Peak(s):  Redcloud Peak  -  14,034 feet
Date Posted:  08/05/2008
Date Climbed:   08/04/2007
Author:  Summit Assassin

 RedCloud on a whim...  

* This was almost a year ago, but I just found the ability to post trip reports. I'll get my September reports up immediately upon my return.

My first trip to Colorado, and I found myself smack in the middle of the San Juan range. We set camp with no agenda, just three guys getting out of the rut of life to recharge.

Our campsite was about an hour from the Silver Creek trailhead. On Tuesday of our trip, as we drove past the TH, someone mentioned climbing the mountain the next day. The thought had never occurred to me. Born and raised in Indiana, moved to Kansas, I am a flat-lander.

The next morning we (a friend and I) woke with the sun, had a nice breakfast, made the leisure drive to the TH. We hit the trail around 9am (obviously very late).

Hiking up the valley at a slow pace, the views were amazing. The opposite side of the Silver Creek valley, with Red Cloud obscured by the tree-tops:

After climbing red rocks for about an hour, we found ourselves at the top of Silver Creek. This image is looking southwest back down the trail, towards the TH, with Handies in the upper left of the image:

Another hour of easy climbing found us at the base of the saddle. This image is looking back towards the red rocks:

The climb up to the saddle to the ridge was fairly uneventful; it was full of marmots though. Looking southwest from the saddle towards the summit:

At this point in the trek, it started storming. Obviously we got off to an extremely late start. We threw on our rain gear and contemplated heading back down. We waited for five minutes in the rain and hail, and then it subsided. Storms were mixed in and out of beautiful clear skies. I didn't know the risk at the time, and I had severe summit fever, so we pushed on.

Red Cloud had what I believe to be a lot of false summits. I counted three, but at the time it seemed like ten. This image is from the first false summit looking back at the saddle. The trail up the saddle is easily recognized:

My friend started dropping back, affording some pretty cool pictures of my summit attempt:

After the third false summit, I stopped to take the following picture. It clearly shows the switchbacks up to the summit. I stopped at each one to catch my breath. This might be an easy peak to most of you, but to me it was pure will that got me to the top:

Friends picture of me reaching the summit:

West view on top of Red Cloud. Cinnamon Pass and The American Basin are in view:

My rudimentary pack, with Sunshine Peak ridge and peak in the background:

This is a perfect example of how uneducated a climber can be. I now know better, but look at all of these storms. I was dancing between them.

View from the summit North to the ridge and saddle. If you look at the center of this image, just slightly down the ridge, the small black spec is my friend:

What can one say about their first summit? I'll never forget it. I fell in love!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

08/06/2008 16:04
living in Indiana myself, I know what you mean about the landscape. I can‘t get enough of it......

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