Sunshine Peak  
Condition Updates  
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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Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-06-12, By: Thevirtualsherpa
Info: Almost entirely dry trail from TH to Red to Sunshine with the exception of 4-5 minor snow fields. Personally feel as though bringing traction would be an overkill but if you don't like walking on under 25 yards of snow, spikes and/or hiking poles would be helpful. Quick note that from TH, .5-1.25 miles there are a ton of downed trees. Easy enough to get around and I tried removing as many as I could but they need a chainsaw to remove most. Once you get by that section there are a lot of social trails that follow the creek. None of this is really hard to navigate but worth mentioning since it does involve minute trail finding. 
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Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2020-06-04, By: CaptCO
Info: Ummm.. dry to the gulley with lots of loose rock. Gulley was halfway filled in, sketchy as described. Gulley was still filled in and supporting 130lbs by 11am. Shortly after the gulley descent, avy debris/bushwhacking. Saved 2 miles and 1,000' of gain doing the loop, but didn't expect a few of those things. Traction, snowshoes?, gaiters, and axe could be used on the route I took. 7 hours RT w /RC 
Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2020-05-19, By: hogantheepic
Info: The climb up the valley from the trail junction with the Redcloud Northeast Ridge Route is largely still snow-covered, but not enough to make for a good ski tour; instead, snowshoes would help for the trees and you can walk on top of the rest of the snow in the mornings. Bringing crampons/microspikes would be super helpful as well. If you're actually trying to go up the chute to the left of the gendarme at this time of year, bring an ice axe and it should be a rather simple climb. Otherwise, it would be sketchy, cause if you slip, you slide a loooong way down. We didn't have crampons or an ice axe with us, so we chose to attempt to go up the scree field around to the left of the recommended route. There was a snowfield that we went up the edge of, which helped. We had to navigate up a couple of rock spines that were easier to climb than the snow and scree (though super loose). At one point, we full-on rock-climbed up a ~10/15 ft section of loose rock that I would grade at V0 with a ton of exposure. I don't recommend this route, though it was fun. Basically, bring the right equipment if you want to do this route in May (crampons/microspikes, ice axe). 
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Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2020-03-16, By: Squirrellysquirrel
Info: East ridge is sloppy and cumbersome due to melting snow pack. Started at 7:30a with frozen ground and snow, back at TH by 1:30p. No discernible trail once inside tree line nor afterwards until you reach the saddle around 12.4k where faint snowshoe tracks were found, now there are my tracks, which might change with snow projected later this week. Put on snowshoes shortly after talus field, which didn't provide much help, several knee-deep postholing episodes with arresting of tracks and snowshoes more than a handful of times... shaded areas were super powdery, deep, and inaccessible, and I had to stick to sunnier terrain. Above tree line was super suspect to gain the ridge from 12,050ft upwards: consolidated wet, sticky sugar snow, with soft separating slab...sinking past boot level in snowshoes.... same occurred around 12.8k to gain the last 2000ft; decided to turn back at this point because I was alone and due to the elevation gain, increased wind, and worsening of suspect snow. No cracking of slope presently. CAIC gave N. San Juans a rating of Moderate/2/yellow today due to sun exposure and temps, I can see why. On the way down, super sloppy, snow; too soft for any glissading, kept the axe in use for safety back to and through tree line. Below tree line and to about 11k was uber awkward consisting of alternating seriously ridiculous soft, wet mud and sticky, consolidated, slippery snow patches on a terribly sharp descent. Traction proved useless. Poles were incredibly handy throughout even though I beefed it hard core a few times on the way down. Great day for pictures though. Temps 10-30F. My salty suggestions: avoid until there's less snow/melt, hike with much colder temps, or attempt a midnight start to maximize stable ground. 
