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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-04-24||Route: East Ridge
Info: Climbed/skied Sunshine Peak from Mill Creek on 4/24. The route is dry from the TH all the way to 11,600' where you'll find some snow in the high talus fields below tree line and then deeper snow a couple of hundred feet higher. Continuous snow above tree line.
|2016-04-02||Route: East Ridge
Info: Passing by, thought that photos could be if use: -rounded smooth snowy ridge (except for that bump) from timberline to Sunshine, with portion of ridge (still smooth rounded white) to Redcloud -gully from Mill Creek to timberline (largely dry)
|2016-03-05||Route: From Mill Creek
Info: TH to Tree Line: if you can find the trail, stay on it. We found it, lost it several times in the dark and in the snow. It kind of stays to the right side of a gully. But once the snow completely covers the ground, go up. It is a partial trench, but not exactly direct. Once out of the trees, go hit the ridge and take a left, Sunshine will come into view.We stayed to the left side of the first ridge, then up to the summit. The hike to Redcloud and back was fairly simple. There was a bit of concern down Sunshine before you hit the saddle, but the snow was solid. We did not resummit Sunshine, but crossed below the summit back to the ridge. The only time we used snowshoes was in the tree on the way down. The hard frozen snow collapsed from the warm day and we postholed with snowshoes. This is easily a 11 to 13 hour day, depending on your conditioning, postholing and route finding in the trees. Took us 13, but we had a solid hour on the summits.
|2016-02-16||Route: East Ridge
Info: Dry/patches of slush for roughly half of the uphill to treeline, then spring-like slush snow for the second half of the hill. Snowshoes mandatory on the second half to treeline, I was up to my hips without them. From treeline to both summits, microspikes were fine. As of yesterday, there was a trail just past the "notch" that allowed you to avoid re-summiting Sunshine on the way back. This was very convenient as the winds were brutal from Sunshine to Redcloud and back.
|2016-01-13||Route: From Redcloud Peak
Info: Trench is still in place from beginning to treeline although some of the lower sections are starting to thaw. Talus slope was still covered as of 1/13 although melting quickly as well. Used snowshoes all the way to the summit although I could‘ve done without them in the first few hundred feet. Snowshoes helpful on Sunshine‘s North Ridge on the traverse to Redcloud. The Redcloud half of the traverse is mostly dry, only microspikes used for that. PM for pics or further info. I should also add that there appears to be a mountain lion prey burial site just after the first hill, maybe 5 minutes into the hike and directly in the middle of the trail. The mountain lion may come back to this site over the next few days so be aware of this if you head there within this time period.
|2016-01-02||Route: East Ridge
Info: Lots of new snow. Much labor intensive wallowing in the trees, sometimes thigh deep, to gain the east ridge. Used snowshoes from TH to summit. Snow seemed relatively stable, not a single woomph all day.
|2015-09-10||Route: From Redcloud Peak
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: From Handies
Info: Didn‘t climb Redcloud/Sunshine. From Handies it looks completely snow free. Driving in, the Aspens were just starting to turn. Still mostly green. More fall colors showing here than near Telluride/Wilson Peak two days before.
|2015-07-13||Route: Northwest Face
Info: I came down this route. Its pretty easy to find your way down to the upper basin. You can‘t really detect the trail on the upper basin from a distance, but once you get up close there are sufficient cairns. It descends a pretty steep gully into the lower basin as I‘ve pictured. There was a good amount of snow on the trail. I would guess I was on snow for a 1/2 mile or more. It was fine going down, but I wouldn‘t want to hike up it.
|2015-07-13||Route: From Redcloud Peak
Info: The traverse is completely clear of snow. No troubles, easily marked.
|2015-07-08||Route: Northwest Face
Info: The ridge between Redcloud and Sunshine is still clear. No picture as it was a whiteout for me. If you chose the way down the Northwest Face instead of coming back to Redcloud, here are some pictures. You are kind of surfing on big boulders at the start of the descent, then few snow fields easily crossed before reaching the gendarme which is a bit tricky. I had to descent on my butt most of the time, it‘s steep with loose rock but short. There are few gendarmes so you can chose the one to descent. Then the gully is still full of snow so the descent is made easily, beautiful route and it saves plenty of time.
|2015-07-03||Route: From Redcloud Peak
Info: All clear from Redcloud. Any snow can be avoided.
