Sunshine Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2021-07-18, By: Wentzl
Info: Hiked Redcloud/Sunshine as a planned night hike. Descended NW Face of Sunshine, having been there before. All good to about 300 yards from rejoining the main trail. Avalanche debris was significant and in the dark, a long and difficult detour ensued. Likely would have been avoided in daylight, but I would like to hear from others who have been here since the obvious big avalanche a couple years back. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2021-07-05, By: Dignus
Info: Like most other trails Sunshine's East Ridge is 100% melted out. As the route description states the trail is rather faint but if you're observant you'll always find it. The one part that threw me off for more than a minute was crossing the first talus field. You need to duck around a tree and continue in a straight line and not turn left and go up what appears to be a trail (maybe that's more obvious when it's not 2:00am). Several steep dirt slopes make this a type 2 fun trail. After gaining the ridge it's pretty easy to navigate even in the dark. I'm not sure how easy it is to find the route down from ridge if you choose to descend the same way as I didn't see many cairns (but again it was still dark), and the loose dirt slope would probably not be fun to go down. I descended via Redcloud's standard and went over to Handies as well, both of which are fully melted out. https://youtu.be/QAiVM5aVMRM 
Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2021-07-04, By: soundchaser2112
Info: I ascended Sunshine via Redcloud but descended the northwest face route and despite the warnings the .com description gives about going down the wrong gully I thought the gully route wasn't difficult and isn't nearly as bad or sketchy as it looks (although I personally wouldn't want to ascend that direction). I also saw other groups ahead of me take different gullies down and they made it alright. After the gully descent it's smooth sailing with plenty of cairns all the way back to treeline. In the woods about a quarter of a mile out from rejoining the main trail there is some avy debris to navigate around but losing the trail shouldn't be an issue. Summer conditions on the entire Redcloud-Sunshine loop. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2021-06-02, By: carpincho97
Info: Did this route for my boyfriend's 1st 14er and my 5th (I'd already done Redcloud and wanted to do Sunshine separately). The trail is dry up until the very last pitch, around 13,600' or so. The snow at the very end was windswept, so not too much postholing at the end. It was sunny, with great weather all day, with only a fairly moderate wind at the top. We did wear spikes, which helped on both the snow and the steep dirt for the first few miles. A quick word of warning: the route is absolutely beautiful, but is much steeper than the standard route. I definitely recommend spikes and poles if you have them. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2021-06-02, By: abbie_sunshine
Info: The trail is dry up to the ridge -- all of the snow drifts around treeline mentioned in the previous reports have melted out and route-finding is significantly easier than it was earlier in May. From the ridge to the final summit push, there are snow patches but they're melting out quickly and are easy to avoid. The last 300 ft still had soft snow and there were some cornices on the left that you'll want to steer clear of. The traverse over to Redcloud had a little postholing but was mostly dry. I had microspikes and an ice ax but didn't really need either (although I would still bring them until things melt out a little more). I ended up making the route a circuit: traversing to Redcloud, going down the standard route to the Grizzly Gulch TH, and getting a ride back to my car at Mill Creek. I think it netted out at about 5300' elevation gain and 10.5 miles, so not too much more than the standard combo route. Overall a super fun loop that offered solitude on the way up Sunshine and then nice company on the summits. Great way to start the summer 14er season! 
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2021-06-01, By: rickingballs
Info: Car camped overnight and left the trailhead about 5am. There's not a lot of snow until above treeline. Did not have to endure any post holing on the way up redcloud/sunshine. After summiting redcloud and sunshine, just to be safe we took the same route back up and over recloud. As the temp increased the snow started to get soft and slushy. We ran into minor postholing on the way down from redcloud. I packed a sled and sledded down the majority of redcloud lol. As temps continue to increase I recommend snowshoes. All me and my hiking partner needed on 5/29 were microspikes. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2021-05-02, By: paigie_42
Info: Conditions are the same as the last report. Only thing I would add is that the snow is pretty sloppy, even in the morning. Get ready for lots of post holes! It was also hard to find the trail at tree line because of the snow drifts covering the trail. There is a defined boot path up through the snow to the ridge just after tree line, look for that. Did the traverse over to Redcloud. The trail was easy to find and parts were not covered in snow. Met some skiers on Sunshine that said Grizzly Gulch is open. 
3
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2021-04-26, By: NatDog
Info: The trail was completely dry until ~11,500'. From here until treeline there were patches of snow but nothing worth putting snowshoes on for. We wore snowshoes from treeline until where the ridge narrows at ~13,200' and stashed them there. From 13,200' to the summit there was intermittent, shallow snow. We never put the snowshoes back on for the descent and they probably weren't worth bringing on this day. The wind was calm in the early morning below treeline. Once we hit treeline around 5:00 A.M. the wind started and was consistently brutal the rest of the day. The forecast called for wind speeds up to 40 m.p.h. but it could have been more. It really made it too cold to ever take the mittens off (reason for not many photos). 
3
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2021-04-18, By: BillShatner
Info: Little snow until toward the end of treeline. Slick/muddy conditions from fresh snow during the hike on Saturday. After treeline, snow til the summit, a mix of hard pack and post holing. Spikes useful, but snowshoes would be too much. It snowed the entire hike, so our tracks will already be gone. 
