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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-09-04||Route: East Slopes
Info: Not a flake of snow on the trail up Handies to report. The autumn colors are just starting to hit the decumbent bushes and turning everything a nice shade of maroon. We had some light showers in the morning off and on with small hail, but the weather cleared around noon and remained clear the rest of the day. However, the previous day was the usual early afternoon thunderstorm cycle, so we're not quite out of summer yet. Watch out for the wind at the summit, too. We had 20+ knots which made for a chilly ascent, so bring a jacket at least. Down in the valley the campground is in good shape, though expect plenty of racket from side-by-sides. All passes in the area appeared to be open from the summit and any snow that might have fallen is gone again.
|2016-07-16||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Road to trailhead takes a while to drive to, from the start of the road past the lake it takes around 45-90 minutes depending on your vehicle. There were two stream crossings, one before the turnoff to American Basin and one after. I recommend parking after the second stream crossing and not trying to make it to the official trail head unless you have an atv or other small orv. Started at 9:15 in the morning and finished around noon. Almost no snow crossing. After passing sloan lake the route became extremely windy, with gusts around 30-40 mph. Bring an emergency windbreaker or rain jacket just in case. Summit was extremely windy as well. I highly recommend hiking this fourteener, my favorite so far!
|2016-07-15||Route: East Slopes
Info: Clear day, slight wind
|2016-07-06||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Started at 11:15 am Summit at 12:50 pm TH at 1:45 Trail was mostly dry with a little water running down the trail. Few snow crossing to deal with but we're mostly firm. Beautiful weather and peak. Our subaru outback made it fine from Silverton over Cinnamon pass and to the upper trailhead.
|2016-07-01||Route: East Slopes
Info: Gorgeous waterfalls all the way up the basin. Easy stream crossings and only two snowfields to cross. 1 solid near TH, one rotten near the false summit. No critters to speak of in Grizzly Gulch.
|2016-06-30||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Hiked up the SW slope via the trail from American Basin. There are a number of snow patches to cross in the lower basin, but all are easily navigated around or through. The upper trail along the ridgeline was clear of snow and in normal summer shape. Lots of water flowing from both the snow melt and all the rain that fell last week so prepared to have wet feet.
|2016-06-25||Route: East Slopes
Info: I didnt hike the east slope from Grizzly Gulch but as you see from the picture, it is pretty much clear in the gulch and up to the summit. This route is drier than hiking up Am Basin.
|2016-06-25||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Trail up from the parking area has alot of water running down it from snowmelt. The middle portion of the basin has alot of snowfields covering the trail that are unavoidable. This basin has more snow on it than any of the surrounding 14ers. Like the others, snow should be nice and firm in the morning, softening up as the day progresses.
|2016-06-24||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Hiked up from American basin Friday morning. Some snow covering the trail in the basin in a couple spots. Lost trail for a few minutes but re-acquired it pretty quickly. Trail is 85% clear and the summit is wide open. Two hours to the top, less than a hour down.
|2016-06-19||Route: East Slopes
Info: We hiked Handis peak from Grizzly Gulch trailhead. We did not need snowshoes, gaiters, or crampons. The trail is almost clear all the way up. Just small patches of snow, particularly beneath the ridge. It is easy to pass it, not a problem (see the picture). Just be ware of porcupine activity in the trailhead.
|2016-06-11||Route: East Slopes
Info: Intermittent, unavoidable snow starts at 11,600. At about 12,000 it gets really nasty. I turned around at 12,900 when I started post holing with snowshoes on. All stream crossings are "interesting".
|2016-06-04||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Quick jaunt up Handies today. American Basin is full of snow. You can drive about 200yards past the creek crossing where you are stopped by the snow. Creek was about 8-9 inches deep. Snow was firm going up in the morning, but floatation was required coming down to prevent post-holing. Not a soul was out there today. Summit ridge from the saddle is pretty much snow free, but below is chalked full. Lots of ski options in the Basin if you want to run laps. Took me 2hr50min to summit and round trip was 4hr40min. Even had the pleasure of hearing some coyotes calling in the Basin and caught a glimpse of them by Sloan Lake. Lots of marmots as well, especially where you park. There is a large cornice of the summit that looks like its ready to fall any day know so don't walk on it.