|2015-06-30||Route: From Redcloud Peak
Info: Have the plan to re-track back to Redcloud and then down Silver Creek Gulch. The NW and other routes off the summit of Sunshine are pretty snowy still and very exposed. It‘s a long trek but you get to walk in the clouds on the traverse over and back. About 55 minutes to a little over an hour both ways. Snow is all but gone on the spine of Sunshine‘s approach, it makes for a fun Class 2+ section that requires balance and slow n‘ steady. These are 2 great peaks to climb for beginners and advanced as the Traverse section really adds to the climb.
|2015-06-14||Route: From Redcloud Peak
Info: It is possible to find a dry ridge path from Redcloud for most of the way. There were a couple of small sections that required us to break trail. Summit is completely covered in snow, and it looked like there‘s a very large cornice at the summit.
|2015-06-08||Route: Northwest Face
Info: Snow coverage starts shortly after the trail juncture towards the basin up to the northwest face. The gullies to gain the plateau below the face are in excellent condition right now. We climbed directly up the face, and the snow was bordering on ice. Summit is covered in snow, with a large cornice on the backside.
|2015-05-24||Route: From Redcloud Peak
Info: I wanted to post the road conditions on HWY 550 heading to Silverton, the road conditions to Animas Forks and the road conditions on Cinnamon Pass. I did not attempt to climb either peak due to the conditions of the road from the Silverton side of the Alpine Loop. The road is clear of snow up to Animas Forks and any 2wd can make that drive. I only got about 1.5 miles on Cinnamon Pass before I turned back due to the snow and the time of day I was up there. I have a 2003 4Runner with a V-8 and I used 4 Low several times just to get where I was yesterday. The snow kept coming all last night and today so it might be worse than it looks in these photos. Hope this helps!
|2015-05-17||Route: Mill Creek Trail and Silver Creek Trail
Info: Cinnamon Pass is clear of snow to both trailheads, Mill Creek and Silver Creek. Storms are frequently adding a fresh layer of snow to the area. Mill Creek Trail is an alternate route to gain Sunshine Peak and Redcloud Peak. It‘s south facing and looks fairly snow free up to 13,000 ft. I could see the summit ridge of Sunshine Peak covered snow from the valley below. Starting from Mill Campground you will head straight up and begin route finding. I did this route at the last Fall Gathering sometime around October. I couldn‘t see the full route from below in the valley on 5/17, though it‘s probably a safe bet. Might be the safest route in the San Juans right now if you have experience finding routes. The connection to Redcloud is deep in snow. It may have avy danger. The standard route from Redcloud (Silver Creek) is quickly covered in snow at the first mile. You will find a lot of snow on the standard route and may find avy danger this time of year.
|2015-03-27||Route: East Ridge
Info: Gained the East Ridge from the Mill Creek TH. Dry conditions until approximately 11,200-ft when following the trail. Snow most of the way from there to the summit. South slopes below treeline became wet by late morning with high temps and sun. Above treeline the snow was fairly consolidated, but not full spring pack. Small wind slab formed in the upper bowl from prior days snowfall. Was able to ski off the summit, down the East Ridge and drop into the bowl at lower angle terrain. Traversed some rock to regain snow just below the false summit on the ridge. Skied back to 11,200-ft following my ascent route to avoid bushwhacking.
|2015-02-14||Route: East Ridge
Info: Trail to somewhere about 10,800‘ or so is mostly snow free. After that snowshoes are helpful to nearly 13,000‘ even though there‘s a decent trench to follow. Be prepared for a muddy mess below 10,600 on the descent. The snow was sloppy in the afternoon heat also.
|2015-02-12||Route: East Ridge
Info: I climbed Sunshine today via the east ridge. I was surprised by how much snow was on the route. You definitely need flotation. Today you did not need traction, but that may change on the upper mountain with the strong winds. It was posthole hell, bush wack hell, and a fair amount of trail breaking. It took me 6 hours to get to the top and I would be cutting it close to do Redcloud. Coming down took 5 hours as the warm temperatures softened the snow. I came down in my uphill track and was postholing from top to bottom with crampons on! Skis would be a good idea. You could ski almost any aspect from the summit. If you come down the east ridge. Route, below 11000 feet you will suffer a thousand deaths.