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Handies Peak
6 Photosets

2021-09-21  
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mini location map2021-09-21
16 by photographer avatarLindaAnn
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Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar Sep 21 2021
LindaAnn
Hiking6.32 Miles 2,614 AEG
Hiking6.32 Miles   4 Hrs   55 Mns   1.44 mph
2,614 ft AEG      31 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Wildly better weather on Tuesday vs Monday. Clear, very little wind, and despite the temperature supposedly being colder, it felt much warmer. The drive from Lake City to American Basin seemed to take forever. Again, the road is graded to start, but becomes very rocky after a few miles. Higher clearance is helpful, and good tires are a smart idea with all the sharp rocks. Tedious driving, but great scenery along the drive, high clearance 4wd recommended, but I think tires were more important in this case. There was a Honda CRV parked at the trailhead that made it in, but definitely did not make it back out, looked like it had been there a couple of days.

I parked about a half mile before the official trailhead, mainly because I knew the trail would be uphill right from the start, so I wanted to give myself some easy walking to loosen up my legs first. 19 degrees at the start but was comfortable in a long sleeve t-shirt thanks to the very light wind. I liked that this hike started above timberline, which is my preference for 14ers. Views are good from the start, and get better and better as you head uphill. Steady uphill as the trail headed south. Somewhat rocky, which was more noticeable on the return.

As the trail curved to the east, it leveled off for a while, then climbed more steeply up towards Sloan Lake. I passed at least eight ptarmigans in this section. At the junction for the lake, I headed left and climbed a little more up to about 13,000' before dropping about 50' and across a talus slope. The drop is less than it looks, but I knew I would feel it on the return. Once past the talus, the trail starts climbing steeply again, then some gentler switchbacks up to a saddle around 13,500' or so. It was fairly windy at the saddle and just above it. Great views in both directions.

It's a steep climb the rest up the way to the summit, where there were a handful of people and one dog resting. The summit itself is fairly small, but room to sit on the rocks, and excellent 360 degree views. I think all 14ers have great views from the top, but this one was probably top 5 for me. Rested for a while since there was no wind, then headed back down. Easy hike back down despite the steepness. Made a quick side trip to Sloan Lake on the way down. Passed a lot of hikers, including one woman who was hiking up with a young baby (like around 4 months by my guess) in a front carrier--kudos to her.

Very nice hike, and another one I know will kids will like. I wish the road was a little better, but that was the only mildly annoying part of the day.
Named place
Named place
American Basin Sloan Lake

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water 4 out of 5 Sloan Lake 76-100% full 76-100% full
Lake looked nearly full.
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LindaAnn's
578 Photosets

  2021-12-03
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