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Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2020-03-08, By: CharGalli
Info: Parking by mill Creek is limited ( 3 cars ) the trail was pretty muddy and snow packed so yes you will need snowshoes and an extra clean dry pair of socks the ascend to sunshine was not bad until the last bit of the tree line , very soft snow there and we were sinking bad but after that the trail was not too bad yet still sinking in some places , from sunshine to Redcloud was cake, not much snow to sink or worry about tho spikes were still needed ... We tried to glissade however the snow was too soft for that , coming down from the tree line as the day got warmer and melted the snow even more was a total S. Show ... We were sinking bad for about 1.5 miles ... We had a party of 4 people so there is a nice trench assuming they don't get any heavy snow ... Watch for AVy danger if that's the case 
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Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2020-02-28, By: supranihilest
Info: This route is steep, steep, steep! From the Mill Creek Campground the route switchbacks up a couple of scruffy cliffs and then basically goes straight up the hill. Elevation gain is unrelenting. Eventually the trees thin and you top out on the east ridge, whereupon there's another steep climb up to a narrow, talus-covered ridge. The ridge is exposed but Class 2. The final slope up Sunshine is snowy and steep but nothing crazy. Snow in the morning was nicely frozen but in the afternoon was insanely wet and sloppy. We wore snowshoes for almost the entire ascent (only the first 500 feet without) and partially on the way down, then switched to spikes. Flotation is basically mandatory unless you really like suffering, traction is probably not necessary unless you like slipping and sliding on the descent, and an axe is not useful on this route. 
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Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2020-01-20, By: Furthermore
Info: -Snow is highly inconstant thus making it highly frustrating. -Old trench was all over the place and only went 0.5 mile. New trench established to treeline. -I was able to skin to 13,000' but had to take my skis off for sections up to 11,000'. -Between TH and 11,000' patches of snow/ice along with dry exposed talus. Very upset with choice to bring skis. -Deep, unconsolidated powder 11,000-12,000' (treeline). Very glad with choice of skis. -Once above treeline, definite signs wind slab avalanche conditions on SE-E slopes. Would highly recommended avoiding wind loaded slopes over 30 degrees (very easy to do on this route). General area observation. -12,000-13,000'. Powder mixed with wind slab. Easy travel (at least UP with skis). -13,000-summit. Mixed talus with windblown hard pack snow. -Descent. Snow sucked for skiing to 12,000' due to mix of powder and wind slabs. -Skiing was great to 11,500' until aspen trees got too thick. -Not able to ski below 11,000'. I post-holed down to avoid destroying skis. Despite post-hole, it wasn't that difficult and surprisingly manageable. Overall thoughts. -With current conditions, would not take skis again and would take snowshoes. Although, without a trench between 11,000-12,000', snowshoes would suck. -Took and did NOT use axe or micro-spikes. Some folks MIGHT desire traction. -Took just under 8 hours RT with Redcloud. 
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Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2020-01-03, By: Squirrellysquirrel
Info: Mill Creek TH is accessible with AWD. Didn't attempt the peak, instead did a little recon. Someone skinned up, probably a week ago, another snowfall of 6-8inches on top of last tracks. Unsure of how far up this person achieved. Last photo is start of TH. Decided to climb up Williams Creek to test snow conditions. Significant powder, even in snowshoes; ranged from knee to thigh deep, no shoes resulted in neck to chest deep in spots. Topped out at 10,500ft. Assessed snow for avalanche potential at this spot, 4ft assessment: revealing three distinct layers of eggshell with babyBB snow at bottom and sugar-unconsolidated between the top two layers. Snow maybe suspect up Sunshine's East side as well. Temperatures ranged from -5 to 22 degrees. A great day to explore! 
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Route: Via \"Sundog\"
Posted On: 2019-11-12, By: supranihilest
Info: See the conditions report on "Sundog" for the ridge to the flats below Sunshine. The route up Sunshine from this area is obvious, take one of the trails. There's snow drifted on the trails but sticking to the margins of the trails you can avoid most of it. Traverse back over Redcloud, which is similarly snowy with most of being avoidable. I wore trail runners for the entire day and while my feet were wet it was warm enough to be OK; wear appropriate footwear for you and conditions. Carry microspikes or traction, you'll want them for any possible descent route. 
