Trail Report - Handies Peak - Colorado

August 19, 2020

Written by Paul van Valkenburgh

Showing Small Pictures    

Trail Report - Handies Peak - Colorado
6.7 Miles Round Trip
2524 feet of elevation gain
Summit Elevation - 14,034'
Date Climbed: August 19, 2020
Climbers: Sheri, Paul

Looking Across Upper American Basin To Sloan Lake

Handies Peak! - Most 14ers have great approach routes, including stunning basins. After visiting the American Basin that leads to Handies Peak, I feel this is one of the most beautiful approaches you will find. The towering cliffs of 13er American Peak that preside over this awesome place will remind you of the Tetons!!

Getting to the American Basin is lots of fun as you'll be on a 4WD road whether you come from Lake City or Silverton. It is off of the Alpine Loop and very near Cinnamon Pass. We were staying in the remote town of Lake City, which is so much fun! While we didn't make it all the way to the 4WD trailhead, we got part ways up past the 2WD trailhead. Sheri and I headed up the basin towards Handies Peak!

The first part of the trail winds up and takes you closer and closer to the cliffs on American Peak. A beautiful waterfall and the basin walls towards Cinnamon Pass are so nice. The trail takes a left hand turn and heads into the upper part of the basin winding through amazing scenery below American Peak.

Turnoff To The American Basin

First Look Up The Beautiful American Basin

Sheri Psyched To Head Up American Basin

American Peak Towering Over American Basin

Sheri And Paul Enjoy The Beauty On Handies Peak

Beautiful waterfall in the American Basin on the way to Handies Peak:

The lower part of American Basin on the way to Handies Peak:

Sheri Enjoys The Beauty Heading To Handies

Trail Winds Into The Upper Part Of The Basin

The next stop is Sloan Lake. I've been by a lot of high mountain lake, but this place is just so beautiful. The way it is nestled below American Peak, you can't see the lake as you come up the trail. Then you take a small side trail and suddenly you are on the banks of this incredible lake! We stopped and took about 150 pictures there!!

Arriving At Sloan Lake

More Beauty At Sloan Lake

Pano Of Sloan Lake American Peak Above

After you leave Sloan Lake, there is a very rocky section that crosses the very upper part of basin below Pt 13588. There were a few small technical scambles along this portion which wasn't Sheri's favorite, but she handled them no problem ... just take your time!! Finally you come out of the American Basin up the south slopes of Handies.

Trail After Sloan Lake Upper Basin

Rocky Trail Segment After Sloan Lake

Upper Part Of American Basin

Looking Across Upper American Basin To Sloan Lake

Looking across the upper part of the American Basin to Sloan Lake:

The Saddle Between Handies And Pt 13588

Looking East From Saddle

The Remaining Route To The Summit From The Saddle

The final pitches out of the basin are amazing as the views across the San Juan Mountains open up as well as into the opposing basin from the saddle with Pt 13588. The final pitch to the summit is a bit slippery but take your time and you'll be fine.

Sheri and I enjoyed the summit of Handies Peak all to ourselves on this gorgeous day with views north to Redcloud and Sunshine, beyond to Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre, and in beautiful mountains in all directions. What an amazing place.

Sheri Celebrates On Summit Of Handies

Paul Loving Life On The Summit Of Handies Peak

Beautiful Views From Summit Of Handies Peak

Looking Into Grizzly Gulch From Summit Of Handies

The Summit Of Handies Peak

The summit of Handies Peak:

Sheri Coming Down From Handies Peak

Beautiful View Of UN13535 On Way Out

One Last Beautiful View Of American Basin

Hope this has been enjoyable and / or helpful to anyone reading it!!


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