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Handies Peak - 5 members in 11 triplogs have rated this an average 5 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Oct 04 2020
PrestonSands
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 Guides 168
 Routes 149
 Photos 5,560
 Triplogs 1,349

43 male
 Joined Apr 12 2004
 Oro Valley, AZ
Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar Oct 04 2020
PrestonSands
Hiking6.50 Miles 2,850 AEG
Hiking6.50 Miles
2,850 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
ryan321
Colorado 14ers trip 2020, hike 1 of 3.

Having traveled from our campsite near Potato Lake (Purgatory) that morning, my brother Ryan and I took my 4Runner over the always-exciting, tire-chewing Cinnamon Pass, and then down the other side into American Basin. I parked partway up the trailhead road, and we set off on foot for Handies. The green vegetation of summer had given way to the browns of autumn, yet the mountain air and sunshine felt pretty nice for an October afternoon. The half dozen or so other hikers only slightly outnumbered the marmots we encountered, sunning themselves on a boulder. A few elusive pikas greeted us from the talus. We stopped to check out Sloan Lake, with its frigid blue-green water beneath a snow-smattered cliff face, before making the lung-taxing final ascent to the summit. This was my brother’s first 14k foot summit, and an exciting moment to share with him. After admiring the view and taking lots of photos, we began our descent as the wind howled and the sun sank close to the jagged western horizon. The sunset was amazing, as a red ball dipped below the ridge. The last couple of miles to the truck was by headlamp, with a number of reflective deer eyes catching the light. Back at the truck, we sat inside and enjoyed Mountain House dinners while watching the stars. Our goal for the night was a campsite near Lake City, and it was a long drive over rough roads before we were finally able to crawl into our tents.
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"As soon as I can I’m sneaking back in them mountains..." -Johnny Paycheck
1 archive
Sep 05 2019
DixieFlyer
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 Guides 37
 Routes 381
 Photos 4,904
 Triplogs 343

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar Sep 05 2019
DixieFlyer
Hiking8.60 Miles 3,673 AEG
Hiking8.60 Miles   5 Hrs   47 Mns   2.00 mph
3,673 ft AEG   1 Hour   29 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
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This was the first of five 14ers that I hiked in four days in the amazingly beautiful San Juan Mountains in SW Colorado.

This one was the "alternate" route up to Handies via the Grizzly Gulch Trail.

The drive to the TH wasn't bad -- we were in a Wrangler and we parked next to an Outback; so a 4WD vehicle wasn't needed, but the drive is better with some decent clearance.

We saw 3 deer in the early part of the hike, but other than pikas and marmots, they were the only animals that I saw in the San Juans.

This was a gorgeous hike all the way to the summit, and at the summit the 360 degree views were awesome!
Named place
Named place
Sloan Lake
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
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I'd rather die of exhaustion than die of starvation.
Jul 12 2016
jrousoshammond
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 Routes 29
 Triplogs 162

32 male
 Joined May 15 2015
 Tucson
Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar Jul 12 2016
jrousoshammond
Hiking7.94 Miles 3,674 AEG
Hiking7.94 Miles   5 Hrs   19 Mns   1.67 mph
3,674 ft AEG      33 Mns Break
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This was a re-attempt of a hike that was called off last year due to weather and a bum knee. I wouldn't mind trying it a third year in a row - it's one of my favorites, and aside from some slippery steep trail on the homestretch, it's one of the easiest 14ers (and the alternate route from American Basin is supposed to be even easier). When the trail leaves the trees and traces a stream toward the impressive east face of Handies, it makes for one of the most special stretches of trail I've been on.

Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch TH is beautiful despite the constant ATV traffic it gets. There is ample space to camp at the TH and up the road.
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Jul 09 2016
xthine
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 Photos 402
 Triplogs 168

female
 Joined Jul 22 2016
 Sedona, AZ
Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar Jul 09 2016
xthine
Hiking6.78 Miles 2,761 AEG
Hiking6.78 Miles   3 Hrs   45 Mns   1.94 mph
2,761 ft AEG      15 Mns Break
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
First trip to Handie's and 1st 14er. :y:

Drove from Sedona to Ouray and did not get to town until midnight.

