Handies Peak

Condition Updates  
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2023-05-29, By: rsuminsby
Info: Started from Grizzly Gulch TH, put on skis about 11,500'. Some post holing required in spots below that, so bring extra socks. Crossed a snow bridge and ascended to the left (south) side of the creek, and then crossed over the creek again once we reached the upper basin. We were able to skin to within about 300' of the summit ridge, and probably could have skinned all the way, but we elected to bootpack the last bit, mostly on the summer trail. Enough snow to ski off the summit! 2000' of beautiful corn snow, and then another 700' descent through the woods before we found another snow bridge and picked up the hiking trail. 
Route: Grouse Gulch - American Basin
Posted On: 2023-05-25, By: HikesInGeologicTime
Info: Plenty of other peaks in the area still holding snow, but not the west side of Handies. But before potential hikers get excited about leaving the snowshoes behind, be aware that there still appeared to be a decent amount of snow in the basin itself. Still a good, mostly continuous ski from the pass between Grouse Gulch and American Basin and the trailhead, for anyone in the area looking to log more time on the waxed boards. 
2 5
Route: NE Couloir
Posted On: 2023-04-24, By: pgres
Info: Road to Silver Creek / Grizzly Gulch Trailhead was gated at the bottom, adding about 8 miles RT (15 miles, 4500' vert). Road was plowed all the way to the TH and beyond (likely closed to prevent rutting since there's still a good amount of water/mud on the road). The mud wasn't an obstacle for walking and the approach went super quick, but wasn't possible to skin. Great snow from the actual TH. North facing slopes were creamy, East and South facing aspects corned up nicely in the afternoon and were supportive. Followed the ravine up instead of the trail. Bottom part of the Couloir was powder (NE aspect). Top part of the Couloir (E aspect) had a light, sun baked crust that had softened by our drop time of 10:30 and made for really good turns. Beautiful basin. Some fun looking N-facing couloirs on the lookers-left side of the basin. 
10 2
Route: S Ridge from Cataract Gulch
Posted On: 2023-04-02, By: Will_E
Info: Summitted Handies from Cataract Gulch Saturday. The first half mile was trenched by a group of ice climbers, after that I broke trail in snowshoes until the short class 3 section on Handies S ridge, the snow was pretty firm, even in the afternoon, other than a single full body posthole up to my chin;) I took crampons and an axe, but used neither. Side note, Boulder Gulch slid at some point recently, theres a decent size debris field. 
12 1
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2023-02-07, By: Chrisfish25
Info: Handies from Grizzly Gulch. I did sunshine & Redcloud first & skied down Redcloud standard to GC. I skimmed up GC & then found a easy way up to the ridge near Whitecross summit. From there I took the ridge over to summit of Handies. I skied off the summit all of the way out of grizzly & then skinner the road out. Very warm. Snow on south faces were warming. Surprisingly pretty thin on most south aspect slips. 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2022-10-10, By: Mzapo
Info: Started at 7am and went up grizzly gulch. Amazing job on trail construction with the steps at the beginning. They are steep but have an amazing view of Handies once you are through the trees. Once on the north ridge with about 700 feet of gain to go, the snow is knee to thigh deep (I'm about 6 feet tall for reference). Only a couple inches of snow at the summit though. Made it without micro spikes but would highly suggest them going forward. Amazing views all around! 
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2022-09-27, By: Hiker Mike
Info: Despite all the weather of late, the trail is only a little muddy in a few places. Although the trail is not a long hike, there is a lot of elevation to be gained. You will start climbing right from the start. The junction for Handies and Sloan Lake is not marked so bear left not right. 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2022-09-24, By: JasonCrane
Info: Summited Handies via the East Slopes route on Saturday from the Grizzly Gulch/Silver Creek TH. The main reason for not doing American Basin was the poor condition of CR30 & extra 3-4 road miles (each way). The East Ridge route appears to be longer & more elevation gain vs. Southwest Slopes, but the hike along the creek, meadow & stunning views of Handies made it well worth it. Handies central location to the San Juan Range made for spectacular 360 degrees views. Of the 20 or so people on the summit, my estimate is that 80% took the Southwest Slopes Trl from American Basin. Very dry, summer trail conditions, & no route-finding issues. The leaves are really starting to change & turn yellow along the basin forest. There was also an adult white-tail doe hanging around the TH for the 2 days I was there. 