|2016-06-02||Route: West Slopes
Info: Ascended the couloir on the west slopes of Handies this morning. Snow conditions almost perfect in the couloir. Most of the ascent was on great cramponing snow, with a few stretches of snow where I punched through to my knees. Started up from lower TH at 445am, base of couloir at 6, summit at 830. You'll want snowshoes in the basin: they were necessary even on my approach. Tried plunge-stepping down the couloir but the snow was still too firm, so ended up delicately cramponing down the first few hundred feet. Once I got onto softer snow, took off the pons and glissaded about 2K' in a few minutes. Once I returned to my snowshoe stash at the base of the coolie, immediately put them on, but it was nearly worthless. By 9am the snow down there was unsupportable, snowshoes or not. The entire snowpack was mashed potatoes, and postholed to my chest even with snowshoes. It got slightly better at the bottom of the basin where I tried to stay on an old track, but even still, lots of postholing on the exit.
|2016-05-29||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Climbed Handies from American Basin. Lots of snow up there and everywhere right now. Summit riding potential from every aspect. The SW line won't last long - you mostly ride 15 foot wide cornice corridor down to the SW slopes. The lines to the west don't directly connect cleanly, however there are some intriguing options off the N. Ridge to the western gullies. The gem lines still lie to the east. The NE Chutes that connect from the ridge halfway down the East Face are still in. I recommend climbing from the East if you want to ride those. All in all riding potential is high in the Handies Group right now. Go get it. BTW Cinnamon Pass from Silverton is fucked up.
|2016-05-21||Route: West Slopes
Info: Parked a Honda Element at American Basin. Arrived around 7AM from CB and two vehicles were there. Winds were light to moderate in the parking lot and made the call to wear warm Kincos. Clear skies and warm. The whole time, I wore a soft shell OR hoody and when I transitioned to boots, I wore an ultralight OR goretex jacket to the summit and back. Skinned from the parking area and did hear a few whumps in the valley bottom. Snow was punchy. On the west side, put ski crampons and cruised until winds kept pushing my 115 lb body and 20 lb pack around. Winds were moderate (Snow, Weather, Avalanches USDA FS, 2004). On a traverse 300 feet above valley bottom, ipostholed a few times to my knees till hit the continuous snow line to the summit. Boot packed within 700 feet of summit ridge with no post holing. With ski crampons, skinned the last 700 feet to summit and saw Ned from CB and another person from Pitkin on ski down. Summit ridge: moderate winds transported snow, but no loading on north side. Skied edgable snow via climbing route back to car by 11AM. The west side had no avy debris. The north side (Cinammon Pass Road) was full of debris due to point release slides originating from all rock bands. At Grizzly Gulch T.H. met two guys from Durango who took this route and indicated they had corn (Time of meeting was around 3pm). On the drive: 3 elk herds, 2 moose, and 1 snowshoe hare.
|2016-05-14||Route: West Slopes
Info: Climbed and skiied West Slopes of Handies. Ascent took about 3 hours. Snow was continuous from summit to car. Parked right after creek crossing in American Basin about 3/4 of a mail from summer trailhead.
|2016-03-03||Route: South slopes
Info: Summited Handies via south slopes. 2 wd to Cataract TH. Snow supportive in am. Right side of Boulder cr. drying out. No loading above right side. One old wet slide (small one). No cornices on left side of cliffs up high. Best trail was in the creek bed. Went straight up snow tongue to summit. Scree surfing on descent. Some postholing on lower slopes during descent at 1pm.
|2015-10-17||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Small amount of snow, starting around 12,000‘, with about 2" of accumulation at the summit. Road is dry and stream near trailhead is hardly flowing.
|2015-09-11||Route: East Slopes
Info: Drove to the trailhead over Cinnamon Pass Wednesday night. Road was in good condition and a breeze for my Ford Ranger. You do need 4WD and some clearance. Hiked Redcloud/Sunshine on Thursday and Handies from Grizzly Gulch on Friday. The trail conditions and weather could not have been better. I had at least 20 minutes alone on each peak.
|2015-09-01||Route: Southwest Slopes
Info: Climbed Handies from Silver Crk/Grizzly Gulch Trailhead. Driving in, the Aspens were just starting to turn. Still mostly green. More fall colors showing here than near Telluride/Wilson Peak the day before. Snow free trails!