gaitors if needed). From the pics, it looks like Handies is pretty dry by mid June. Is that the case this year? Will it be safe to climb it w/o any of this gear?

2) I plan on driving near or all the way to Grizzly Gulch trailhead from Lake City. I have an AWD Subaru w/ limited clearance...Will I be able to make it all the way to Grizzly Gulch or will I need to leave the car along the road and hike the rest of the way?

3) Anything else I should be concerned about? Is this a good newbie peak to start with or is there another one in the area that you recommend?

Thanks! This place is a goldmine of information... :D

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Handies and Sunshine/Redcloud

Postby San Juan Ron » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:18 pm

There are several of us doing Handies on June 12 (Tue) and Sunshine/Redcloud on June 13 (Wed). You are certainly welcome to join us. Send me a PM if interested.

According to several who have recently done the hikes (correct me if I am wrong), snowshoes or crampons are not needed. A few small snow fields which are easy to cross is about it. In addition, the weather should be nice for the next week which should melt a good portion of the remaining snow.

Your Subaru should have no problem getting to the TH for Grizzly Gulch.

Ron

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Postby phusion » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:27 pm

Hey Ron, thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I'm cannot leave ABQ until Tuesday and don't plan on getting up to Grizzly Gulch until Thursday. I would absolutely take you up on the offer if our schedules coincided!

Have fun...

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Postby San Juan Ron » Mon Jun 04, 2007 10:34 pm

"Anything else I should be concerned about? Is this a good newbie peak to start with or is there another one in the area that you recommend?"

Handies is the perfect peak for a newbie. I take out of state newbies up Handies all the time............Ron

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Postby Jcwhite » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:04 pm

take a look at the Trip report section, I was there last week. There is still a lot of snow there.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming WOW! WHAT A RIDE."- Hunter S Thompson

Kiefer

Re: Handies peak?

Postby Kiefer » Tue Jun 05, 2007 6:02 am

phusion wrote:Hi all,

So I'm going to be in the Telluride/Durango area next week and I'd like to do a solo climb of Handies Peak and, depending on my schedule, maybe Red Cloud and Sunshine. Handies would be my first 14er!

I have lived in Albuquerque most of my life and I consider myself to be in pretty good shape. I have climbed Mt. Wheeler (~13,100) a handful of times and spend a lot of my weekends at high altitude. So I am not worried about the altitude or my fitness level...

However, I had a couple of questions for the more experienced climbers:

1) I only plan on hiking in regular hiking boots and do not plan on bringing any kind of ice or snow gear (except for gaitors if needed). From the pics, it looks like Handies is pretty dry by mid June. Is that the case this year? Will it be safe to climb it w/o any of this gear?

2) I plan on driving near or all the way to Grizzly Gulch trailhead from Lake City. I have an AWD Subaru w/ limited clearance...Will I be able to make it all the way to Grizzly Gulch or will I need to leave the car along the road and hike the rest of the way?

3) Anything else I should be concerned about? Is this a good newbie peak to start with or is there another one in the area that you recommend?

Thanks! This place is a goldmine of information... :D


I, Shanahan96 and JamieNellis were down there and climbed Handies (among others) last Saturday. You can make it up to the American Basin TH if you want. Though Grizzley would be more convienent for all three. Handies doesn't require crampons what-so-ever. Snowshoes are neglible at best. We didn't use them though we had them. Snow is amply hard to provide enough purchase with regular hiking boots. Bring gators though! You will posthole periodically in the afternoon but not enough to warrant having snowshoes. The American Basin side is FULL OF SNOW. Grizzley side is a little better. We glissaded the entire west face back down to the TH, so I can't really say how much you'll posthole.
BUT, bring gators and snowpants and poles. I'll post some pictures later this afternoon.

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Postby MrsPalmer » Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:27 am

A couple years ago we tried to hike Handies via the Grizzly Gultch trail.
We didn't have a high clearance vehicle, just a rental, so we didn't want to mess it up and had to hike a long way just to get to the GG TH. So needless to say it was late in the day before we had to turn around for thunder showers (booo)

Anyway to add to this thread, this year we have our new used trusty 4wd Tacoma with a insulated camper shell.
We've heard and read that the hike up to Handies is easier via the American Basin TH. The Grizzly Gultch sure was beautiful though, and ultimately we'd like to do that one again, but I have some additional questions about American Basin TH...

How rough is the road up to the American Basin Trailhead?
How safe is it to camp overnight inside the truck? (I really want to do this!)
Since it's above the tree line do we need to be concerned about bears or more so people. I heard a story here last year about someone snooping around vehicles at a trailhead at night :shock:

What are your opinions & suggestions.
Thanks in advance ;)

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Postby Jim Davies » Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:32 am

I drove a Subaru Legacy station wagon (poor ground clearance) to the Grizzly Gulch TH last year. There are a few rock outcroppings across the road that need to be driven carefully, but I don't think I hit bottom once.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Postby Matt » Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:18 am

Phusion,
I'm sitting in the Satellite over on Louisiana by Coronado Mall... :D
Check this out.
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/trailhead ... hparm=sj12
A subaru is good to go to Grizzly Gulch, and skill-dependent to American Basin. If you're good behind the wheel, you can make it.
Have fun.

Mrs. Palmer--I slept up there last week in the back of my truck. Fear the marmots, they are out of control in American Basin. No bears, no worries.
We are all greater artists than we realize -FWN
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -HDT
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Postby jamienellis » Tue Jun 05, 2007 10:45 am

How safe is it to camp overnight inside the truck? (I really want to do this!)
Since it's above the tree line do we need to be concerned about bears or more so people. I heard a story here last year about someone snooping around vehicles at a trailhead at night.

As skasgaard said, we were in American Basin this past weekend. We saw a coyote Saturday morning and Roozers42 and her husband saw a mountain lion the morning before. :shock:

I slept in the back of my Pathfinder. Shanahan96 and skasgaard slept behind the truck on the ground w/ only sleeping bags. We didn't have any problems.

Also, shanahan96 and chicagotransplant saw a bear in the vicinity (Cuba gulch) in October. So, I'd say nothing is outside the realm of possibility...
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Postby phusion » Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:01 am

del_sur wrote:Phusion,
I'm sitting in the Satellite over on Louisiana by Coronado Mall... :D
Check this out.
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/trailhead ... hparm=sj12
A subaru is good to go to Grizzly Gulch, and skill-dependent to American Basin. If you're good behind the wheel, you can make it.
Have fun.
.


Well hey there neighbor! Good to see another Burque person around here. Maybe we can hook up for a 14er one weekend...

I think I'd like to start the climb from Grizzly Gulch as, correct me if I'm wrong, it is a bit longer hike.

Thanks to everyone for the great information. I'll post back w/ a trip report!

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Postby Big Tex » Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:55 am

I might hold the record for the lowest clearance to American Basin TH. Last year I drove my tiny Chevy Aveo up there and didn't hit once. I was told by multiple people on the road I'll never make it. I showed them when I reached the parking. YEAH!!

It's an awesome mountain to claim as your first though. It was July 2nd when I went and it was clear of snow.

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