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 Peak(s):  Mt. Eolus  -  14,083 feet
 Post Date:  05/15/2012
 Date Climbed:   05/14/2012
 Posted By:  schrund

 Early Season North Eolus Attempt   

I had a work trip to the Western Slope so I figured I sneak in a quick 48 hour sortee into Chicago Basin and give North Eolus an early season attempt - and I am still here in Durango and just enjoyed a few pints at Steamworks . It would have been number 58 for me but I came up a couple of hundred vertical feet short this time; a combination of snow and the need to make the same-day return train in Needleton kept me off the summit. I will look forward to another future effort.

There's relatively little snow up there and I made it to the "no camping above this point in Chicago Basin" sign while crossing realtively infrequent patches of snow. Above the slope leading up to Twin Lakes there is a fair amount of snow remaining but I only took traction devices and a shorty axe and that would have been sufficient if my timing had been better planned.

I ran into a guy on my way in, who was on his way out, who had spent 8 days up there. He has apparently made an annual pilgrimage being on the first Spring Train into Needleton and had some great stories about trips up there over the last 19 years. While he ran into the great goat herd, somehow I missed them on this trip - never saw a one. He even had a crazy story about how a lynx tapped him on his sleeping bag one night while he was sleeping out in a bivy and then casually walked away. Damn I miss all the fun!

Here is the view looking up from treeline: Image
Here is the view as you round the corner from Twin Lakes and begin to traverse upward:Image
And from just further around the corner: Image
Looking up at the bench traverse to the "high and wild basin":
Image
The steepest snow part was gaining that bench and I did that with just ski poles and Kathoola traction devices although admitadly I would have been better off with an axe and even crampons. Here is the view looking back down onto that section:
Image
And here is what the terrain looks like above that point:
ImageMy high point was just where the snow field hits the final ridge line. At this point I was eying my watch as I knew I had a "firm" turn around time. I took out my first aid kit to pop a couple of excedrin and dropped the whole kit and watched it roll about 300 yards down the slope. Knowing I didn't have an abundance of time left I knew my day was over. I scampered down, picked it up and headed down.

Here is looking up at Eolus:
Image
Looking across at Sunlight and Windom:
Image
And Twin Lakes Basin:
Image
Looking back down at camp from the Twin Lakes upper basin:
Image
I wish I knew how those lucky folks got cabins in Needleton, what a paradise. And what a way to get there!
Image



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
Vincopotamus


Nice early season trip     2012-05-15 23:07:40
Kudos on getting out there and enjoying the low snow year. Never a bad trip to Chi-town even if you don't make it to the top.

Any idea on how many trees are down on the Needle Creek trail?


schrund


A dozen or more     2012-05-16 07:16:07
I'd say a dozen or more trees are crossing the trail. There's a few where I snaked off the trail and worked around the tree, some of them are sizeable. But not too bad though.


sgladbach


Man, Oh man.     2012-05-16 13:01:41
I want to get out on a backpack trip. Damn you Summer School!!

Thanks shrund. That was a fun respite.


JA_son27


Thanks!     2012-05-16 14:37:39
For the report! Nice pics


wildlobo71


The high and wild basin...     2012-05-16 22:17:30
I climbed that last July with the same spikes and poles and it was an adventure of good footing as well. Almost sad to know the conditions are 10 weeks earlier. Not a bad way to spend a day, summit or not. Enjoyed the pics - reminds me that Jupiter is calling sometime soon.


saxlover


basin     2012-05-17 14:59:54
nice! thank you for the pics!



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