Photo
Handies Peak
snow West Slopes
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Difficulty:
 Class 2 
Snow Steepness: Moderate  
Ski/Board: Intermediate, D5 / R3 / II  
Risk Factors:Exposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Considerable  
Commitment: Moderate  
 
Trailhead:American Basin
Start:11,300 feet
Summit:14,048 feet
Total Gain:2,500 feet if you start at the upper TH
2,800 feet if you start at the bottom of the American Basin road
RT Length:3.0 miles if you start at the upper TH
5.0 miles if you start at the bottom
of the American Basin road
Duration:User Climb Times
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:9/2019
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:188 reports
Cell Signal:14 reports
Sheriff:Hinsdale: 970-944-2291
Quad. Maps:Log In to View
Camping:On Google Maps
Eats:On Google Maps
Downloads:Log In to Download
Photo
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Trailhead

From Lake City, drive 2 miles south on Colorado 149 and turn right on the Lake San Cristibol road (County Road 30). This is the southern entrance to the "Alpine Loop" scenic byway. Follow the signs to Cinnamon Pass. Drive about 20 miles to a signed fork in the road. Left is to American Basin and right is to Cinnamon Pass. Turn left. If you do not have a 4WD vehicle with good clearance, park in the pull-offs near the start of this road. It's 0.9 mile to the trailhead from the start of the American Basin road. After 0.2 mile, cross a stream which can be fairly deep in spring. If you don't feel comfortable driving through the water, there are some parking spots in the area. Continue to the end of the road where you'll find a large parking area and marked trail.

Route

If you parked below the trailhead, walk up the 4WD road or the left side of the basin ( 1), to reach the area of the trailhead, near 11,600' - 2. It's 0.9 mile from the start of the 4WD road/Cinnamon Pass junction to the trailhead. Continue south into American Basin - 3. Follow the standard trail (or general location of it) to 12,200'. The trail climbs a hill ahead ( 4) but the west slopes route is not in that direction. Turn left to see the west slopes above and east - 5. On the left (north) side of the slopes locate a long, broad couloir ( 6) that is used for this climb.

Hike northeast over a drainage to reach the base near 12,300' - 7. The climb from here to 13,100' is straightforward: Climb east up the couloir - 8 and 9. Taken near 12,700', 10 provides a good look at the upper route. Above 13,000', the couloir broadens and the line to the summit starts to angle a bit to the right. Reach steeper terrain near 13,100' - 11. The couloir averages 32 degrees and has a max angle of approximately 38 degrees, near 13,200'. 12 and 13 provide different views of the area. Above 13,700', the terrain flattens out as the couloir fades away - 14 and 15. Continue up and turn right to reach the summit - 16 and 17.

Skiing?

Leaving the summit area: 18
Upper couloir: 19, 20
Middle: 21, 22
Exiting into American Basin: 23
Looking back after a ski: 24

Notes

None
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24
Topo
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