Sunshine Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2021-03-07, By: JulianSmith
Info: No snow until 11,000' or so, which is a blessing. The climb up from the TH is super steep, and having a trail (of sorts) exposed was helpful. From there, pretty much continuous snow to the summit, except for a brief bit of dry skiing around 13,000'. Snow conditions on the descent seemed to touch on just about every season; 
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Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2021-01-05, By: JtheChemE
Info: Prior to Jan 5 snow: No snowshoes needed until ~11k. From there, old snowshoe trench has been refurbished and there is a strong trench until treeline. Breaking treeline has the potential area of concern regarding avalanche hazard, but was not an issue for us. Obviously make your own determination based on the day. Cached snowshoes at 11.3k which worked just fine as onward to Sunshine and on to Redcloud mostly windblasted rocks. 
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Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2020-11-17, By: Squirrellysquirrel
Info: Started around 7am to avoid the early morning winds, worked to advantage on the way up, not so great timing for descent, back at Mill Creek TH around 3:15pm, which was when the sun started to vanish behind the mountains at low elevation; blue bird day; afternoon temps ranged from 13-35'F. Did my best to kick-in a trail, follow GPS, and move cairns to higher visibility so that when snow is present, the trail *might* be easier to follow; and...!... there's now a nice trench to follow, so it might be easier/faster for the next hiker; it's still a booger-bear route of a 4500k+ elevation gain with ample ankle twisters and rocks waiting to bite under the snow. Microspikes and poles were helpful through steep parts of the trail within the treeline in the morning (ground was still adequately frozen); snowshoes were necessary starting around 11.2k for 1-2 feet of almost consolidated snow, still a little too powdery, with light eggshell crust; this was still within the treeline (tree wells present) and used to gain the ridge/elevation until about 13.6k. From here switched to boots to hop rocks to the top. At the top, there is a mushroom-like cap of snow that's sturdy and windblown, yet looks like a cornice in infancy on the southside, nothing that would interfere with either route, but certainly kept me off areas of the peak along its edges. Snow was relatively safe, CAIC rating of "Low" danger, snow level ranged from dusting to shin to knee deep; consistency was crunchy in the morning and a nice creamy sugar after noontime, which was great to traverse except for when descending in the tree lined areas of royal, slippery steepness. Several areas of hard, wind-blown snow around 12.3k, used to advantage to shorten the route or avoid obvious snow danger; snow did start to form soft, separating slabs upon descent, but didn't have much propagation beyond an inch or two (used ice ax for safety); might wish to check snow conditions along the way with the higher temps this week followed by another snowfall predicted for this weekend, looking like glassy snow features might form from upper treeline to maybe 12.2k. I've included pictures of nearby mountains for recon, after the winds last week, they look much more accessible. Redcloud traverse is pretty clear, too; had I had more time, would've gone for it; tracks of elk, rabbit, and mountain lion also present. 
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Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-10-11, By: durkan
Info: Out-and-back to avoid the slop-fest descent that is the NW Face. Dry. Straight-forward, though don't short cut the large switch backs after the saddle. 2 hrs maybe round trip including break at Sunshine, so boop it if you have the time! 
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Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-09-28, By: Marshall
Info: The traverse over is free of snow and an easy walk. Pretty cold and windy in the morning, though. A group came up the NW Ridge and said it was pretty crummy with loose rock down there. They were initially planning on going back down but chose to go over Redcloud because it was less headache. Another guy did the East Ridge and said it was a nice, isolated hike but pretty steep in parts. 
Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2020-09-25, By: Piotr
Info: Summer conditions, little of consolidated snow in the gully that makes dirt climbing easier. 
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Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-09-18, By: aussie
Info: Excellent conditions this morning. There was a few small sections of the trail with maybe 2-4 inches of snow. However, there was always a pretty good boot pack and some sections were a little easier when sticking with the snow. Snow was still quite firm around 10am. I didn't use traction, felt like summer hiking conditions. 
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Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-09-14, By: hotrodlx
Info: Slushy snow above tree line. Max 18" in drifts but mostly 3" or so. I didn't use spikes but had poles and was fine. Best to get up and down before 1pm if you dont have spikes or the mush becomes slick and very hard trekking. Frozen it's no problem and manageable. 
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-09-01, By: emroka
Info: The Lake City peaks above 13k got a nice dusting of snow yesterday. Picture is of some peaks near Redcloud and Sunshine. 
