Handies Peak

July 18th, 2009

Jason and I finally summited the last of Colorado's Fourteeners to complete our goal. It took us 7 years and 3 days to achieve this goal. I'll post a summary of the experience later.

We'd saved an easy mountain for our final on the list so that we could have a celebration on the summit. Jason brought his whole family, and Anne-Marie and Ellie joined me. We also had Chad Board and his son Mason, Aaron and his wife Stacey and daughter Julia, Jason's friend Brad and his family, and Victor from 14ers.com.


Elevation Profile:

Keziah is 6 and her cousin Ellie is 5 and both did great on this hike.

We started a little after 6, so we got to see the sun slowly light up the valley. It was tough to get the kids going that early, but once up they were ready to go.

Ellie took a lot of breaks, but that's to be expected.

It took us an hour and a half to reach Sloan Lake. The weather forecast called for sunny skies all day so we knew we could take our time.


This was the first time we'd been in the sun so we stopped and refueled everyone and adjusted clothing layers.

Lots of snacks along the way keep the kids happy and energized.

Noah borrowed Jason's hat for the hike. I think he still has a little bit before he's completely grown into it.

American Basin was looking quite beautiful. There was still some snow around, and the wildflowers were plentiful.

Aaron, Stacey, and Julia (and their dog Quincy) got a later start so they had to catch up.

For our party on the summit I carried a 60+ pound pack with a grill, brats, buns, tiki torches, suit, propane, leis, and more. Jason brought beer, hotdogs, and some other gear. Chad carried up chips and salsa. We were prepared.

Though we got spread out along the way, the faster groups waited a bit and we arrived on the summit pretty much as a group with a few stragglers. You can see the weather was perfect.

Keziah and Ellie both successfully climbed their first fourteener without being carried at all.

Time for the party to begin!

We did it!!!

The summit group without Brad and company (He had to head down early to make sure his wife was doing OK).

Sherpa Aaron arriving at the summit with his family.

Hanging out.

The Jason Friesema Family.

The Sudduths.

The Boards.

Brad and his daughter's friend I believe.

Me, Anne-Marie, and Ellie.

He ain't heavy, he's my brother.... well yeah he's actually really heavy.

For the 14er.com shirt marketing campaign.

One overcooked brat anyone?

Ellie got a little bored of the party.

A brat never tasted so good.

All the boxes filled in.

Signing Jason's summit shirt.

The party had to end sometime of course, though the clouds still showed no signs of dangerous weather.

I don't think I've ever had such perfect weather on a hike as we did on this day. It made for a great day since we never felt rushed at all.

Sloan Lake was a spectacular blue due to the glacial silt. Very inviting.

So we jumped in. If I had to guess I'd say the water temperature was 32.5 degrees. We weren't in long.

Sooo cold.

This is how big the marmot was.

Aaron's dog was so tired at the end of the hike. I think he slept for 2 days straight afterward.

Some flower shots:

Isaac was happy for us to get back, but was really most excited about my hat.

I want to say thanks to everyone who made this hike possible, and thanks for sharing all of these photos with me.

Hiking buddy (aka brotha from the same motha):Jason Friesema
Understanding Wife 1:Anne-Marie Friesema
Understanding Wife 2:Trisha Friesema
5 year old super hiker:Ellie Friesema
6 year old super hiker:Keziah Friesema
Boy wonder:Noah Friesema
Hiking friend whose pack smells like salsa now:Chad Board
Sherpa:Aaron Sudduth
Babysitter of crazed 3 year olds:Sarah Greenstreet
My biggest fans:Isaac and Kenny Friesema
The truck guys:
  • John Friesema
  • Chad Board
  • Aaron Sudduth
  • Jason Friesema
  • Trish Friesema
  • Aaron Sudduth
  • Anne-Marie Friesema

Oh yeah, I also got to see my first moose in Colorado near Lake San Cristobal. Nice addition to the hike.

You are welcome to contact me with any questions regarding questions about, or problems with, this website. Just send me an e-mail at josh_friesema@hotmail.com.