Ascent of Handies Peak on 2017-07-06

Climber: Mike Wright

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, July 6, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Handies Peak
    Elevation:14048 ft / 4281 m

Ascent Trip Report

I. N. At the PA. Started hiking at 530. Weather called for scattered showers and rain before 10am with thunderstorms after 2pm. Though just across the valley weather was to be rain before 10 with thunderstorms likely after noon. So I thought I should get an early start regardless if the other weather prediction was correct. Bluebird sky at the start.
Took the Grizzly Gulch trail up through the valley to tree line. Then through the hi mountain meadow. Views of surrounding mountains were beautiful. Lots of marmots and a few pika. Saw signs of a canine on the trail, Probably a fox or coyote and a small deer. The trail was soft sandy dirt that had been rained on and dried and showed only today's tracks. I was the first on the trail other than the critters. I made good time up through the upper snow fields and couldn't see anyone else on the trail below. I had to make my own way at one point as the snow covered the remainder of the trail up to the ridge line. I took a steep line up the left most side of the snow fields which left me on the final ridge towards the summit. At the point where the angle steepens the trail gets very lose and gravely. I thought it was sketchy. Summit by 9am. Rested 45 min before starting back down. The clouds in the distance were starting to form as were some small clouds in the valley. I passed a party of 2 at the top. I descended the summit cap very carefully then took a different route down from the ridge. There was a trail that led further down the ridge than I could see from the bottom so I took it which eventually led to a snowfield crossing but was shallow angle and easily done. I passed a party of 2 from Texas wearing sneakers and carrying almost nothing in their pack. By now there's rain over Redcloud and serious storm clouds forming. As I got close to tree line I started hearing thunder and was glad to be at treeline. I noticed large moose prints in the mud at treeline that I know weren't there before. I descend the rest of the way pretty quickly and managed not to get rained on and was back at the van by 1205.
Notes. This trail is steep the whole way and gains 3600ft in 4 miles. Great views of Redcloud and Sunshine as well as Uncompaghre and Half Peak. Among others.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Bluebird to stormy.

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