Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
Forum rules
Please do not use this forum to advertise, sell photos or other products or promote a commercial website. For more details, please see the Terms of Use you agreed to when joining the forum.
User avatar
Wish I lived in CO
Posts: 1058
Joined: 2/8/2008
14ers:summits57 
Trip Reports (11)

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by Wish I lived in CO » Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:59 pm

Ptglhs wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:11 pm
RobLowe wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:31 am
Ptg... Sundog is a fun alternative. There is no sign preventing one from going down Sunshine and then down the gully between Sunshine and Sundog.
The sign in question is between sunshine and Red Cloud. You are correct there is no signage, and not much of a trail, between sunshine and sundog.
Yeh, below is a visual of the closed area, different than the alternate route.
Attachments
RS.jpg
RS.jpg (226.83 KiB) Viewed 965 times
I look up to the mountains - does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! Psalm 121:1-2
User avatar
Wish I lived in CO
Posts: 1058
Joined: 2/8/2008
14ers:summits57 
Trip Reports (11)

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by Wish I lived in CO » Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:06 pm

That gulley on the Sunshine alternate route was flat out the worst gulley I've ever done. Bross, Lindsey std., Pyramid ampitheatre, Sneffels, even Columbia don't really hold a candle to just how bad this gulley is. Most dangerous spot I've been on for a 14er route. Steep and loose. Enjoyable route other than that, and loops are always fun. But just know what you're getting into.
I look up to the mountains - does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! Psalm 121:1-2
User avatar
glenmiz
Posts: 822
Joined: 8/30/2013
14ers:summits58 
13ers:summits97 ski1 winter4 
Trip Reports (4)

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by glenmiz » Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:22 am

Sundog's a nice little peak with a great name!
Aim high to end high
User avatar
CaptCO
Posts: 1554
Joined: 7/14/2019
14ers:summits58 winter12 
13ers:summits43 
Trip Reports (5)
Contact:

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by CaptCO » Tue Jul 07, 2020 7:44 am

If you end up doing the loop, do RC first (CW) and deal with the hellish route on Sunshine afterwards. I did the loop, but wouldn't do it again because of the gulley and avy damage down low
"It's a thing if you want it to be a thing. What others think of something is irrelevant." -OldSchool
User avatar
LetsGoMets
Posts: 271
Joined: 9/9/2012
14ers:summits49 winter4 
13ers:summits93 winter6 
Trip Reports (1)

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by LetsGoMets » Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:53 am

Looped 13832 and 13811 with RC and Sunshine a couple years ago and descended the gully for a big loop, agreed it's a bit sketchy. I thought the overall route was a good alternative and experience than repeating down the standard however and would recommend it if you're comfortable with that type of terrain.
Instagram: @bsodaro86
quinnwolf
Posts: 7
Joined: 8/12/2012
14ers:summits49 ski3 winter3 
13ers:summits42 ski1 winter2 

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by quinnwolf » Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:49 am

I just did this last week. I (arbitrarily) decided to do RC first then SS. The standard route to SS is typical standard class 2 trail where you won't have any problems. After reaching SS, I descended west off SS on a faint, but easy-to-follow trail. The west ridge (and the entire NW face of SS) is pretty steep, but I found it to be manageable class 2 (I have only done a few of the easier class 3 routes like Kelso, Sneffels, Longs, Wetterhorn, Kit Carson for comparison). I found the correct gully very easily - the pictures on the route description are perfectly helpful. I also was able to study the entire route by looking down during the traverse from RC to SS, where you can see the entire route. I started to descend the gully and then quickly realized that this was not for me. It is very steep and very loose. It is just a slide of dirt as far as I could tell. I didn't have hiking poles or an ice ax, and I decided that I would rather ascend the 800 feet back to SS (and then the 500 feet back to RC) than go down that gully. And that is exactly what I did (that right there should tell you how scary that gully looked). I have done the descent off Columbia (the 14er) and Challenger and Bross and this looked way worse (although it is short - maybe only 200-300 vertical feet). I never really learned how to descend stuff like that (if there is even a "correct technique"), so maybe its not really that bad if you know what you are doing. I think the only way to do it is to slide on your butt using hiking poles to control your speed. I have no idea how you would go up it.
The gully next to the correct one was filled in with snow, so maybe an ice ax and microspikes would be a better decision.
I never thought of going up and over Sundog and then dealing with the downhill bushwacking back to the car, but I hadn't researched this at all, so it wasn't an option for me at the time.
One other thing to consider is that if you attempt to go down the gully, then you are "only" 800 vertical feet (and less than a half mile) from the standard trail if you decide not to do it. Plus there is the Sundog option if you research that ahead of time. But, if you attempt to go up the gully, then you are 1.5 miles and 1500 vertical feet from the standard trail if you decide to turn around.
I will also warn you that it is a long way from SS back to RC, so the loop is definitely attractive. When I do it again, I will look into the Sundog option.
User avatar
Scott P
Posts: 8123
Joined: 5/4/2005
14ers:summits51 winter16 
13ers:summits41 winter13 
Trip Reports (16)
Contact:

