Peak(s):  Handies Peak  -  14,048 feet
Date Posted:  05/15/2005
Date Climbed:   05/14/2005
Author:  mouser
 14 May 2005, standard SW slope from American Basin trailhead   

I have a more in-depth trip report on my site here: .
as well as a photogallery showing current conditions here: .

The road to the American Basin trailhead is currently plowed clear of snow. The road appears to have been recently graded and is in great shape as far as Grizzly Gultch. However, after Grizzly Gultch you will need 4WD as the snow runoff is making it a muddy experience. There wasnt anywhere to camp at the trailhead due to enormous plow walls of snow reaching 4m in height. However, we found a place where the plow had pulled off and left a small open space large enough to park and lay down a couple sleeping bags.

The basin and entire route are still covered in snow. In the early morning the snow was hard enough to walk on without snowshoes. However, the steep parts require crampons as they are very slick and icy in the morning. After about 10am the temperature rose and the snow started to melt. This made snowshoes a requirement even as high as the 13,500 saddle. One of our party did not have (working) snowshoes so when the snow started melting we bailed on summiting in order to avoid having to post-hole the whole way down.

We only made it as high as the saddle, but we could see that there was some minor cornicing on the summit ridge. There were signs throughout the basin of small snow slides but nothing approaching an avalanche. The rocky cliff on the east side of the bowl just below the saddle was periodically sending small (fist-sized) rocks tumbling down the slopes, possibly the work of marmots.

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