Peak(s):  Handies Peak  -  14,048 feet
Date Posted:  09/09/2013
Date Climbed:   09/08/2013
Author:  animalis007

 Finisher and Starter  

After 15 years of climbing 14ers, I finely have climbed all 54 official. Some people may wonder why I picked such an easy peak for my last and the reason is simple. I wanted my family with me including my 5 month old son. So my last peak is his first.

Plan A on Saturday was to get up early Sunday, quickly tag the peak with son, dog and wife, and then go over Cinnamon Pass and do some sightseeing. We brought our 6 person tent so my wife could sleep on her cot and the baby in a pack-n-play. Unfortunately, my son Dan-Dan kept my wife up most of the night, so when my alarm went off at 5:30 I decided we needed more sleep. We weren't ready to leave the campsite until just after 8 am. Since we camped at the Grizzly Gulch trailhead we still had to drive up to the American Basin trailhead. I was surprised at the roughness of the 2wd portion of the road. We set off from the trail at 8:45 am Image.

In my mind we would summit in about an hour and a half. This was a foolish assumption. Between the weight on my son and my wife being a bit out of shape we were lucky to make 1 mile in the first hour. We were both feeling somewhat exhausted by the time we reached Sloan Lake. I had thought we would have summited by now and there still seemed to be a lot of elevation. Image My baby was now feeling very heavy and since he was still too young for a back-mounted carrier all his weight was on my shoulders.

After we crossed the talus slope we had to stop to breast-feed the boy. (my wife did not enjoy this much). I stood guard to make sure no hikers came up on us as we were totally exposed. Image Looking up from feeding spot. As feeding babies goes, they get air bubbles and sometimes it's hard to get them to burp (especially at 13,200). Dan-Dan began to cry after hiking resumed and he wouldn't burp no matter what we did. He finely fell asleep about 30 feet shy of the summitImage - on the summit. Later on the summit he let out a large belch and felt much better. Amy and our dog Penny joined us about 5 min later. Image.

We summited some time after 11 am. It was in the upper 40s or lower 50s so we only stayed about 20 min. The hike down took just as long. I didn't get a chance to eat anything on the summit so we had to stop at Sloan Lake for me to eat something. I hadn't had any food since about 7am so I was starving. It rained on us a little during the last mile. All in all it took us 5.5 hours and was the longest toughest 5.5 mile hike I've done. I underestimated how much harder it would be carrying an extra 17 lbs.

Next, training for the diamond face of Long's.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Good Plan
09/10/2013 16:26
A very good plan on your finisher, did the same thing on my finisher! Always cool to get the family and friends involved!


Easy Finishers = Good Idea
09/10/2013 17:36
I am thinking of saving Handies for my last too, just so I can really enjoy it and not have to stress about dangerous climbing.

Cute baby and dog!


Many congrats
09/10/2013 18:24
Good for you, dude. When we did Quandary with our 4 month old last summer, we took some crap for it on the forum but got lots of pats on the back for it while on the mountain. It sure did slow us down and breast-feeding is a real pain up there but all totally worth it. Way to be.


I dig it!
09/10/2013 19:39
Great way to spend a day with the family.


09/10/2013 19:54
Can't wait to take my daughter up with me!


09/11/2013 01:18
Nice work on completing the 14ers! Bonus points for bringing the kiddo!

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