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2021-03-07, By: JulianSmith
Info: No snow until 11,000' or so, which is a blessing. The climb up from the TH is super steep, and having a trail (of sorts) exposed was helpful. From there, pretty much continuous snow to the summit, except for a brief bit of dry skiing around 13,000'. Snow conditions on the descent seemed to touch on just about every season; 
10
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2021-01-05, By: JtheChemE
Info: Prior to Jan 5 snow: No snowshoes needed until ~11k. From there, old snowshoe trench has been refurbished and there is a strong trench until treeline. Breaking treeline has the potential area of concern regarding avalanche hazard, but was not an issue for us. Obviously make your own determination based on the day. Cached snowshoes at 11.3k which worked just fine as onward to Sunshine and on to Redcloud mostly windblasted rocks. 
4 2
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2020-11-17, By: Squirrellysquirrel
Info: Started around 7am to avoid the early morning winds, worked to advantage on the way up, not so great timing for descent, back at Mill Creek TH around 3:15pm, which was when the sun started to vanish behind the mountains at low elevation; blue bird day; afternoon temps ranged from 13-35'F. Did my best to kick-in a trail, follow GPS, and move cairns to higher visibility so that when snow is present, the trail *might* be easier to follow; and...!... there's now a nice trench to follow, so it might be easier/faster for the next hiker; it's still a booger-bear route of a 4500k+ elevation gain with ample ankle twisters and rocks waiting to bite under the snow. Microspikes and poles were helpful through steep parts of the trail within the treeline in the morning (ground was still adequately frozen); snowshoes were necessary starting around 11.2k for 1-2 feet of almost consolidated snow, still a little too powdery, with light eggshell crust; this was still within the treeline (tree wells present) and used to gain the ridge/elevation until about 13.6k. From here switched to boots to hop rocks to the top. At the top, there is a mushroom-like cap of snow that's sturdy and windblown, yet looks like a cornice in infancy on the southside, nothing that would interfere with either route, but certainly kept me off areas of the peak along its edges. Snow was relatively safe, CAIC rating of "Low" danger, snow level ranged from dusting to shin to knee deep; consistency was crunchy in the morning and a nice creamy sugar after noontime, which was great to traverse except for when descending in the tree lined areas of royal, slippery steepness. Several areas of hard, wind-blown snow around 12.3k, used to advantage to shorten the route or avoid obvious snow danger; snow did start to form soft, separating slabs upon descent, but didn't have much propagation beyond an inch or two (used ice ax for safety); might wish to check snow conditions along the way with the higher temps this week followed by another snowfall predicted for this weekend, looking like glassy snow features might form from upper treeline to maybe 12.2k. I've included pictures of nearby mountains for recon, after the winds last week, they look much more accessible. Redcloud traverse is pretty clear, too; had I had more time, would've gone for it; tracks of elk, rabbit, and mountain lion also present. 
10 2
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-10-11, By: durkan
Info: Out-and-back to avoid the slop-fest descent that is the NW Face. Dry. Straight-forward, though don't short cut the large switch backs after the saddle. 2 hrs maybe round trip including break at Sunshine, so boop it if you have the time! 
1
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-09-28, By: Marshall
Info: The traverse over is free of snow and an easy walk. Pretty cold and windy in the morning, though. A group came up the NW Ridge and said it was pretty crummy with loose rock down there. They were initially planning on going back down but chose to go over Redcloud because it was less headache. Another guy did the East Ridge and said it was a nice, isolated hike but pretty steep in parts. 
Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2020-09-25, By: Piotr
Info: Summer conditions, little of consolidated snow in the gully that makes dirt climbing easier. 
2
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-09-18, By: aussie
Info: Excellent conditions this morning. There was a few small sections of the trail with maybe 2-4 inches of snow. However, there was always a pretty good boot pack and some sections were a little easier when sticking with the snow. Snow was still quite firm around 10am. I didn't use traction, felt like summer hiking conditions. 
2
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-09-14, By: hotrodlx
Info: Slushy snow above tree line. Max 18" in drifts but mostly 3" or so. I didn't use spikes but had poles and was fine. Best to get up and down before 1pm if you dont have spikes or the mush becomes slick and very hard trekking. Frozen it's no problem and manageable. 
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-09-01, By: emroka
Info: The Lake City peaks above 13k got a nice dusting of snow yesterday. Picture is of some peaks near Redcloud and Sunshine. 
1
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-08-16, By: Shea
Info: My 11-year-old son and I hiked Redcloud and Sunshine yesterday. Beautiful day, clear skies, summer conditions. Started before daybreak at the spilling-over parking lot and finished in the afternoon. Lots of happy people on both summits 
4
Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2020-08-16, By: ClimberSkierDave64
Info: We went up the Northwest Face and then returned over Redcloud. The parking lot almost filled up and there were tons of people on the Redcloud trail but we didn't see anyone going up Sunshine's Northwest Face until we met people descending above the gully. The avalanche debris are best avoided by veering left onto a treeless hill when you reach the avalanche debris and then traversing until you regain the trail that takes you back into the trees and towards the Northwest Face. We went up the gully in the route description but stayed on the right side the whole way up. We climbed some very loose Class 3 on the side of the gendarme to the right to avoid the steep scree in the middle of the gully that had no traction. It is almost impossible to not let rocks loose as you climb. Just try to make sure you don't let loose a large rock. There is a misleading cairn if you head down this route that one group we saw headed to and then had to backtrack to the right gully. Just make sure you go to the right of the furthest right gendarme when looking down from above. If you are going to do a loop I recommend going up the Northwest Face and not down it. 

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