Easy and fun with great views!
Great mountain for a first run at a 14'er. But, oh my!, sheer torture for this body; 4 days was just not enough acclimatization. Not to mention the trudge through 8" of fresh snow. Almost turned around with only 500' to go to the summit. Those specks at the top could have it all to themselves!
I took a moment to resolve my will, and finally made it. Found some great comrade: diggler and pellucid wombat. (Open invitation to California!)
The view has to be among the best anywhere: uninterrupted snow-shrouded peaks in every direction. And for me, an eye to the next, beautiful Mt. Sneffels. We'll save the trip down Handies through the melting snow for another time. In 10am-out 5pm.
Happy to say, my knees forgave me after a few soaks in Orvis, and Sneffels was a breeze!
Another solo climb. I car camped down valley at one of the forest service campgrounds. I had summited Sunshine and Redcloud the day before, but still felt quite strong. I parked at the American Basin entrance (tough to get my little car there) and quickly hiked up the valley. After having to maneuver thru a herd of grazing cattle along the Silver Creek trail the day before, there was now a herd of 500? domestic sheep grazing in this valley. Other than the shepherd manning his camp up there, I saw no one else all day. Fortunately, the sheep were skittish and moved from my route. I remember summitting in beautiful sunshine and screeing down the southwest slopes for maybe 1,000 feet. I made great time, returning to my car by 1:15 p.m. I had enough time to pack my camp and drive back to Denver that same day.
Horrible snow storm, wind, clouds. Made an otherwise easy hike into a nightmare. Lost the trail near the lake and went up and around another hill, but made it anyway. #27
This is the one and only mountain my wife has climbed with me, or ever will, I suppose. So it holds a special place in my memory. She got badly sunburned. Also with us were my mother, dad, and oldest brother.
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.