Date: September 15, 2007
Climbers: Jody & Art
Info: I'm going to do things a little bit different this time. Art and I both wrote a story this time & since I couldn't decide which to put up, I will put them both on here (Sorry about the extra scrolling to get to the pictures).
The Artman's Story. (I posted his first, cause I respect my elders & he is definitely my elder - hehe)
September, 14-17 was to be a long weekend for Jodster, Artman and Meat to head for Lake City, Colorado, for a little R&R and a few peaks in the San Juans. The first kink in the plan occurred when Meat was, shall we say, detained in Sacramento. Jodster and I made it into Lake City late in the afternoon of September, 14. The owners of the Alpine Village Cabins had made a trip to Gunnison so we decided to tour the town while we waited for their return. Fifteen minutes later we had completed thewalking tour and were back at the cabins playing some horseshoes.
On day two, September, 15, we started out early to climb Redcloud and Sunlight Peaks. I am pretty sure Jodster sensed my fear of his driving over the shelf road and hugged the edge as much as possible. We started the trail at first light and got to the top of Redcloud at about 10:15. We decided the weather was a little too dicey, strong wind, cold and snow on the peak, so did not continue over the ridge to Sunlight.
On day three we started out for Handies Peak, there were fast moving clouds in the area but nothing too threatening. We were within about3/4 to 1/2 mile of the peak, just through the talus, when clouds rolled in and the rain started. Jodster pointed out the fog in the valley, as I turned to look I had just enough time to say, "that doesn't look like fog," when the wind and snow hit us. Shortly after the snow started we saw the first flash and clap of thunder, as I turned to Jodster to say let's get out of here, he was nothing but ass and elbows going overthe talus so I gunned it and caught him about 500 feet below.
The day was not a total loss as we stopped in town for some Italian food and then back to the cabin to watch the Broncos beat the Raiders. We managed to drown our sorrows with a bottle of Caba Waba and some cold beers.
The Jodster's Story.
This was another one of those climbs that Artman and the Jodster wanted to get multiple peaks done in the same weekend, but somehow this just doesn't work out for us. We rented a cabin in Lake City with plans to climb Redcloud and Sunshine Peak on Saturday , and then on Sunday or Monday if we felt up to it, Handies Peak. Well here's how the plans really went: We rolled into Lake City on Friday as planned, and got settled in pretty well. We were able to get an early start at Redcloud Peak, so as to try and give ourselves a shot at also crossing the saddle over to the Sunshine Peak. Well after an exhausting climb up Redcloud we decided that because of the clouds that were rolling in (which haunted us for the rest of the weekend), and the time that it took to climb this one, we had better get down. We decided to return to the cabin and climb Handies Peak the next day. This climb we started just before the sun rose and got back to the truck at just before 2. Quite a long day, but not terrible for the 9.5 mile hike that we had completed.
We decided to sleep in a little and got a fairly late start at Handies Peak (8:15 trailhead). This was due to a couple of things, first of all - neither Artman or the Jodster were very motivated after summiting Redcloud the day before, and the fact that following the directions from 14ers.com we got a little lost and probably lost about 30-45 minutes trying to get to the American Basin trailhead (this by the way is a fairly nasty road). We finally arrived at the trailhead at approximately 8:15am, which is a fairly late start for us. We started up the trailhead, which by comparison is one of the easier trails we've followed. This went well until about the part where we started to cross over the boulder field to the final switchbacks of the climb. This is where the we started noticing some snow and the clouds rolling in very quickly. Within 10 minutes we were completely drenched because of the wind driving the snow right through our clothes. This wasn't the end of the storm, because as we were getting drenched, the storm also decided to produce some thunder and lightning. Now the Artman and I up to this point we relatively certain we were going to make it to the top because we could actually see it, and it was within 3/4 of a mile. When the lightning started there was really only one choice and that was to get the hell of the mountain as quickly as possible. It was the first time in the many 14ers that I had climbed that I had to literally run off a mountain. It was a pretty wild experience with thunder in my ears and flashes of lightning all around us, I think it was quite possibly the fastest I or the Artman had ever run down a mountain.
We arrived back at the truck just as the storm was clearing out. Oh well, the mountain will still be there the next time we try to do Handies (maybe on our next year's weekend getaway).
**Oh – I hope you liked the pics of my sweet hiking pack setup, complete with ice axe & the pic of the Jodster Tacoma on the shelf road (I was standing on the very edge of a 2000’ dropoff to take that pic). And please forgive any weirdness or ranting in my story as I wrote it after drinking a hefty amount of Cabo Wabo.