Unfortunately, my only CO 14er this summer, after Mark (Pellucid Wombat) & I were foiled by non-cooperative climbing conditions on Wilson Peak the day before, & rain/snow/low visibility on Castle Peak 4 days later (gotta love that Colorado Rockies weather!!!) helped make up my mind that that summit would wait until another day as well.
Left TH @ 8.47. Getting up to 13k' saddle, then descending 600' to the base of Handies was tedious & disheartening, but in the end no big deal. Summited @ 12.39, after Mark blew by me a couple hundred feet from the top. Lots of people there that day (though few used our approach). Due to recent snowfall, views that would have been great anyway were absolutely breathtaking- almost all of the magnificent San Juan peaks that were as far as the eye could see, in an almost 360 deg circle, were mantled in summer snow! Probably the best summit views I've ever seen. Wow.
Hung out up top for quite some time, chilling & talking to fellow hikers. Bacardi 151 sure packs a whallop @ 14k'! 90 Shilling was nice, too. Got to know another cool Mark on the summit, this one from Texas (told him about SP, which he joined afterwards (flying fish!)). Left summit @ 14.40 or so (?), & got back to the TH/car @ 18.00.
Breathtaking views along the Million $ Highway afterwards, & nice soak in the hot springs in Ouray- great day!!!
Although the route was easy, the views made the hike very worthwhile - certainly one of my favorite summit views! The 6"-2' snow cover from the storm that passed through on the 4th made it look like the middle of winter!
6th time up. I always enjoy the flowers in the American Basin and pausing at Sloan Lake. One year the wind was so strong I had to lie down to keep from being toppled. And on another occasion, in the first week of August, it was snowing so hard on top I couldn't see more than 100 yrds.
Beautiful day, great hike. We were a party of four. Only saw 2 other hikers all day who had summited from American Basin. They said several more parties were hiking from that direction but we did not see them. View from the summit is spectacular.
Excellent climb, it rained the whole time, but there was no thunder. I could almost see my outstretched hand from the summit!
Climbed Handies as my first San Juan peak, one snowy and lonely October day, a couple of years ago. Kinda nearly almost met a bear. Trip report is here.
Climbed to Grizzly Lake and then on to the ridge up a few moderate snow slopes. From the 13,500' saddle I dropped my pack to run up Pt 13,971 and then continued traversing along the ridge around the basin until I summitted Handies and then Whitecross before returning. Great weather and views from all the summits...much more fun than simply climbing Handies by itself.
I really wish I could have seen this climb, but I paced Blake Wood during the 2001 Hard Rock 100 over this peak in the middle of the night. It was about 1:00 a.m. when we got on top and saw a gorgeous crescent moon setting in between the summits of Redcloud and Sunshine. Next time, I'll climb it in the day :)
Climbed this as part of the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run. This comes at about 35 miles into the race. Some touch and go weather was developing as I topped out. Descended toward Grouse Gulch. Did this peak again in 2000 from American Basin. Outstanding wildflowers and more time to look around when I wasn't in a race.
Absolutely beautiful! Gorgeous! This is the most amazing hike I've done yet on a fourteener. Not a cloud in the sky. Warm weather. Unbelievable views in every direction. I had the summit to myself for the entire time I was there (almost 40 minutes). I can't recommend this route enough.
What a spectacular time to visit Handies! Covered in fresh snow from the previous week's storm, Handies and surroundings were stunning, to say the least. We got to stay on snow for most of the ascent, and then we headed over to neighboring 13er, Whitecross Mountain, for an enjoyable light scramble. A TR is available here.
Stormy morning so I waited it out and got a later start: 08:15. Hit the summit 2 hrs and 3 minutes later. Not too shabby. I really liked that upper basin area. it was a scenic surprise. Did not want to linger up there with the clouds building so I hustled back down to the TH and then to Silverton for my reward.
Handies was the easiest 14er I've done so far, but it was beautiful to hike through the forest near the stream, up to the basin with a cirque all the way around you. The marmots were out and plentiful. If you prefer solitude I definately recommend the eastern/Grizzly Gulch approach. We descended down into American Basin and it was pretty crowded. We didn't see anybody else on the Grizzly Gulch side until we reached the last scramble to the top, then we saw a lone climber down in the basin 2000 ft below.
What a gorgeous hike. Once above treeline, the trail follows a mountain stream, and in the summer there are lots of wildflowers. There were also lots of marmots out. Although it was probably 70 degrees out when I was at 12,500', half an hour later it was snowing on me. Fortunately it cleared up and after waiting out the snow, I made it up to the summit no problem.
WOW! American Basin is one of the most scenic places I have had the privilege to visit in Colorado. I went at the right time because the wildflowers were absolutely incredible. They were everywhere and there were numerous varieties and colors. There were some waterfalls in the area and the scraggy mountains in the backdrop (one of them is a century peak) made for a very enjoyable hike. I was just snapping away with the camera.
As for the hike up to the peak it was pretty easy, but the last 500 feet to the summit I would say was the hardest. Nothing really difficult but a good climbers trail. The top of Handies in my opinion has the best views of the San Juan’s. Its right in the middle of the range and you can see everything. I sat at the top for and hour and fifteen minutes and headed back down with a nice lady I met at the summit. She wasn’t intending on doing the summit but here dog took off and she followed him all the way to the summit.
All I can say about Handies is WOW. It probably isn’t as scenic when the wildflowers die out for the year thou.
This is as non-technical hike there is. A perfect hike to a wonderful summit. Great views of Half Peak and wildflowers galore.
A wonderful mountain. My first 14er in the San Juans on my first trip to the San Juans. We summited right after 9-11. The CMC (or someone) had planted an American flag at the top. A memorable ascent.
Great hike! I want to do this one in the winter next.
I PROPOSED to my wife Melissa on the summit! This was her first 14er and she had battled back from pnemonia to get here. What a day!