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by Scott P » Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:18 pm

Wish I lived in CO wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:59 pm
Ptglhs wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:11 pm
RobLowe wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:31 am
Ptg... Sundog is a fun alternative. There is no sign preventing one from going down Sunshine and then down the gully between Sunshine and Sundog.
The sign in question is between sunshine and Red Cloud. You are correct there is no signage, and not much of a trail, between sunshine and sundog.
Yeh, below is a visual of the closed area, different than the alternate route.
I have done that alternate route, but unless the route is snow covered, it is aweful. It also kills the point of having the earlier route closed since this route is much more erosion prone.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.
User avatar
nmjameswilson
Posts: 166
Joined: 9/7/2018
14ers:summits37 
13ers:summits7 
Contact:

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by nmjameswilson » Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:47 pm

I did this a few days ago and went back over Redcloud. It's really not that much to do
User avatar
Wentzl
Posts: 676
Joined: 7/29/2008
14ers:summits58 winter20 
13ers:summits53 
Trip Reports (41)

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by Wentzl » Sat Jul 11, 2020 8:58 pm

Scott P wrote:
Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:18 pm
Wish I lived in CO wrote:
Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:59 pm
Ptglhs wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:11 pm


The sign in question is between sunshine and Red Cloud. You are correct there is no signage, and not much of a trail, between sunshine and sundog.
Yeh, below is a visual of the closed area, different than the alternate route.
I have done that alternate route, but unless the route is snow covered, it is aweful. It also kills the point of having the earlier route closed since this route is much more erosion prone.
Aweful? IS that a good thing or bad?
Shorter of Breath and One Day Closer . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K7TU1Hh_3U
User avatar
DeTour
Posts: 567
Joined: 7/27/2007
14ers:summits40 
13ers:summits1 
Trip Reports (30)

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by DeTour » Sun Jul 12, 2020 10:44 am

I will dissent a bit from the prevailing opinion here. We did the Northwest Face approach to Sunshine in 2012, and while the scree gully did indeed suck, it's the only objectionable part of the route and I didn't think it was as dangerous as some have described here. The top part of the gully was steep enough to be sketchy, but it's coarse scree sand, not rubble. My read was that any potential rockfall, or a slip by a person, would be slowed by that soft sand and wouldn't likely go too far (although I did say I wouldn't want to test that theory). And it's not that long. The total gully is in the 400-500' vertical, but only the top third or so is steep. Anyway, bottom line for me is that it was not a "never again" kind of situation.

However, I will throw in with the Sundog promoters, even though I didn't do it. At the time, looking up at Sundog, I wished we had chosen that route. I was thinking one would still do the route counter-clockwise, turning off the main trail at Silver Creek the same way we did for the basin, but veering slightly right to ascend the north ridge of Sundog. But if there's a lot of bushwhacking, maybe a clockwise route with a descent of Sundog is a better option.
A vaincre sans peril, on triomphe sans gloire
User avatar
Trotter
Posts: 1002
Joined: 6/5/2013
14ers:summits53 winter2 
13ers:summits179 ski2 winter12 
Trip Reports (13)

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by Trotter » Sun Jul 12, 2020 3:41 pm

just tag on sundog
After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. -Nelson Mandela
Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called Ego. -Nietzsche
76dorihe
Posts: 17
Joined: 6/21/2017
14ers:summits45 
Trip Reports (1)

Re: Redcloud/Sunshine loop direction suggestions

Post by 76dorihe » Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:57 am

Jim Davies wrote:
Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:09 pm
Save yourself the misery and go back over Redcloud. Remember the rule: if it isn't the normal route, there's a reason. Learn from the experience of the masses.
"I took the road less traveled.....and it has made all the difference."
Post Reply