Peak(s):  Handies Peak  -  14,048 feet
Date Posted:  07/31/2007
Modified:  05/02/2012
Date Climbed:   07/31/2007
Author:  philbucher

 Handies - Night Climb  

This morning there was a full moon (setting at 9 am). We left Lake City at 2:30 am and arrived at the American Basin trailhead at 4:00. Handies is a 1 hour and 45 minute climb for us oldsters (I'm 60 and my partner, Jay Busch, is a couple of years younger) and so we reached the summit at 5:45, well in advance of the 6:08 sunrise. Even thought the sky was 95% overcast, there was enough natural light to climb without using our headlamps. (OK. I used it briefly to sign the register.... but that's all!)

By sunrise, some of the clouds had evaporated, and we were rewarded with a spectacular view of the sun peeping up directly from the top of nearby Redcloud Peak. Fantastic!


This is a great peak for a night climb, since the trail is almost like a walk through the park. Just a smooth dirt track for about 80% of the way. (They threw in a few clunky rocks at mid-climb just to make it a little bit interesting.)

As we returned,we walked through about a dozen ptarmigan which were feeding along the trail. These birds were totally unfazed by us, and we walked within 3 feet of them. Then didn't flinch, or even try to move out of our way.

Later, near the parking lot, we took these pictures of the wildflowers in the lower basin.

Image Image

If you've never done a night climb, I highly recommend it for the unique experience.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Very Cool!
11/30/2010 17:20
Congrats on the night hike. I've done a couple of them, but never quite gotten to the top in time for the sunrise. Glad to hear that the climb of Handies is fairly short, even for us old guys (I'm fifty-eight)--I'm saving this one for my last 14er, in hopes of encouraging as many of my friends as possible to join me!

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