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Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-08-16, By: Shea
Info: My 11-year-old son and I hiked Redcloud and Sunshine yesterday. Beautiful day, clear skies, summer conditions. Started before daybreak at the spilling-over parking lot and finished in the afternoon. Lots of happy people on both summits 
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Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2020-08-16, By: ClimberSkierDave64
Info: We went up the Northwest Face and then returned over Redcloud. The parking lot almost filled up and there were tons of people on the Redcloud trail but we didn't see anyone going up Sunshine's Northwest Face until we met people descending above the gully. The avalanche debris are best avoided by veering left onto a treeless hill when you reach the avalanche debris and then traversing until you regain the trail that takes you back into the trees and towards the Northwest Face. We went up the gully in the route description but stayed on the right side the whole way up. We climbed some very loose Class 3 on the side of the gendarme to the right to avoid the steep scree in the middle of the gully that had no traction. It is almost impossible to not let rocks loose as you climb. Just try to make sure you don't let loose a large rock. There is a misleading cairn if you head down this route that one group we saw headed to and then had to backtrack to the right gully. Just make sure you go to the right of the furthest right gendarme when looking down from above. If you are going to do a loop I recommend going up the Northwest Face and not down it. 
Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2020-08-09, By: jordanthebuff
Info: I attempted the NW face route and found the cutoff, but lost the trail about 1/4 mile in so I turned back to the standard route. There were downed trees and a stream that just made it too hard to follow in the dark. Maybe it would be easier in the day, but it seemed like it would have been a tough slog to summit via this route. I ended up summiting via the standard route, but wanted to make sure this info is out there! Also, on the summit, I heard through the grapevine that the NW face route was loose and miserable. 
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-08-09, By: jordanthebuff
Info: A great solid trail in the San Juans! Up to the saddle at 13,000 might be one of my favorite stretches of 14er trails. Trees, a stream, various colored rocks, and great views of Handies! From the saddle to Redcloud is a grind and quite frankly, the trail could use some work as it was very loose (climbing with hands and feet), steep, and difficult to find the best line. This only lasted for maybe 100 vertical feet though and was otherwise easy to follow. The trek over to Sunshine is a real commitment. It's not too much effort wise, but it is farther than it looks. It took just under an hour each way and we had a pretty good pace, plus we spent time at the summit of both mountains. In total, we spent 4 hours above the saddle going up to Redcloud. 
Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2020-07-29, By: andrew85
Info: I came over from Redcloud and descended the northwest face. Pay attention to the route description and to the gpx as following the cairns will lead you to one of the gullies you're not supposed to go down (it's not a death gully by any means, but know that it's a class 3 downclimb with a class 4 move). Also the avalanche debris has not been cleared out over the trail beyond the shack and will require some creative maneuvering to get through it. 
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Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2020-07-21, By: bradyj
Info: We used this route for the way down. Route is mostly in good shape. After your turn off the main trail up Redcloud the trail is blocked by MANY downed trees. It only lasts 1/4 mile. It is passable, just takes a little extra time. Reference attached pictures. For the way down, the gully shown in Bill's route pictures was not marked. There were 2 large cairns marking a different gully which was 2 to the west. The correct gully was not marked with cairns. We took the one Bill referenced so cannot give info on the one to the west. 
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Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-07-17, By: Mbuck1
Info: Great day on Redcloud and Sunshine. Some rain rolled in in the early afternoon but was off the mountain by then. Trail in great shape, just a couple areas where the trail was steep and the rock loose. There was one area going up Redcloud approaching the false summit where the trail was difficult to find due to a wash out or rock slide. It's a very small section and not difficult to get back on track. The traverse over to Sunshine is longer than it looks and the final approach up Sunshine is steep and rocky but worth it. Great hike just watch the weather if going over to sunshine 
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Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-06-28, By: JakeByk
Info: Summer conditions, further then it looks but well worth the trip. Nice little sign reminds hikers not to descend Sunshine's face. From the summit, look to the right and you'll see why. 
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-06-27, By: treymdominick0351
Info: Summer conditions!!! get after it. 
Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2020-06-22, By: ezabielski
Info: Trail up the basin is destroyed by avy debris shortly after you break off the main route, but the trail does eventually emerge on the left side (if you're ascending this route). Snow is no problem, easy to walk on during the middle of the day, no snow on the steep parts. Overall I don't really think this route is worth it compared to out and back from Redcloud, in contrast to the previous report. 
Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2020-06-17, By: demmons1
Info: Gulley is nearly dry. See pictures. A small snow patch low that might require some traction early morning (e.g. microspikes, ice axe). If later in the day, hiking sticks should work. Outside of snow, the gulley is ALL loose rock and scree. Not a steep climb, but nothing is firm for footing or grabbing. In my opinion, I would summit Sunshine first, as the gulley is easier to climb than descend. Doing the loop is much more fun than re-summiting Redcloud Peak. Of note, an avalanche debris field obliterated the trail just after the turn-off from the main trail. Just follow the creek as best as you can to reconnect with the main NW Face trail. Have fun and be safe. 
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