Peak(s):  Handies Peak  -  14,048 feet
Date Posted:  07/02/2012
Modified:  02/20/2015
Date Climbed:   07/02/2012
Author:  Stee Vee Dee
 Handling Handies the Second Time Around  

In late August 2006, I attempted Handies after an early morning rain in Lake City. I could see snow on the summit, but perservered until about 13000. There was intermittent thundersnow with clearing off periods. I had never seen such rapid weather shifts. Image
Handies with snow above 13000 in August 2006

In July 2012, the weather was much better. Handies was by far the easiest 14er remaining on my list, so it looked like a good warmup for the 2012 season. We took the Ford Fusion (5" clearance) up the shelf road to Grizzly Gulch trailhead with no problems, just going slow and careful. Image
Handies from trailhead in September 2008
Important Trailhead Info--Restrooms

Going up Handies was a treat this time around. We reached timberline in an hour Image
Handies Peak in July 2012--no snow
and the summit in a little less than four hours. There was excellent scenary in all directions with profuse wildflowers. Image
Wildflowers along the way
Handies from Treeline
Beth climbing through the upper 12's
Such a change from Kansas where it has been quite hot and dry.

This route was not particularly busy for a Monday. There were even a few runners training for a long trail run that included the top of Handies. Although I run a couple of miles a day at 1300 feet, I am not up to running that distance, at this elevation, and on rocks. Kudos to them. The surrounding peaks that I have not climbed: WetterhornImage
Wetterhorn from 13000--one of the targets for next year
and the Wilsons from about 25 miles away Image
The Vermillion Group from the summit. Someday, Maybe
As well as old friends: UncompahgreImage
Uncompahgre from a hazy summit
. The last 1000 feet to the summit went fine as well. Image
Wildflowers higher up
Approaching the summit
Looking down the summit ridge

What do you do atop a 14er? I eat and take pictures;Image
Wetterhorn from a hazy summit
Sloan Lake
Together on the summit
however, if you are an athletic young man, you do pushups, lots of pushups. Image
Sean--first 14er--planning on pushups
I am not sure that I can do pushups at sea level, much less at 14000 feet. Kudos to him as well. A family of Michiganders who had ascended from American Basin joined in the picture swapping. Image
Michiganders on the summit

Looking west to Jones & Niagara
Looking toward American Basin
Viewing descent route
There were good views of Redcloud and Sunshine on the descent Image
Heading down toward Redcloud and Sunshine
Redcloud and Sunshine from farther down

On the descent, it clouded up and began to sprinkle at times. Image
Descent toward Lake Fork
I was hoping the road would stay dry since the Fusion would more likely have trouble on a muddy road. We reached the trailhead in a little under three hours, for a round trip of 6:50. Close to the trailhead, I saw a wild horse and a colt. They spooked quite easily.

Good day and #32 in the peakbagging bag. Image
Tired but not anguished. #32

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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