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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-09-01||Route: South Face
Info: No snow on the entire route. Frost has hit the basin killing most of the skunk cabbage.
|2016-07-18||Route: South Face
Info: Summer conditions for Sunlight/Windom and Eolus/N. Eolus. Minor/short snowfields in upper basin of Sunlight/Windom, both for going up towards Sunlight and crossing basin from Sunlight over to Windom. All flat to low angle snowfields, no axe or traction needed. Eolus/N. Eolus, dry entire way (ramp has no snow or ice, typical wet areas from snow runoff and rain). First time in the Basin for me and it was magical: wildflowers, waterfalls, views, and the trail construction is art work. Great time with a couple different climbing groups as well, thanks to all.
|2016-06-29||Route: South Face
Info: Climbed the South face after descending the NW face of Windom. See that condition report for the approach in the basin. The bottom of the South face was solid snow, but about half way up to the saddle I encountered a fair bit of postholing so veered right onto gravel (8-9a). The upper slope/scramble was mostly snow free and I didn't use any of the snow gear to get to the summit from the saddle. I descended the slabs to the climbers left of the normal South face line and was able to zigzag down the slope on class 2-3 avoiding almost all the snow. I then descended the snow in the basin back to Twin Lakes, with minimal postholing if I stayed toward the south side of the basin. The North side of the basin (sees earlier sun) had a fair amount of soft knee to waist deep postholing through the 1-2" ice layer, causing a fair bit of pain and scratching.
|2016-05-24||Route: South Face
Info: Skied Eolus, N Eolus, Sunlight, and Windom Peak yesterday in excellent spring conditions. The approach is mostly dry until about 2 miles from the main Chicago Basin camping area where it becomes patchy - bring snowshoes or other floatation. Continous snow from above the headwall. Skiers: Eolus is in from the top, so is N Eolus, the Sunlight Ramp is the fattest i've ever seen it, and Windom has great snow from the summit. The snow is great for climbing too; bring crampons and an ice axe for sure. TR will be up soon ~Gueza
|2016-05-08||Route: South Face
Info: Chicago Basin: We hiked/skied in Saturday after taking the 845 train from Durango to Needletown, which reached the destination by 1215 or so. There's no snow at the stop. Our group of 3 and another group of 2 hiked the first 4 miles of trail and skinned the last 3 from approximately 10K to 11.2K at the campsite at the outlet of Chicago Basin on Saturday May 8. About 2 inches of wet new snow was on top of a melt/freeze layer. On Sunday, reached 13.5K at saddle below ridge to Sunlight. Turned back to high winds, snow, and poor visibility. Skied 4 inches of new snow at 1030 back to camp. Other party returned at 4PM and said there was a foot of new snow above 13K. Overnight, we had 1 foot of snow at camp and likely 2 feet above 13K. We all left a day early on Monday May 9, due to increased avalanche hazard. With new snow, all 5 of us skied 4 miles. Fun adventure and forecasts were a bit off.
|2015-09-21||Route: South Face
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.
|2015-09-18||Route: South Face
Info: Perfect conditions! No snow to contend with. Went high at top of gully, recommend that. Mountain is dry. Weather was great and leaves are changing. Chilly nights/mornings, so go quickly!
|2015-08-31||Route: South Face
Info: I climbed all three peaks in one day. Below are details on the trail for Sunlight below. Sunlight was my 36th fourteener this summer. My goal is to climb them all, but it looks like I will be a week late. 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). Sunlight: I took the very steep gully from Windom‘s notch. Be very careful if you do so also. Crossing the boulders to get to Sunlight can be tricky as they can be surprisingly loose despite their size. I got thrown off one- ouch. The gully sucks. Follow the cairns to the top, and do not do the final hops if you have never bouldered, are alone, or don‘t have ropes. I didn‘t do it, and my pride is still in tact.
|2015-07-17||Route: South Face
Info: Still a lot of snow to cross, but most of the route can now avoid snow. Would still consider taking an Ice Axe for protection, and having crampons would allow for fast ascent to saddle. If trying to stay on rock, there is a lot of Mud and slick/loose rock to mess with. This can make the summit a little more sketchy. Having an axe also allows for a fun descent down to the basin in sections. Early morning the snow is firm, and you can avoid dangerous post holes, by 1:00 PM the snow is super soft and careful snow travel to avoid post holing to your waist is needed.
|2015-07-14||Route: South Face
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.
|2015-07-11||Route: South Face
Info: Similar to current conditions for Windom and Eolus, but I figured I‘d add pictures. The basin is holding snow at and above Twin Lakes. Snow became significant for all peaks at about 13k. Can be done without traction/axe, but highly recommend bringing both. Took a lot of pictures, so if you‘re looking for something more specific let me know and I‘ll see what I‘ve got.
