Peak(s):  Redcloud Peak  -  14,034 feet
Sunshine Peak  -  14,001 feet
Date Posted:  09/27/2011
Date Climbed:   09/24/2011
Author:  gonzalj
 Redcloud & Sunshine - Standard Route  

Well, it was a great fall gathering meeting numerous other 14ers members and having a good old time. While most of the group ended up going up handies on Saturday, I instead chose redcloud/sunshine as I had hiked handies earlier this summer and wanted to do the group and was joined by tundratif and somethingrandom. We're maneuvering our way through the trees and admiring the beauty of all the green & gold and seeing great views of handies all the way to the beginning of the basin and while it toom about 2 hours and a little over 2 miles to reach the basin, it was fairly mellow gradual hiking and very scenic & enjoyable. As we're making our way up the basin up to the ridge, it got a little steep in parts, but still not bad and then we can see the ridge route that goes up to the false summit of redcloud. Once we reached the ridge and started making our way up the steep switchbacks to redcloud, the 1st challenge begun. There was a little snow on the route, but overall not bad and microspikes weren't needed. After 4 hours, we finally reached the redcloud summit and spectacular views in every direction of every san juan 14er. After a couple of photos and brief stint on redcloud, tundratif and I make our way down the saddle between redcloud & sunshine. Going down to the bottom of the saddle was fairly easy and no big deal and then as the ascent up to sunshine began the next obstacle. There really wasn't much of a route and the entire way was an ascent of scree, which made both the ascent and descent challenging and care was taken with foot placements, but after about an hour and 10 minutes, we were up on sunshine, greeted with the same awesome views and also getting to meet mongoose and do a little topless planking up on sunshine (fun times). On the way back to redcloud, the ascent was slow as the legs by this point in time were burning a little from all the up & down and distance covered by this point, but fortunately the slope up to redcloud from the saddle isn't that steep compared to other 14ers I've done and then we all made our way back to the TH and arrived there 9 hours and 45 minutes after starting (close to an hour of that time was spent hanging out on the redcloud & sunshine summits). Overall, I think other hikes like the Massive SW slopes, Yale, La Plata, Sneffels, Castle & Belford were all steeper hikes than these two, but definitely a good challenge with all the distance and elevation gain, but well worth it for the spectacular scenery seen on these two mountains.

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