Peak(s):  PT 13,795  -  13,795 feet
"Campbell Creek Pk"  -  13,454 feet
Handies Peak  -  14,048 feet
Date Posted:  07/10/2017
Date Climbed:   07/01/2017
Author:  piper14er
 American Basin great and Campbell Creek not so much  

The good (American Basin), the bad (Campbell Creek drainage), the pretty (Brenda's pictures of wildflowers and such) and the not so pretty (did I mention Campbell Creek drainage)...

07/01/2017 - Saturday

Others have done this combination but not quite the same way.

We started off at the Grizzly Gulch Trailhead which is the same as Handies, across fro Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks. A nice trail through the woods and up to the open tundra. Leaving the main trail we headed up to an unnamed lake, up higher on some steeper loose scree/dirt and snow. Should have followed the grassy ridge to the peak but went up a steep loose dirt/scree and snow gully just before the peak. Does not work out as the easiest way, stay to the right of the peak and swing back left up mostly grass.

Once on the summit it was some rock to drop into the basin but grass for the most part across to Campbell Creek Peak. You lose a few hundred more feet than following the ridge but you avoid any scrambling. A number of game trails take you to the ridge and then to the top. The views are great and my eye was drawn to Quarter Peak. I was driven off the ridge between Half Peak and Quarter Peak a few years back by bad hail and lightning. Quarter Peak is on my need to get back to list. It did not happen this trip as I promised my wife, Brenda, I would hike up Handies with her the next day. other peaks did not happen either as we were under threat of harm by Brenda's parents that we needed to be back Monday afternoon for their 4th of July picnic to set up all the canopies, chairs, tables, grills, etc.

The trek down Campbell Creek starts well but ends up in a willow fight. The snow which should be gone soon covers parts of the creek but it was thin enough that you would not want to try walking on it for fear of falling through. Then you have to decide like some people, whether you want to attempt crossing the river down at the shelf road. Later on in the summer it may work out but Billie Jean and I were not interested in trying it out. The other option is to go back up to the bridge at the trailhead. There are some game tracks but then there is some bushwhacking too as you follow the river back. It does open up into some meadows in the second half of the return along the river but then you end up at the creek back up at Grizzly Gulch, did not look at the map close enough. We found a narrow spot where rock hopping is the order of business. Billie Jean dove in, went 20 feet downstream before pulling herself out and up the bank. It was an easy and quick return to the bridge where the multitudes did cheer our successful return. Well there were multitudes but maybe not the cheers.

Before that there was some goodly bushwhacking trying to angle toward the bridge, which doesn't really work and so we ended up in a narrow drainage, which does go down okay, if not as pleasant as you may wish for. I took a picture when we were driving out to Lake City.

8.5-9 miles and 4500 feet

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Flowers


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The high Camp - the last and best spot and the first in American Basin


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American Basin


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Flowers


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Happy Moose


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Grizzly Gulch Trail


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Handies


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The trail to the unnmaed lake traverses across the slope below the rock and across snowfiieds


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Water that flows out of the lake above


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The route up past the lake and some steeper slopes


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Unnamed lake - looks like a duck


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Should of maybe followed this grassy ridge up but went up and left using a gully just before the peak, hit the ridge below some junky rock


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attempted the loose slag below the summit but it was not great, some exposure, dropped back down and traversed below the rock to here


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scrambled up and then to the summit


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a look down from the summit to the ridge at the top of the loose dirt/scree gully, three pictures back


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the ridge to Campbell Creek Peak, rather than follow the ridge it was easy enough to drop into the basin


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another look


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mountains can be dangerous


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a look back at UN 13795


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UN 13795 had some loose scree but Campbell Creek Peak was a lot of nice grassy slopes


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Views


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Alyson's Register


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Alyson's Hedgehog


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Billie Jean, Half Peak and need to get Quarter Peak, close and very far away, whew


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Dropping into Campbell Creek drainage looking back up


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a bit of a trail down Cambell Creek but it turns into thick willows and there was some thin snow over the creek


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still good


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this guy/gal did not make it, ouch, a shin bone left behind (kidding)


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this small drainage is where we ended up after trying to traverse back to the trailhead, no bridge at Campbell Creek with fast moving deep waters


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snoozing after the big hike


07/02/2017 - Sunday

Handies Peak. The second 14er for Brenda and the first since 1984 (the year we were married), Mt. Elbert. I have gotten up on some 13ers and other lower peaks as she has been in training...

