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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-05-27||Route: E Couloir
Info: Climbed Eolus and N. Eolus 5/27, Sunlight & Windom 5/28 and Jupiter 5/29. Approach from Needleton generally dry up to ~10,300, then intermittent snow into Chicago Basin. Some post-holing inevitable on the approach. Most campsites still snow covered although a couple can be found without snow. In the upper basins, still lots of snow that is prime for climbing in the early AM with your crampons and prime for punching through by late-morning (bring snowshoes to stash for the way down).
|2015-09-21||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Climbed N. Eolus, Eolus, Windom, and Sunlight. Fall colors are mostly holding back in the basin. Starting to show pretty well on the Silverton-Durango train. Fall colors are near peak coming into Silverton from both Durango and Ouray. Hwy 550 south from Ouray has construction road closures. Hwy 550 is closed Monday-Friday 8:30AM to noon and 1PM to 5:30PM. Last night (9/22) it snowed in the Silverton/Chicago Basin area. Climbed Sneffels today 9/23. Sneffels was clear of snow on the standard route. From Sneffles we could see Chicago Basin, Pigeon, Turret, anything near Chicago basin had snow down to at least 13,000 on north aspects in the morning. Sneffels had snow on the north face as well. Thin layer most likely melting fast.
|2015-09-19||Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Info: Perfect conditions! No snow at all doing Eolus or N Eolus. Mountain is dry. Well cairned to summit on Eolus. Weather was great and leaves are changing. Chilly nights/mornings, so go quickly!
|2015-08-31||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: I climbed all three peaks in one day. Mt. Eolus brings my total count to 37 fourteeners this summer. My hope is to climb them all this summer. You can read more on this hike and others at Sunshineof1985.com. Enjoy! Windom Peak Route: West Ridge Sunshine Peak Route: South Face Mount Eolus Route: Northeast Ridge Distance: 12.17 mi. Elevation Gain (from Needleton Stop): 12,000 ft. elevation gain overall, and 9,000 ft. in one day. Time started: 3:00am End time: 2:30pm Time to Summit Windom Peak from Chicago Basin: 4 hours and 15 minutes Time to Summit Sunlight Peak from summit of Windom Peak: 1 hour Time to Summit Mount Eolus from Sunlight Peak: 3 hours Time to Descend Mount Eolus to Chicago Basin: 3 hours Overall Pace: 1.1 miles per hour *GEAR (to bring): Bear spray, helmet, water purifier, first aid kit, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, headlamp, flashlight, toilet paper, GPS, extra batteries, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from 14ers.com, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, extra change of clothes, wear a tank top, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat, lightweight gloves, overnight pack with water sack and extra water (160oz), food for two full days (large bag of jerky, large bag of trailsmix, 4 protein bars, and 4 granola bars). *Road Condition: You need to park in the town of Durango. If you are tight on a budget like myself, park in the residential area not far from the train station for free- just be sure to look for parking signs. Train costs $100!! You can also take the train from Silverton- which I recommend. If you call them, you can get a discount- tell them you‘re being dropped off at Needleton either way. *Trail Condition: Needleton Stop to Chicago Basin (6 mi.): Trail is very well marked and an easy incliine. The best part of the hike is about 3 miles in (lots of waterfalls). Eolus: Cross the stream near Twin Lakes. It‘s steep, but there are steps in the start, but it then turns to a lot of scree. After the "Cat Walk" DO NOT continue up the ridge line. It‘s high exposure, and a lot of class 4 moves. Instead, keep an eye out for cairns that follow switchbacks right below the summit. It‘s much safer.
|2015-08-02||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: The route is snow free and in summer condition. No need for traction/ice axe. Go get it.
|2015-07-17||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: The path is snow free up until the ramp. The snow is still very icyfirm in the morning around 6:00 AM. Ice Axe is a must to stay safe, and crampons highly recommended. We saw one person slip on the snow and go flying into the rocks (she was okay). By late morning (9:30 AM) the snow is soft enough to kick steps and do plunge steps down. From the base of the Ramp up to the Catwalk there is snow the entire way still. Most of the snow can be avoided by staying on the rock, but the snow melt causes a frost to make the rocks very slick at times.
|2015-07-15||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Not much change from previous reports. We climbed sunlight on the 14th, Eolus on the 15th, windom on 16th. All required us to deal with snow at some point. There were people doing them with no traction or axes but we used both and I would agree that ice axe is mandatory, microspikes sufficient, crampons good and snow shoes definitely not needed. Each peak requires something slightly different and you won‘t need traction or protection for long periods but you‘ll want them at some point. Hopefully things melt out soon.
|2015-07-12||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Still significant snow starting maybe 600 vertical feet above the lakes upto the notch. There was a good boot track as of 07/12 up that snowfield. You can make quick work of it with crampons and an axe, if you want to use the snow. I did it without traction (I had poles) - I took my time and was very careful with foot placement. An axe would have made it a lot safer. I was definitely concerned about down climbing it. However, as we found out while coming down, there is another option - an exit ramp which is dry and avoids all the upper steeper sections of the snowfield. You‘ll still need to cross one small low angle snowfield from the top of the ramp to the notch if you decide on the ramp option. The catwalk and face are snow free, albeit a bit slippery due to the overnight rains - we had to be very careful. So, in summary, do-able without any traction or axe, if you take the proper exit ramp. I suggest at least an axe if you want to stick to the snow.
|2015-07-09||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Still with significant snow above 13,200. Perfect for crampons on 7/9, microspikes not quite enough early in the am - ice axe necessary for safety - our group had to do one self arrest near the top of the ramp. Conditions variable. Someone climbed as a night climb the day before us with no traction. As noted in the last report, once you make the saddle between Eolus and N Eolus no traction or ice axe necessary.
