Peak:  Handies Peak (14er)
 Route:  East Slopes
 Range:  San Juan
 Posted By:  esskay1000
 Date of Info:  05/13/2012
 Date Posted:  05/13/2012

Great day on Handies today via Grizzly Gulch. Snow started in earnest around 12,000ft and made route finding a bit of a challenge, but not too bad. Snow was easily hikeable early in the morning, but the same fields were very soft on descent and I used my snowshoes once. The glissading opportunities are awesome and I knocked off about 600ft or so on two glissades (see pic). This is worth the climb alone!

Photos (click for slideshow):
Image #1

 Comments or Questions

05/15/2012 17:32
How necessary were snowshoes? would it be possible to summit without using any?


05/15/2012 20:52
You can definitely summit without them, especially if you leave early. Just expect some soft snow and postholing on the way down.


Degree of postholing difficulty
09/28/2012 21:03
Are we talking postholing to the waist or to the knee? A couple of hundred feet or a mile? Thanks for any input. I'm thinking of doing the same route on Saturday.


postholing on Handies
05/16/2012 18:25
I went in up to my thighs a couple times and I'm 6'4”. I summitted around 8:30am, so that was probably around between 9:30 and 10:30am. If you look on my pic above, both of the glissade runs were awesome and worh it, but both also require you to walk on some flat snow-covered areas to get to dirt once you run out of gravity, and those areas were getting soft by 10:30. If you stick to the route and don't glissade, you can avoid more of the snow, but still have to cross some. Different people have different tolerance levels for pain etc, so I don't know what you would consider too much, but to me this wasn't too bad. Some wasted energy pulling your legs out - yes. Wet feet? Definitely yes. There were also some spotty snow patches below treeline that were soft and were a pain. Overall I didn't consider it too bad. Plus you'll have another week of meliting. Hope this helps


09/28/2012 21:03
Thanks for the information, esskay1000. That gives me a much better feel for the conditions. The glissade run in your picture looks like a lot of fun.


05/17/2012 00:18
Good Luck!

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