Broken Hand Peak
West Slopes
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Difficulty:
 Class 3 
Trailhead:South Colony Lakes
Start:9,900 feet
Summit:13,580 feet
Total Gain:4,100 feet
RT Length:12.0 miles
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:8/2016
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:7 reports
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Trailhead

Take Colorado 69 south from Westcliffe. Drive 4.5 miles and turn right on Colfax Lane. Drive 5.5 miles to the end of Colfax. Turn right and drive 1 mile on a dirt road to a junction. Continue straight up the 120 Road for 0.3 mile to the Lower 2WD Trailhead at 8,800'. To reach the Upper 4WD Trailhead, continue 2.7 miles to parking/camp spots before the first river crossing, near 9,950'. In 2009, the South Colony Lakes road was permanently closed here (gate) and this is the current trailhead. The trail starts next to the trailhead kiosk, in the parking area.

Route

From the gate closure at 9,900', cross the foot bridge and walk 2.5 miles up the old South Colony Lakes road to reach a junction - 1. Turn left, cross the river on a log bridge and reach what used to be the 4WD trailhead, before they closed the upper road. Continue past the gate ( 2) and walk 3/4 mile to 11,400' where the old road ends and smaller trail begins. Hike through the bushes and into the trees - 3. Follow the trail as it turns left above 11,600' and parallels the stream below the lower South Colony Lake. Near 11,650' and before the lake, turn left on the trail towards Broken Hand Pass - 4. Follow the well-marked trail as it climbs south up the slope before turning west into rugged terrain, below Broken Hand Pass - 5. Ascend steep terrain to reach a narrow section (Class 3) with few options - 6. Scramble up through the rocks and hike another 200' ( 7) to reach the pass, at 12,850'.

Taken from the pass, 8 looks southeast toward Broken Hand Peak and over the west side of pass, where the trail descends toward Cottonwood Lake. If you'd like to climb Class 3 terrain to reach the summit, follow the trail a short distance (50+ feet of elevation) west from the pass and climb left onto the rocks before continueing east/southeast toward the summit. However, the easiest way (Class 2) to reach the summit is described here... From the pass, drop west by following the trail which leads to Cottonwood Lake. After a brief, steep descent of approximately 200' of elevation, stop and look to your left for a break in the rock slabs, which provides easy access onto Broken Hand's west slopes - 9. Leave the trail and begin climbing east - 10. Bypass some angled slabs ( 11) and continue east/southeast to reach a large point which appears to be the summit - 12. It's close but not the true summit. Pass under this point by following small cairns and/or trail segments OR hike up to the left side of it and look for a grassy ramp which angles to your right (dotted-line in 12) before you reach the top of the point. Once on the right (east) side of the point, continue a short distance to the summit - 13 and 14.

Notes

None
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14
Topo

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