(Barely) Back to 14,000 Feet

Chris, Joe and I ventured down to Gunnison and Lake City this past weekend to check out my brother’s new house and go on some adventures. The adventures we were looking for can most accurately be described by the footwear each of us brought: ski boots, hiking shoes, climbing shoes, and flip flops.

Joe on another route

We got in super late on Thursday night and slept past our chances to make any use of the ski boots, and then discovered that we also had slept past the amazing Netherlands vs Brazil game (Go Oranje! ‘t Is de ware kampioen). So, decided to put my Mammut Tusk rope and keylock quickdraws to use out in the Hartman Recreation area.

Chris getting up his first 5.9

We got lost at first, but then were able to find the Teenage Wasteland crag. We climbed for a few hours but got out before the weather got worse, but then went back to the Beginner Rock crag with Sarah and Ashley in tow.

Steve getting up on rock

Chris got up his first 5.9, which I led as my first 5.9 lead, and then Joe took his first whipper on the same route. Quite the experience on a single route!

The whole crew without Chris and Ashley on the 5.9

Steve and Sara showed us a good time that night, and then we got up early for the beautiful drive to Lake City and an attempt at Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks, two peaks that barely cross the 14,000 foot mark. Colorado Highway 149 is one of the few state highways in Colorado I have not been on, and I was extremely impressed! We got up Cinnamon Pass in good time and started the hike towards Sunshine and Redcloud Peaks.

Chris and Joe on the start into Grizzly Gulch

This hike was my first one this season that didn’t involve skis on my back or accessing a crag, so I was confused as to why my backpack was so light. But the alpine meadows and wildflowers in the basin below Redcloud made me start to love summer quite a bit.

Getting higher up

We ran into people on the false summit ascent, which made me realize the total of fifteen people we saw meant it was a busy weekend in the San Juans.

Chris and Joe on the final pitch of Redcloud

The views from the summit were fantastic.

Wetterhorn and Uncompaghre, another summer mission…
Sneffles provided Chris and I some good memories
Redcloud Summit Shot

We traversed the saddle between Redcloud and Sunshine super quick, and Joe has now summited the tallest (Mt. Elbert) and the smallest (Sunshine Peak) this summer.

Joe traversing the saddle with Sunshine in the distance
Looking back at Chris and Redcloud
Sunshine Summit Shot

We met a very nice fellow 14ers.com member who let us cheers the summit with some Knob Creek, and then we dropped off the backside of Sunshine to spice up the relatively easy hike so far. There was one loose class 3 section, which we got off just before some thunder and raindrops, canceling our hopes to get up Handies peak that day as well.

Joe in the toughest section of the day

A quick stop in Gunnison on the way out and we were back in Denver for a rainy 4th of July.


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