Redcloud and Sunshine Climbs

10 Aug 2002 - by Andrea Eddy

Two friends and I set out for Lake City from the Vail Valley on Friday night, August 9. We reached the Silver Creek-Grizzly Gulch trailhead around 9:30 p.m. under a blanket of brilliant stars, and went to sleep shortly thereafter.

We started up the standard Roach trail at 7:00 a.m. the next morning. The route is straightforward according to the book. We spent some time on top Redcloud, in the saddle, and on top of Sunshine. It was one of those rare days that didn't have a cloud in the sky, so it was probably the first time we were able to dawdle while climbing instead of hurrying to make sure not to get caught in an afternoon storm. We did decide to do the steep descent from the saddle instead of going back over Redcloud. Two hikers had come up this route and said that it had switchbacks at the top part. We didn't find it any more difficult than any other scree gully descent off of any other peak, and my trekking poles came in very handy. There is a sign posted at the saddle at the top of this route, that says something like "Danger, This is not a Route." We suspected that it was there to keep novices from going that way if they haven't done a scree gully descent before. There were some medium size loose rocks that we had to be careful not to kick down on each other. This route descended about 700 feet, and we thought it well worth the effort for the miles it cut off.

Be warned that Sunshine was crawling with what looked like ticks according to one of my friends who has led Outward Bound trips for several years. Others on the peak didn't agree, but we got up from where we were sitting and decided to descend just in case. Once we got back to the car, our Outward Bound friend looked the bug up in her bug book and determined that they were Rocky Mountain Wood Ticks. Luckily two of us had leggings on underneath our shorts, and after review of our bodies in the bathroom of Poker Alice's in Lake City we found no ticks. However, our other friend who only wore shorts found one crawling on his leg while sitting at Poker Alice's. It hadn't attached to him yet, so he flicked it off.

Also, there were canisters on both peaks with registers.


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