This is not a true trip report. Just recognition of the Colorado Mountain Club’s Centennial Celebration and my little part in that. On September 8, 2012 the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) intended (and indeed succeeded) to put members on every 14er in the state as a way of celebrating its 100 anniversary. Plus, it’s pretty cool to put people on every 14er at the same time and it was a first for Colorado to have a single organization take on such a logistical task.
Our trip leader Beth Hungerford and I had gotten to know each other through teaching Wilderness Trekking School (WTS) for the CMC. We had never hiked together so Beth thought she would remedy that and she asked me to partner with her and co-lead Handies Peak for the CMC Centennial Celebration. I of course excepted. It would be fun to hike with Beth, contribute to the celebration, and to see Handies Peak again.
I had climbed Handies in 2010 and loved it. Handies, like all of the San Juans, is colorful, beautiful, and has all that rugged mountainy stuff a climber expects and relishes in a climb. Its relatively easy and at the same time very rewarding.
And so we did. We traveled down to Lake City on Friday, Sept 7 and rendezvoused in town for some last minute logistics. There was another team also climbing Handies that day from the CMC. We were deciding if we should join up or hike separately. The was a complication in that the person leading the Redcloud and Sunshine hike had cancelled at the last minute and we were trying to find a way to have some of the Handies group tackle Redcloud and Sunshine. These two peaks are literally right across the street from Handies.
Beth’s group was only 4 people so we decided to stick with our original goal of Handies and left the other group to figure out Redcloud and Sunshine. We would wait for them at the Handies trailhead in case they decided to join up.
To (literally) make a longer story short, Beth’s group drove to the Handies trailhead and camped out. We were ready to hike at 7:30 am, the meeting time for the other group to join us, but they did not show.
We set out towards the summit under beautiful blue skies.
Our Group (Linda, Beth, John, and Me) Under Beautiful Skies
The good weather was not to last however as about 9:00 am clouds quickly rolled in and did their best to look threatening. As we ascended the final pitches to the summit we encountered light snow showers. Snow squalls could be seen moving our way from the west.
A Dreary and Dark Sky Hangs Over Handies’ Summit
We captured the summit just after 10 am. Not wanting to tempt fate we did our stuff on the summit quickly and headed back down. Just below the summit we met up with our other team heading up.
The “Summit Shot” For the CMC Record Books (Beth, Linda, John, and Me)
Snow Squalls Moving in While We are on the Summit
On the way down we stopped at the beautiful Sloan Lake for a quick lunch (that we didn’t have time for at the summit) and then headed back to the cars. The San Juan mountains always deliver. We had a great group and put the first team of the day onto Handies’ summit!
Happy 100 years CMC!