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standard route, no new standard route here


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where to (Billie Jean in the shade)


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snow is no problem


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passed that guy who you can barely see now


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yep I am as cool as the lake


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the trail ahead and people


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making for the crux of the hike


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the crux, rock and snow


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rough snow


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deeper snow


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upper trail


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wohoo on the top


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the one and only picture with me this year for sure, but being in there fo Brenda


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we're back

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49


 Comments or Questions
SnowAlien

UN 13795
07/10/2017 16:50
I think you ascended my ski descent route on UN 13,795 except for the very top as you exited left and I dropped in from the right (and there was a big cornice 1.5 months ago). Brings back fun memories! You must be pretty close on Bicentennials?


piper14er

not sure
07/10/2017 21:57
I will have to look at Bicentennial's, just trying to get what 13ers I can
I have to say that I am happy to get up and down on my feet, I look down some of the peaks that you have skied and marvel at the skill and intestinal fortitude it takes you to go down some of the slopes off of these rocky mountains


Marmot72

what dead thing....?
07/10/2017 22:34
What dead critter was that in the snow? Loved the photos - especially the moose. Lots of snow in American basin - those couloirs look nice! I did a very similar combination to yours some years ago, but stayed ridge proper and ended on a dumb treacherous downclimb before Campbell Creek. My descent differed, but equally atrocious - a long bushwhack that paralleled the road, several hundred feet above.


tb8331
Marmots?
07/11/2017 06:51
Looking at hiking here next week. Did marmots seem to be a problem where you parked? Also, great pics!


Papillon

Congrats to Brenda, Al...
07/11/2017 07:59
I think she's ready for some choss and 40 degree hardpan now. Photo #33 looks like somebody raided the costume truck for an early 80s slasher movie then went hiking. Maybe we can petition the Board of Geographic Names to change "Campbell Creek Peak" to "Jason Voorheis Peak" or something like that? Looks like you are having a solid season again.

@Marmot72 - I think you'd find treachery in the grasslands.


piper14er

a marmot
07/11/2017 08:16
Steve, that was a marmot, belly up, it was a bit interesting as (I did not post the picture) as there was a bloody trail in the snow from about a hundred feet higher up down to where the marmots last resting spot was... there may be a better way back with high waters but I tend to just plunge ahead and thus the bushwhack back to the bridge

tb we did not have any problems with marmots where we camped but I did see a number of people down at the trailhead with moth balls or tarps wrapped around their vehicles

Natalie I checked and I have 40 more BiCentennial's, 4 in the Elks and those darned San Juans are the rest, so a lot more work to go

Kevin "I think she's ready for some choss and 40 degree hardpan now". I will pass that along I am glad I only found the boot and not the mask or the chainsaw


Jay521

Billie Jean does it again!
07/11/2017 11:36
She sure takes you and Brenda on some nice hikes, doesn't she? Love the summit pic of the 3 of you. Nice one, Al.


piper14er

she is a machine
07/11/2017 15:31
and I/We try to keep up, thanks Jay


Presto

Pretty Posh Campsite ...
07/13/2017 08:29
Wow ... I want you to set up all campsites for me in the future (including with the awesome dog). Such a special treat to see you and your woman together in a photo! Seriously! I have a couple of your other trip reports I need to comment on ... I have been remiss. The flower shots are awesome. Always enjoy photos of dead critters, partially decomposed body parts (hahaha), a moose butt, and Billie Jean in bed. It's good she enjoys her down time as much as her activities. Take care, my friend, and happy trails!


piper14er

Posh
07/13/2017 08:40
thanks Terri, good to hear from you

Brenda takes a lot more stuff than I do when camping, usually I get there in time to sleep in the car, so we need tents and a garage, etc. oh and she cooks real food which I usually don't do either

Billie Jean has decided that taking over the bed is a good idea for the afternoon nap



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