Started later than planned the next day. Rented a lifted 4 door Rubicon and the road to the trail head was tight!
Gorgeous scenery on the way to the trailhead. Made it without any issues in the 4 x 4. Cinnamon pass was also gorgeous. There were lots of Jeeps at the trail head and traffic was moderate. Most of the hikers were already on their way down by the time we got here at around 11. The forecast did not call for any rain or thunderstorms so we decided to proceed.

American basin is such a beautiful place, I was in awe every step of the way. So much greenery, wall to wall wildflowers, a gentle babbling stream and cool crisp mountain air.

At this point the highest I've ever been is Humphrey's, we questioned whether we would be able to make it to the summit having started so late.
We told ourselves we should at least try to get to 13,000 (highest I've ever been) and before we knew it..summit! Very gentle walk up to the top, plenty of room for traffic. Saw some kids and a few 4 legged friends, 1 trail runner. There was only one very short scree section to the top. Crossed a few snowfields without any issues.
There were only 2 other groups at the summit (took us about 2 hours up) one group was visiting from Flagstaff.
I'm glad this was my 1st 14er. Tricky to get to but well worth the effort!

Next time maybe Redcloud and Sunshine? :)
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
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3 archives
Sep 29 2015
iborrego
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 Triplogs 348

27 male
 Joined Oct 13 2012
 Tucson, AZ
Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar Sep 29 2015
iborrego
Hiking6.00 Miles 2,450 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles
2,450 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
1 archive
Jul 29 2015
toddak
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 Guides 8
 Routes 5
 Photos 1,174
 Triplogs 444

55 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar Jul 29 2015
toddak
Hiking10.50 Miles 3,500 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   6 Hrs      1.75 mph
3,500 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Up the front side via Grizzly Gulch and then down the back side via American Basin, road walk back to the start. I thought the Grizzly Gulch side was the better scenery. Incredible wildflowers everywhere.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Extreme
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1 archive
Aug 10 2013
DBmooner
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 Triplogs 99

35 male
 Joined Jan 03 2011
 chandler, Az
Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar Aug 10 2013
DBmooner
Hiking6.00 Miles 2,450 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   4 Hrs   5 Mns   1.47 mph
2,450 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
this is the first 14er I was able to summit . Started the day with a clear sky and by the time we hit the summit the clouds started to roll in and with in 10 mins of being on the summit it started to snow , I wasn't very much and it melted as soon as it hit the ground but it still snowed in August :o :o . so we quickly hiked down the mountain to beat the thunder storm that was blowing in and we were able to get back to the truck be for the down poor began .
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Aug 23 2012
fricknaley
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 Guides 93
 Routes 384
 Photos 3,875
 Triplogs 2,943

45 male
 Joined Jun 20 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar Aug 23 2012
fricknaley
Hiking7.90 Miles 3,747 AEG
Hiking7.90 Miles
3,747 ft AEG
 
no photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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PrestonSands
decided on handies peak from grizzly gulch for our grand finale. the forecast was downright bad but we figured we'd head out and try it...just see what happens. turn around if it got sketchy.

we started off in cloudy skies. started climbing steeply in the forested lower section of grizzly gulch and with the humidity i was just pouring sweat almost immediately. periodic breaks in the trees showed handies was currently hiding in the clouds. as we broke out of the forest for good we entered the wonderland of the upper grizzly gulch. climbing up to the ridge for the final ascent up to handies was very tough for me, but we could see that the weather was going to inexplicably clear for our summit attempt.

as we hit the summit brilliant sunlight and clear skies overhead, with wild drastic clouds out over the san juans produced unimaginable beauty and just amazing views. we were both pretty dumbfounded. before long ugly clouds were back and obviously building quickly so we bailed out and headed back. 5 minutes from the end the rain started but only lasted a few minutes (would rain again and again throughout the day). on the way there in the morning we saw mountain goats and on the way back we saw a cow moose and her baby :y:

probably the hike of the summer for me.

