Redcloud, Sunshine, and Handies

August 2 2020

What was originally planned as a week stay, surreptitiously slipped to forty days. San Diego, Sophia’s and my birthplace, is a pretty fantastic city to visit but ultimately we needed to return home at some point. Last week we made the pilgrimage back to Boulder with a van full of our parents' unwanted stuff and our two cats. We were joined, at least partially, on our road trip by Sophi’s younger brother Buddy, his girlfriend Terra, and their van Mighty Mongo. Unfortunately Mongo’s transmission wasn’t particularly agreeable during the journey and our caravan companions were only able to make it to Zion before heading back to southern California. Still we appreciated their company and enjoyed spending time with them at Sand Hollow Reservoir in Utah.

After parting ways with the ‘littles’, Soph and I turned our sights toward southwest Colorado where we’d planned to hit a cluster of three 14ers over a couple of days. Given that it was now just us, we figured we could snag all three in one day rather than split them over two mornings. At the time I do not believe we fully appreciated what eighteen miles, 8,000’ of vert, and an altitude acclimation of sea level would feel like; now we know. We tackled Redcloud and Sunshine in the early hours of Thursday, July 30th. We ascended via the class two Northeast Ridge of Redcloud just in time to watch the sunrise over the San Juan. After a brief respite we hopped over to Sunshine and returned to the trailhead via the difficult class two Northwest Face. We arrived at the van before 10:00 and spent the next several hours napping, refueling, and playing with the cats. By 17:30 we were booted and back on the trail to Handies Peak via the class two East Slopes route. We crested the summit ridge in just over two hours and were treated to one of the most beautiful and lonely sunsets we’ve witnessed in Colorado. The San Juan Mountains are truly one of the most stunning ranges in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Justanothershittycampervan and Mighty Mongo just outside of Zion at the Sand Hollow Reservoir.

Soph before sunrise on the summit of Redcloud.

Soph and I on Sunshine.

Soph on the summit ridge of Handies Peak wondering why the hell I’m so slow, probably. Not one of my better hikes but she killed it!

Alpenglow on Redcloud and Sunshine as seen from Handies Peak

Heading back to Boulder. I thought the road to these 14ers was too cool not to immortalize in a photo.