|2015-07-03||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: As of Friday, July 3, there is still considerable snow from 13,000 ft. We used ice axes/microspikes from the beginning of the ramp (photo #16 of route description) to the connecting ridge between Eolus/N. Eolus. We noticed a couple other climbers who did not use any traction. The catwalk is clear of snow except for some snow/ice at the end of the catwalk, but it is easy to walk around it to climb the final pitch. With the warm July temperatures the snow gets soft very early (by 9 am) but held up well enough for us to enjoy some fun glissading on the descent. The climb from the catwalk to the N. Eolus summit is completely snow free. The Sunlight/Windom basin is still holding a LOT of snow. We did not make an attempt to summit those on this trip, but I have attached a couple photos for reference. Some climbers were able to summit Windom/Sunlight with snow gear - others were turned back after postholing waist deep at 13,500 ft. The snow is melting FAST, and I would expect summer conditions within a few days.
|Phill the Thrill||2015-07-06||4||3||1|
|2015-06-29||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: The ridge is an amazingly fun route, thanks to the hikers who suggested it over the "face", snow free from the saddle between Eolus and N. Eolus, snowy from Twin lakes to the saddle however. Snowshoes helpful, crampons if uncertain, snowy for a few more weeks I would estimate.
|2015-06-25||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Summited Eolus and North Eolus on Thursday, June 25th. The previous day I was able to summit Windom and Sunlight. There is a lot of snow in the basin, but if you get an alpine start (between 4-6am, back in camp by 9-10am) then it makes for EXCELLENT snow climbing conditions. Bring an axe, crampons, and decent boots and you can get up all 4 of these summits pretty easily right now. But, be warned, by 10am, the snow surface is absolute slop and can make for some miserable postholing. Overall, I had an epic trip into the basin and was 1 of only 3 people summiting these peaks.
|2015-06-02||Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Info: My husband and I got dropped off Friday at Needleton TH. We hit our first patch of snow around 10,100-10,200, but they didn‘t get consistent until ~10,500. The snow stays patchy through the entire basin making travel troublesome: not enough snow to skin/snowshoe (we had to take them on and off every few minutes), but enough to make post holing a nightmare. The snow doesn‘t really get consistent on the west side of the basin until above the upper basin. However, the east side of the basin has significantly more snow...solid cover of maybe 3-6‘. So if you‘re planning on anything such as Jupiter or Columbine Pass area, expect snow for quite a while. The west side will probably be mostly melted out in the next week or two. And of course there is a lot of snow above 12,000ft. We saw numerous natural slab avalanches happen on just about all aspects except due south facing. One of which was massive. So we just stuck to skiing mellow slopes around the lakes and ridges. The snow is perfect spring ski conditions. Personally, I‘d give the basin two weeks to melt out and let the snow stabilize. I‘ll post pictures later.
|2015-04-05||Route: East Couloir
Info: Skied East Couloir by way of Purgatory Flats trailhead. Snow in east couloir still late winter snowpack with rocks already showing at bottom. Consolidated corn snow from bottom of couloir down into basin. Started skinning at New York Creek with a lot of skis on skis off/postholing until the basin. Snow is melting quickly.
|2014-08-31||Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Info: No snow or ice despite freezing temperatures overnight. The route is over cairned. The cairns marked with orange ribbons take a reasonable route. But there is one that leads to a cliff on the ridge. The easiest route is obvious on the way down if you start down the ridge first.
|2014-08-29||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: The snow is gone now from the Eolus group. We were in Chicago Basin Tue, Wed, and Thu when the storm came through. We summited Windom on Wed in thin snow and fog. By Thursday morning, Windom and Eolus were covered in snow down to 13k. But miraculously, it melted off by 2pm on Thurs, even without sun or clearing! So we were able to grab North Eolus late Thurs, and come back for Sunlight and Eolus main on a long sunny day Friday. All the snow is gone from the Windom-Sunlight basin, and the path to Sunlight as well as the traverse to Windom is entirely clear.
|2014-06-29||Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Info: Just returned from Chicago Basin. We were able to capture all four summits. There is still significant snow on the Eolus route and on the traverse between Sunlight and Windom. But we started early and hit the snow while it was still solid. I‘d say all four peaks are doable without traction, if you start early.
|2014-06-21||Route: Northeast Ridge
Info: Hike up basin from Twin Lakes and NE ramp were covered in snowfields filled with suncups. In the early morning, these firm cups provided relatively good steps to ascend on, though an ice ax was helpful. We also had microspikes but members of our party would probably have felt much safer with crampons. Coming down this snow later in the morning, it was softer and didn‘t hold as well. Ice ax was even more helpful there. Higher class 3 terrain after the notch, across the catwalk, and to the summit of Eolus was snow-free and straightforward, as well as over to N. Eolus summit.
|2014-05-20||Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Info: Good snow. rode from summit into couloir to regain chichago basin. lots of snow where you need it but the summit ride won‘t be in for long
|2013-08-31||Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Info: The climbing conditions were perfect. We were also surprised that there were so few mosquitoes given all of the water around. I saw 2 mosquitoes in 4 days there. We arrived Friday evening and set up camp. Many people who came in after us had trouble finding a camp spot. I expect that it was more crowded than normal being Labor Day weekend though, and there were plenty of campsites lower down in Chicago Basin. On Saturday we climbed Eolus and N. Eolus. Clouds started gathering around 11am and thunderstorms/rain began at 1:30, cutting short our attempt to summit Sunlight the same day. I climbed Sunlight/Windom on Sunday. Clouds began gathering at 11am, but there was no rain or thunderstorms that day. Instead it rained at night. Monday the weather also held all day. Overall, the weather was kind of hard to predict, but winds were almost nonexistent and anyone who was able to peak by noon would‘ve gotten their peak.