I've been eyeing this one for a while and finally decided to give it a go. Handies Peak sits at 14,048 ft. elevation and is part of the Hard Rock course. I started in Eureka and ran the road up to Grouse Gulch, dropped down into American Basin and then ran/speed hiked up Handies.
The trail is only really steep at the last few hundred feet of elevation. Otherwise you can run much of this. It's also well worn in on the Handies side, but Grouse Gulch was primitive.
The pass at the top of Grouse Gulch is a little over 13,000 ft and then you drop down around 11,600 - or actually a little higher than that since the Grouse Trail connects a little higher than the parking area for Handies.
Then it was up Handies and I was surprised at how fast I moved up. From the top of Grouse to the top of Handies it was 58 minutes, so I figure Handies itself was ~ 45 mins.
On the way back though it was a different story. I moved to fast to the summit and didn't drink enough water. The legs and feet are still a bit sore from last week so I on the way back to Eureka I walked and stopped a lot. A few times to have impromptu discussions with the locals.
Handies had a lot of people on it, Grouse did not. The road from Eureka was loaded with ATVs, those golf cart like ATVs, Jeeps, motorcycles, etc. I only had one joker on a motorcycle act like a fool as he ripped the throttle oncoming into me throwing up some gravel. Everyone else was friendly.
Beautiful area. This was one of two green but clear water lakes up there.
This is on the descent down Grouse. Fun times - 15 mile run, ~6k climbing, with Eureka about 20-minutes from Silverton so this is about a half day trip if you leave Durango early enough. I was at Avalanche Brewing by 1:30PM, much earlier than expected.