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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|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.
|2014-05-20||Route: South Face
Info: good continuous snow. rode from as close to the summit as I imagine possible....
|2013-09-01||Route: South Face
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.
|2013-07-01||Route: South Face
Info: Climbed Sunlight & Windom on 7/1 and Eolus & North Eolus on 7/2; conditions on Sunlight, Eolus and North Eolus are snow free on standard routes, if you‘re traversing over to Windom from Sunlight, you will have to cross over a small snowfield or two if you drop down earlier - but they provide no real problem even early morning since they are short and if steps are not kicked in already, poles should get you there fine. No need for an axe or traction IMO. Stream crossings lower down are very easy. Hail and some snow fell up high above 12k on the morning of Jul 2, but nothing accumulated and was short lived (just a bit scary sitting there @ 13k+ waiting out the dark skies and weather!). Marmots and Goats very active below basin - guard your stuff and watch where you pee (goats will follow you).
|2013-06-11||Route: South Face
Info: No snow until Twin Lakes. Was on snow traversing high from Windom. But after cutting over to the west side of the route, I managed to avoid snow for the upper part of the route. On my descent, I was only on snow (excluding lower angle stuff lower in the basin) for maybe 50 feet, although that short stretch is steep enough that I was facing in.
|2012-06-27||Route: South Face
Info: Everything is dry and in great condition (except for the loose rock but that‘s always there)