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2019-11-07, By: RWSchaffer
Info: Seasonably thin snow cover, with a bit more on the Sunshine Peak end of the ridge than the Redcloud Peak end of the ridge (pictured). Gaiters and appropriate boots recommended. I carried but did not use spikes and snowshoes. Snow occasionally reached the top of my 12 inch winter boots, but generally did not exceed ankle deep. 
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Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2019-09-19, By: Unknown
Info: Redcloud NE Ridge: Trail is still snow free until you crest the false summit, where there is a shallow snowfield (1-2"). There is a shallow snowfield forming (1-3") along the true summit ridge that can be avoided if desired. Traction unnecessary, had good footing in just trail runners. Sunshine: Insignificant snowfields forming (Photo). Essentially still dry. 
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Route: East Ridge
Posted On: 2019-09-15, By: brousseau
Info: Low clearance vehicle determined the route for me. Started at 8 am, nice hike through the trees, but very steep and loose in areas. Without GPX, the trail is difficult to follow at times. I did spend some time looking for the next cairn to make sure I was following the route. It slowed me down a bit and probably added 10-15 minutes to my ascent through the trees. 4 hours to Sunshine Summit. I decided to descend via Northeast Ridge to minimize my risk. Summited Redcloud, then made my descent. Tons of debris from the avalanches made for a few challenges on the way down. Hitched a ride back to Mill Creek. 
Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2019-08-31, By: penadam
Info: Do not recommend this route. Summited via redcloud (everything in pretty good shape on that route), then decended the NW face to make a loop of it. Great trail through the talus coming down to the headwall. Had the GPS tracks, so no issues finding the correct gully to descend. However, the gully appeared to be have significantly more erosion than the pictures on the route guide, making it much looser than described. I'd do it again, but it wouldn't be my first choice. The 'trail' through the talus field is ok, but there are steep traverses that have sections eroded away, leaving some nasty sidehilling. Once you're into the gully, there's 0.5 miles of Avi debris to negotiate. We lost the trail early and suffered through. Stay to the north side of the river to avoid our mistake. Cruiser once back in the main trail. In short, the trail needs significant work to be returned to what's described in the descriptions here. Wouldn't recommend until this had occurred. 
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Route: Northwest Face
Posted On: 2019-08-19, By: SephTR
Info: The valley this route is in was hit by a large avalanche. There's debris everywhere and it's hard to navigate that section, which is probably about half a mile long. Past that, the trail is doing fine above the treeline. The avalanche starts at the trail junction from the main route, you have to cross a lot of snow just to get to the route. Unless you want to climb over fallen trees, don't do this route. 
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2019-07-16, By: jnorris303
Info: For the journey up Redcloud, see my peak conditions report from the same date. The jaunt over to Sunshine is snow-free and simple. Sunshine is a bit rockier than Redcloud so be prepared for some loose rocks the last 200 ft or so to the summit. It took me about 1.5 hours to go from Redcloud to Sunshine and then back to the top of Redcloud. GPS altimeter said 14,016' a the top of Sunshine. Maybe it's taller than we are giving it credit for!  
Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2019-07-06, By: Otter and Fox
Info: Avalanche debris covers the trail in many places, however route finding is not difficult. Traction devices & ice axes are not necessary, but you'll probably appreciate having them. Great hike, highly recommended, even more so now as the destruction and debris from recent avalanches is spectacular. And our dog Calli rocked this hike 😊 
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Route: Via Redcloud Peak
Posted On: 2019-07-08, By: bludwig
Info: The approach of Redcloud was mostly dry but snow was hardpacked. There is a lot of avalanche debris, as mentioned in previous reports, in the initial valley. You will lose the trail a few times in the debris but it is very defined towards the summit ridge. Microspikes were helpful in the snowfields before the summit but not entirely necessary. The route to Sunshine had some snow but no traction was necessary. Photo 1 is the final approach to Redcloud over the snowfields. Photo 2 is Redcloud from Sunshine summit. Photo 3 is the snowfields up Redcloud looking towards Handies. 
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