the second annual yeti road trip 2012 was another smashing success. thanks for driving Preston. awesome, AWESOME trip!!!!!
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hi
Sep 04 2010
juliachaos
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 Routes 37
 Photos 2,160
 Triplogs 627

38 female
 Joined Mar 01 2010
 Phoenix, AZ
Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar Sep 04 2010
juliachaos
Hiking6.00 Miles 2,450 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   3 Hrs   28 Mns   1.73 mph
2,450 ft AEG
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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How I did on this hike pretty much defined the rest of the weekend for me. The original plan was to conquer five 14ers, but the altitude really got to me on this trip for the first time ever. Probably had something to do with leaving for CO directly after work and not getting enough sleep or time to acclimate. The roads going up to this one are pretty rough. I personally wouldn't want to be driving anything up there that wasn't high clearance/4WD, but there was a Toyota sedan parked up there which had to have gone over a stream right before the TH.

The trail itself is pretty straightforward. It starts climbing and doesn't stop until the top. I think there was only one portion where some elevation is lost, but it doesn't last long or drop too far. The top has some nice views of various 14ers. It was neat being up there that day because there were two couples who had an unexpected reunion after not having seen each other in years -- it was the first 14er for all of them, too. Lots of really friendly people out on the trail that day. There are also some other trails that connect in the area to some other hikes. I checked out Sloan Lake on the way back down and took a much-needed nap on its slabby shore. There was a couple who passed by who had apparently been hiking in the American Basin and along some of the ridges to the left of Handies. On the way out I met a man from my hometown who was in the area with his son. They had just done Wetterhorn that morning. Super cool.

Good hike, but it kicked my butt hardcore thanks to the elevation. Oh, if only I'd had one more day out there before attacking these routes, I'd have been a peakbagging machine this weekend! =P
Flora
Flora
Avens
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
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Aug 06 2008
Jim_H
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 Guides 58
 Routes 55
 Photos 8,129
 Triplogs 1,757

41 male
 Joined Sep 08 2006
 Rancho Relaxo
Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Backpack avatar Aug 06 2008
Jim_H
Backpack13.50 Miles 6,150 AEG
Backpack13.50 Miles   8 Hrs   30 Mns   1.59 mph
6,150 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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For the culmination of my trip I decided to do Handies Peak (14,048') as an overnight trip with my backpack. It was actually not that hard to do and was really fun. I started at the Grizzly Gulch trailhead. My civic made it there without any problems and I didn't bottom out, despite the nature of the shelf road. I packed up the trail (with what I estimate to be my 35 to 40 pound pack) to Handies Peak and got to the summit in about 3 and 1/2 hours. I was tired and really happy to be there. I then went down to Sloan Lake at the upper end of the American Basin and made my camp. I spent the night at what is now my new record, 12,920' above mean sea level. It was not a bad night and I had no problems with the altitude. The only real problem was that I was kept awake by the heavy rain pounding on my tent, and the temperature was higher than normal at night because of the rain so I was hot at times. Still, I enjoyed it.

The next morning I hiked down to the American Basin trailhead and back up to my camp so that I could say I did both trailheads, and I wanted to see the basin. I broke camp and put my pack back on and headed back up Handies. I crested and then descended back into the Grizzly Gulch side and on to my car. Back in Lake City I enjoyed a $10.95 Buffalo Burger at the Packer Bar. They definetly do know all the customers who frequent it.

I started on the 6th and finished on the 7th. The time is for packing/ hiking only. My mileage and elevation are higher than the Dex because I did both trail heads and summited twice.
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Reaching new standards in excelence.
Aug 15 1992
MtnGeek
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 Guides 9
 Photos 134
 Triplogs 75

43 male
 Joined May 01 2002
 Denver, CO
Handies PeakWest, CO
West, CO
Hiking avatar Aug 15 1992
MtnGeek
Hiking6.00 Miles 3,050 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles
3,050 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
1st 14er, hiked it when I was 15. Hiked Grizzly Gulch.
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Mountains are there to be hiked!
average hiking speed 1.73 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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