Author: Gina Pasquale
There were 4 of us who went. Left Friday morning and camped at Mill Creek
campground. The place was half empty and very quiet. Very relaxing. Had a nice
happy hour, in true mountaineer's fashion, complete with a bottle of red wine!
Got a quasi-alpine start of 6:15am, for a drive to the trailhead. Several people
were camped at the trailhead there, and there is an outhouse at the trailhead
too. Started hiking at 7am up Grizzly Gulch. It is a nice steep trail with
gorgeous views of the east face of Handies. The wildflowers were in full bloom.
Caught a glimpse of a beautiful alpine lake above timberline, Grizzly Lake. Saw
a herd of 5 elk in that drainage, too.
We climbed a route mentioned in Dawson's guide, which says to head for a 13,000'
saddle between Handies and Whitecross Mtn. We did this route, but there was
absolutely no defined trail at all to the saddle. I was surprised. We hiked the
entire north ridge to the summit, and there were no difficulties at all.
We all summitted and spent an entire hour at the top, with fantastic 360 degree
views of the San Juans. It was so nice to see blue skies again. We were back to
the truck a few hours later.