Peak(s):  Redcloud Peak  -  14,034 feet
Sunshine Peak  -  14,001 feet
Date Posted:  05/21/2007
Modified:  12/03/2009
Date Climbed:   05/19/2007
Author:  doumall
 Sunshine and Redcloud Ski Descents   

Silver Creek Trailhead at 10,400'
South Fork Silver Creek Drainage to Base of Sunshine North Slopes
Sunshine's Summit via North Couloirs and NW Face
Ski Descent of Sunshine Northeast Face to 12,800'
Climb back to Sunshine Redcloud Saddle, Traverse to Redcloud
Ski Descent of Redcloud Northeast Face to Silver Creek Drainage

-Elevation Climbed: 5,200'
-Vert skied: 3,600'
-Mileage RT: 10.5 miles
- Round Trip Time: 9.5 hours

Route: climb blue, debbie green, ski red

Ascent of Sunshine:

Debbie is out of school and ready to finish the 14ers! She has the difficult peaks left and the Handies group, so thats where we headed to get her mountain legs back. The trip had been planned for a while, off we went toward the San Juans. The drive from Boulder all the way to the trailhead takes about 5.5 hours, we had the tent up and hit the sack at 11pm. Two other groups of people were camped near the parking area.

A 4:45 am start was in store to catch the corn cycle and find easy frozen snow for climbing. The plan was to get Sunshine first via its north slopes, ski its northeast face and then head over to Redcloud. The stream crossing to leave the Silver Creek drainage and enter the South Fork of Silver Creek drainage is the first obstacle to this route.

Debbie crosses Silver Creek

Progress was swift up into the upper basin where first light hit Sun Dog, 13,432'.

A new day touches the rugged east face of Sun Dog

The path up the basin was clear; we stayed in the creek bed. This wouldn't be a good idea in the afternoon, as a good deal of this area is undercut by the stream.

Skinning toward Sunshine north slopes

We found a really cool natural ice feature through here where the stream had broken through its roof of ice.


We opted to climb one of the moderate couloirs in Sunshine's lower north face.

Sunshine north slopes

Just as we entered the apron, a significant rock fall occurred out of the rock band above us. Lucky, nothing more than softball size debris fell around us, but there was a lot of it, probably 50 pieces. Debbie batted one with her pole and one struck my boot. We could have avoided this by beating the sun to the rocks. The maximum angle was found in the very top of the couloir at 43 degrees.

We finished the climb up the northwest face just as sun came over the summit ridge above.

Debbie climbs the northwest face of Sunshine

Looking down our ascent route from the summit of Sunshine

The summit was well covered in snow, the views of the San Juans were excellent.

Debbie topped out on her 43rd 14er

Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn

Half Peak

The saddle to Redcloud

Ski Descent of Sunshine:

It was 9:30 and the snow on the northeast face of Sunshine was perfect. This was the best corn I have skied on any peak. So much fun... I was smiling the whole run. Debbie took pics from a little ways down the ridge.

Skiing Sunshine Peak

Climb to Redcloud:

I skied down to 12,700', then booted back up to the low point in the Sunshine/Redcloud saddle. The snow on the boot was still solid requiring several kicks for each step. Debbie had a sandwich while waiting for me, and then together we headed over to Redcloud.

Hiking the ridge between Sunshine and Redcloud

Here comes a head shot:

On the summit of Redcloud, Debbie's 44th!

Ski Descent of Redcloud:

I opted to ski the northeast face, as the snow was still stable. Debbie walked a bit down the ridge to get some more ski pics. Another great ski down high 30 and low 40 degree terrain.

Skiing Redcloud's northeast face

Ski route, can you spot me?

At the bottom of the main face I traversed out to just above the saddle of the standard route to meet up with Debbie who had descended the ridge. Many more turns were earned down the Silver Creek drainage. Debbie got in some nice glissading. The snow was continuous to within a quarter mile of the South Fork confluence.

Finishing the ski

Debbie glissades back to camp

The view of Handies from this drainage is memorable.

Handies from Silver Creek Drainage

 Comments or Questions

Way to...
02/05/2011 00:22
get 'em... Nice work skiing your first 'teeners, Debbie.


way to
05/22/2007 05:10
get er done


05/22/2007 06:36
Joe, it looks like you had a GREAT weekend with the Handies group! I thought Debbie skied though?


Nice weekend for sure...
11/30/2010 17:28
Ya, we hit those at a great time. If you check out the Handies report you'll see Debbie getting after it on the sticks She is still novice, but progressing fast!


05/22/2007 18:58
thanks prakash! Yeah, it was sweet! I was pretty happy that my second time skinning I made it up the mountain, and of course, thrilled with being able to ski down!! Sorry to hear about another bust on your plans for the weekend.


05/22/2007 19:08
I love seeing more people getting into it. Nice job Debbie. Get it done Joe


11/30/2010 17:28
Thanks for the info doumall! Should be fun there this weekend! Hope it's not too crowded!


05/23/2007 18:14
Nice job guys - Looks like a perfect weekend and good snow conditions for late spring!

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