San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Uncompahgre Peak, Sunshine Peak, Redcloud Peak

September 2007

San Juan Mountains of Colorado

In the southwest part of Colorado, the San Juan mountain range hosts fourteen mountains that are over fourteen-thousand feet in height.  In the state of Colorado, there are 54 of these "14ers" which are a blast to climb.  On this trip, we decided to take our dog, Scout, and try to tackle four of these 14ers.  In addition, we also enjoyed some of the hundreds of miles of 4-wheel drive Jeep roads which the area is famous for.  This would be Scout's first test in the mountains and he ended up doing very well.  By the end of four days, we had climbed three 14ers: Uncompahgre Peak, Redcloud Peak, and Sunshine Peak.  The final mountain, Handies Peak, will have to wait until next time.

Early in the morning, Scout heads up the trail with Uncompaghre Peak in the background.  On this climb, we elected to keep him unleashed which proved to be a mistake.  Since he was running around so much off-leash, his paws got pretty sore.

Jackie heads up the trail towards Uncompahgre Peak with Point 13,158 in the background.  We usually start these climbs about an hour before sunrise.

On the summit of Uncompahgre Peak at 14,309 ft.  This was a relatively easy mountain with a climb of only three hours.  It is a good warm-up for a more difficult day to follow.

The next day, we enjoyed some of the Jeeps trails which criss-cross the area between the mountains.  Here, we watch the storms roll in over Cinnamon Pass before heading down.  Typically, the sky is clear in the morning, then storms roll in around noon.

Two days later, Jackie and Scout head up the Silver Creek trail towards the basin below Redcloud Peak.  Redcloud is 14,034 ft and we would also climb it's neighbor, Sunshine Peak in the same day.  Since we had to climb two mountains that day, we started two hours before sunrise.

Looking behind is a great view of Silver Basin.

Alan and Scout posing below Redcloud's northeast ridge.

Jackie and Scout begin the northeast ridge of Redcloud Peak.  The summit is to the left.

Jackie begins climbing the last section below Redloud's summit.

After summiting Redcloud, we immediately began our descent and climbed to the south to the summit of Sunshine Peak.  Sunshine is approximately 1.5 miles from Redcloud and requires an additional 500 feet of climbing.  The summit of Redcloud is in the background.

On the summit of Sunshine Peak at 14,001 feet.

Great views of the South Fork drainage were our company as we descended the northwest face of Sunshine Peak.  Our descent route went directly down the valley.

Scout leads the way near the finish of the climb.  Our eight-hour day was 10 miles with 4100 ft of elevation gain.

Although we planned for four mountains, we ended up climbing three.
Ol' Scout's paws were quite sore after three mountains so we decided to call it "good."
Anyway, these three Colorado 14ers are great hikes and highly recommended.

Check out or for information on climbing these great mountains.
Have fun in the San Juans!