Peak(s):  Redcloud Peak  -  14,034 feet
Sunshine Peak  -  14,001 feet
Date Posted:  06/29/2011
Date Climbed:   06/26/2011
Author:  Zambo
 Sunny San Juans  

Climbers: Me and the Wifey
Conditions: Beautiful. A few small snowfields beneath Redcloud's 13,000ft saddle, other than that, totally clear including the Redcloud-Sunshine connecting ridge.
Summary: Nothing too special or earth-shattering here: a fun weekend in Lake City followed by a standard day out on these beautiful peaks.

As any Denverite knows, the San Juans are just far enough away to be especially inconvenient for a day trip. With that in mind, the wife and I decided to take a weekend away to hang out in Lake City and explore some of the Northern San Juan's beautiful peaks.

We departed Denver early Saturday and spent the afternoon hanging out in Lake City and the surrounding area. Katie had never been that way, so it was fun to explore. Lake San Cristobal (gorgeous), Poker Alice, The Alpine Loop, Lake City so many other 14er climbers have found, this is really cool little town with lots of history, and only a few crazy locals

One stop I did want to mention was Russ Brown and his beautiful gallery in town. Maybe other people on the site have visited, but his art and paintings are truly remarkable. Approx 50% of his painting are airplanes (which happens to be a hobby of mine, so that was sweet), but he also does some very beautiful work of the peaks and nature.

The reason I mention him is because I highly recommend a stop in if you're down that way. Some of his work of the mountains is incredible, and he does commissions as well. I'm am absolutely considering bringing some of my favorite climbing pics to see about some commission work.

The Russ Brown Gallery. Lots and lots of planes.
Russ showing me some nature pieces. Talking with him, you can tell he's got a LOT of practice chit-chatting w/ Lake City tourists ;)
Lake San Cristobal. Hard to belive this is CO's second biggest natural lake - went for a run on Saturday, and only took 45 minutes to circle it.
Doing the Lake City tourist thing.

Anyways...on to the peaks.

We drove to the TH and pitched a tent the night before. I can't even remember the last time I got 8 hours of sleep before a climb, so the full night's rest was much appreciated. 5:00 had us on the trail and being quickly chased by the dawn.

Handies smiles up at us in the morning.

The trail up is mostly snow free-with a few very easy snowfield across the trail at points. Breaking tree line, we got first glimpses into the basin beneath Redcloud's Northeastern flanks. It not all too often in Colorado that you get to hike through an alpine basin covered in green, and we loved the spot.

Relaxed, green, and wide this basin.
Looking back down the route.
Beta shot beneath Redcloud's saddle. Although as you can see, there's really nothing left to even report. Only 1 or 2 fields had to be crossed

Reaching the saddle, the peak wasn't too crowed. Maybe a dozen or so people out in the morning. The route was snow-free from the saddle all the way to Sunshine and back.

Other side of the saddle towards the Alpine Loop.
All clear to the false summit. Of course, that didn't stop the group from NM going too far and getting off route, stuck in the loose choss.
Kinda cool one.
Beautiful to watch Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre slowly come into view while ascending Recloud. Always amazed at how massive Uncompahgre is...

These are easy peaks, and we topped out in what seemed like no time. As usual, the views from Colorado's highest places are well worth the effort every single time.

Kinda different summit pick.
The monarch of the San Juans
Looking over to Sunshine. Snow-free the whole way.
To copy Bill's line...Redcloud, sky blue.

Originally planning to only do one peak, Katie was feeling good and decided to make the trek over to Sunshine with me. A bit further than it looks, we eventually got there.

The best kind of climbing partner.
Mountains, mountains everywhere...what a range.

The climb back was bit rough as the wind picked up and the altitude started to get to poor Katie. Slowly but surely though, we made it back over Redcloud and back to tree line.

Making it out, Handies in the afternoon sun.
Everytime I see this one I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Haha, needless to say, Katie wasn't feeling too good on the way out.

The high TH for these peaks is much appreciated on the walk out, we were off before we knew it.

Again, noting too special from a mountaineering perspective, but nonetheless a terrific day out in the Colorado high country. Excited for all the other San Juan trips planned this Summer.

Happy climbing!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Good Trip Report
06/30/2011 13:17
Nice Pics. Doing same trip next week.


husband and wife
06/30/2011 14:04
It's always good to see a husband and wife getting out together.


06/30/2011 23:49
Nice to see you guys got both.


well rounded report
07/01/2011 15:36
Nice description of your interest in airplanes and this guy Russ Brown's gallery. I always pass through Lake City without much thought to swing in and check out the town. There is a lot of history to this state, always interesting to take a break from chasing peaks to learn a thing or two about who came before you, not to mention checking out the local flavor of the secluded mountain towns.

Good to see couples getting out together. I had a girlfriend in high school who loved the outdoors, but she turned out to be an absolute psycho (probably just as much my fault as it was hers anyway). Anyway, I feel you can learn a lot about each other on trips like this. If you can put up with each other while sharing a tent, all dirty, muggy and tired and still find ways to get along, thats a special thing.


Nice Dood
07/01/2011 22:24
Glad you were able to nab both peaks and turn it into somewhat of a relaxing weekend with the wife in a unique corner of the state. I hope to take Al up a few peaks this summer in a similar fashion.


I'm a wifey too
07/02/2011 01:28
Loved your trip report. I hike/climb with the hubby so I would be the wifey too. Hope Katie felt better by the time you got down. Beautiful/creative photos.


07/02/2011 02:08
Very cool to do these with the wife. Way to go, David!

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