7 2
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2022-09-04, By: 14ercooper
Info: Route is in good shape. Got spooked by a bear around 4am who had laid claim to the trail about a mile up from the trailhead, and didn't seem to have any plans to move. 
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2022-09-26, By: Stellar_climb
Info: Perfect Weather. Easy well maintained trail to follow. Beautiful hike. No Ice or snow. Not to many people ...surprisingly for a weekend. Despite it being my #43 14er, I still checked weather and carried my ten essentials as I always do to be safe. Only Thing I took out of my pack was my microspikes, which I still consider risky. 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2022-08-15, By: AndyFromDenver
Info: Got to the Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch Trailhead around 2:30 on Friday afternoon and decided to give it a go with the weather looking decent. There were some afternoon showers in the area and we reached 12,400 before hearing some thunder just over the summit ridge. We retreated back to treeline even though the weather was moving away from us. Better safe than sorry though. It passed as expected and we had an easy evening summit. Trail is in great condition and there's no route finding needed anywhere. The push up the summit on the upper section of the ridge is definitely a stair-stepper and is a bit slippery in spots, but not bad. Lots of wildlife out in the evening. We saw tons of pikas, marmots, and deer. Even saw an ermine, which is had to look up--a small weasel. I had never seen one of those before. The road is extremely rough over the last five miles to the trailhead, but definitely passable in AWD with decent clearance. It was a slow go, but my Crosstrek made it without incident. 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2022-07-26, By: Mustavio
Info: Getting a bit muddy. Caution if this rain continues. 
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2022-07-06, By: zootloopz
Info: American Basin is in peak wildflower mode right now. Go get it!! 
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2022-06-30, By: maylemay1
Info: Drove from the Lake City side. The gravel road is pretty smooth for a while before it turns to crap for a good number of miles. My stock 4x4 grand cherokee had no problem on the road but it was slow going. The last half mile or so in American basin is pretty rough however. Managed to make it up but there were some sketchy spots. Camped at the trailhead, but there are not exactly a lot of places to pitch a tent there, so arrive early or camp elsewhere. The hike is free of any snow and is pretty great. 
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2022-06-21, By: Penhawk
Info: road up past the grizzly gulch/silver creek TH is pretty rough, did it on a mini bike(fun and got there...don't recommend). route was summer conditions besides two or three little patches of snow that were fine going through without traction, or hike the extra 10 feet to go around. very pretty up there. Lake City is really nice as well, ended up staying the night down there. 
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2022-06-17, By: TheDreamologist
Info: Very little snow dropping from grouse gulch into American basin. Highly recommended alternative route to start from Grouse Gulch. This routes more about around 10.5 miles. 
5 1
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2022-06-12, By: kbuskirk
Info: Absolutely beautiful hike. We started around 9am and it took us a little over two hours to summit. Some spots are a little muddy from the snowmelt, we post-holed a couple of times (not bad at all though), but overall fantastic. We hit the summit around 11:30 but started making our way down pretty quickly because of the storms rolling in and it was super windy at the top. Otherwise, absolutely beautiful weather! 
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2022-06-12, By: Tallowpot
Info: About half a dozen snowfields still remain over the trail. Sloan lake is still 75% frozen and as others have posted—American Basin has snow scattered all over. Left trailhead at 6am. Both up and down the snowfields were decently packed. Only postholed 3-4 times. Also—put the baskets on the poles. We didn't and coulda used them. Beautiful day. We hit the summit and the wind died. Absolutely great to spend 20 minutes at the top. No other gear was necessary for us. 
2 4
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2022-06-05, By: derekpetrie
Info: Still a decent amount of snow in the basin, melt out happening fast. Attempted at 3:30p hoping things were a bit more dry, some knee deep postholing in sections. Similar to last report, snowfield crossing trail around 13k probably okay in the morning, but I decided not to mess with it late afternoon after the sun came out. 
Route: East Slopes
Posted On: 2022-05-31, By: Gpacardella
Info: East slopes up Grizzly Gulch. Dry 1st couple miles into basin just above treeline. Minor snow patches and creek crossings in that basin but once you start up the SE facing shoulder, recommend spikes due to quite a bit of snow still. One traverse up near the ridge could present a very dangerous situation if you slipped. An axe there wouldn't hurt but not needed with spikes. American Basin is loaded with snow BTW 

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