|2015-07-08||Route: South Face
Info: Conditions still the same as last report - upper basin still with snow until the notch between Sunlight and the Spire - snow conditions vary from firm requiring crampons to soft enough for postholing. Ice axe still necessary for safety. Can consider combination with Windom as a snow climb up the couloirs to 13,800. It snowed the evening of 7/8 above 13,500. Weather has also been sketchy with storms as early as 800 am on 7/7.
|2015-06-28||Route: South Face
Info: Snowy from Twin Lakes to the summit, with snowshoes and crampons easier than when the peak doesn‘t have snow. Combo with Windom. Chicago Basin is completely free of snow and the camping is great.
|2015-06-15||Route: South Face
Info: Snow starts solid at twin lakes, there will be significant snow in the Sunlight/Windom basin through July in my opinion. We made the summit, although a bit spicy!! Pretty standard snow climb to the Sunlight Pk/Spire saddle. Past there it gets trickier. Mixed climbing, alternating between the ridge proper (class 3-4 climbing in crampons with serious exposure) and traversing 40-50+ degree snow. The summer route is covered in snow and you should be confident in your route finding abilities to attempt! Snow is refreezing at night, but goes from rock hard to mush in an hour or less. Make sure you are out of the basin by 11am, or risk postholing to your knees or more. Eolus is melting faster but still crampon world for a couple more weeks.
|2014-09-28||Route: South Face
Info: Just got back from Chicago Basin yesterday afternoon (29 Sept). We had super weather on the 26th and 27th--perfect conditions with warm temps and virtually no wind--so we were able to summit Sunlight/Windom (26th) and Eolus/North Eolus (27th) with no problems. On the 28th, however, we awoke to slushy snow falling (it had rained all night) and we hiked out in steady rain. The trail, in places, was a small creek. Water draining off of the mountains everywhere (much more than the million waterfalls you normally see) and the snowline was about 11,000 to 11,500‘. It was a beautiful, if somewhat miserable, hike out to the train. If there is a significant warm spell in October, I suppose the snow might melt off, but we may have lucked out and nailed the last good window before winter conditions set in. I should have some pics and a report up on my photography website later today or tomorrow. Just Google Daniel Joder Photography. BW, the Go Pro camera videos on YouTube really make the summit of Sunlight look worse than it is. We went up to the summit block without too much problem and even stood up (very gingerly). Depends on how comfortable you are with exposure and scrambling, I guess (and we are over 6 feet tall, which helps).
|2014-09-12||Route: South Face
Info: Dry, summer like conditions still. Can‘t imagine this will last much longer.
|2014-08-30||Route: South Face
Info: Dry rock despite overnight freezing temperatures. There is a direct route down the south face that doesn‘t wind through the ridge and avoids the gully. You can see it easily on the way down (and this is a good alternative route down.) On the way up, turn left and head up from the basin in the middle of the face rather than going to the gully between Sunlight and Sunlight Spire.
|2014-07-03||Route: South Face
Info: Snow free until Twin Lakes. Several snow fields between Twin Lakes and the gully. Passable without traction or poles in the morning, we postholed on the way down. Gully is snow free. Some snow at the base of the "where the most difficult climbing starts" portion of the route description (around 13,900). We threw on microspikes just to be safe, but you could probably get buy without them. This snow was sliding a bit and may give, so be careful. Lots of snow between Sunlight & Windom, not sure if it is on the route or not.
|2014-06-29||Route: South Face
Info: Passable snow down around the lakes and getting to the gully - no traction needed. Gully is clear as it the notch and the climb up and across to the hole in the ridge. Snow just below the climb up to the chimney may limit your route choices at that point. The first, rightmost-looking at the rocks, crack/gap up the blocks before the chimney is accessible with just a few steps on the snow while the routes farther to the left would require crossing more of the snow at a somewhat exposed spot. No issues above that point to the summit.
|2014-06-21||Route: South Face
Info: Snow free and safe, save for crossing some small snowfields, until the route out of the gully up towards the saddle between Sunlight + Spire. Then, it was difficult climbing on steep snow - an ice ax was extremely helpful. We did not have crampons - only microspikes - but recommend crampons to anyone going. Snow was firm, even icy, early in the day - kicksteps were hard and slow to make - but then softened by afternoon to the point where plunge-stepping would not hold and cause you to slide downwards a bit. Again, ice ax is wonderful to have - I had to self-arrest on a small slide going down. Higher up, nearer to the saddle, snow made way for incredibly loose scree and gravel that did not hold. Large rocks abound but many that looked firm came loose in the scree. Upper rocky portion to the summit was mostly snow-free but wet boots provided some added difficulties, making rocks feel not as sticky as we would have liked. Careful glissading was possible down many of the snowfields back down to the upper basin.