Mt. Eolus  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-08, By: mickknu16
Info: Bluebird week in Chicago basin! Incredible conditions for October, no traction needed. The winds of Aeolus cleared the smoke out this week for us, but it rolled in this morning thick as we were packing out. Small fire at Purgatory was a big cause. Fall colors are in full swing. Get it while it's clear! 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-24, By: jryor121
Info: Started from Needle Creek at 2:40 AM. made it up the dry trail all the way up to Twin Lakes. the rocks up to the summit were fine, and the scramble up to North Eolus, as well as to Eolus was dry and bomber the whole time. Made it to North Eolus for the sunrise (6:30), and after a small break we made it to Eolus by 7:25. This was just the start of the day.. https://www.strava.com/activities/3955220004 
 
Route: Northeast Ridge Direct
Posted On: 2020-08-22, By: Clint the climber
Info: We stayed ridge direct the entire time. I believe roach calls this class 4 but in reality it's solid class 3 at best. It's a super fun ridge and I'd highly recommend it. We descended the standard route which was super chill. 
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Route: Ridge Direct
Posted On: 2020-07-15, By: CaptCO
Info: From Twin Lakes the standard trail is intact for a little while, and then a new CFI trail curves climbers left and loops up to the rock rib shown in description. Snow most of the way. Ridge direct was easiest for me, descended standard to catwalk. Tagged N Eolus afterwards which had awesome coral type rock 
 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2020-07-13, By: Sbenfield
Info: Summer 
 
Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Posted On: 2020-07-11, By: s mckinney10
Info: Hiked in from the Purgatory trailhead. Everything was in full summer conditions. There are a couple small snowfields to cross, but no traction is required for the ascent or descent. Lots of marmots and goats in the basin and around the twin lakes. 
 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2020-07-08, By: emily_m
Info: Route was almost entirely snow free. There is a small bit of unavoidable snow at the base of the ramp, but no traction or an axe needed. To gain the ridge there are a couple small snowfields, but these can be avoided without much difficulty. However, later in the day some of the rock slabs near the snow can be a little wet and slippery from the melt water. The final pitch up Eolus has cairns everywhere, but they all seemed to mark acceptable and well traveled routes up. 
 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2020-06-29, By: ifyem
Info: Approached from Purgatory Flats TH on Thursday, 6/28. Chitown Basin is very quiet currently except for several aggressive marmots; don't leave anything unattended that you can't afford to lose! Climbed Eolus and North Eolus on Friday, 6/26. Snow was mostly avoidable except at the bottom of the ramp, otherwise mid-July conditions. Used an ice axe but not essential. Climbed Sunlight and Windom on Saturday, 6/27. The gully to the Sunlight ridge is almost completely melted out, totally dry the rest of the way to the summit. Traversed to Windom via the snowfield, no crampons or even spikes are necessary. Ice axe was helpful. RT length was 45 miles in 72 hours. Pic 1: Final stretch of Sunlight Pic 2: Traverse to Windom Pic 3: Sunlight and Windom from N. Eolus Pic 4: Sunlight gully Pic 5: Summit ridge of Eolus 
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Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Posted On: 2020-06-16, By: jahselassie
Info: My buddies summited all four this past weekend. I don't think they'll post here. I wasn't with them, I only have the info they shared. Purgatory approach. Ice axe/traction recommended but “nothing crazy.” Ok update. Got more info/pics from the homie. I have a video of the route up Sunlight, but it wouldn't accept my screenshot of the route. Feel free to pm if you have questions. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2019-10-06, By: TieDye
Info: Sunlight: S Face still totally dry. Windom: Fresh snow dustings are starting to stick around on the portions of the trail on the NW Face which lie in the northern shadow. Was fine without traction but watch your step. These snow dustings are accumulating on the NW Face and on top of the leftover snowfields. Went straight up a snowfield to the W Ridge instead of dropping all the way down. Fine in trail runners in the afternoon. Eolus: Similar to Windom, fresh snow dustings are starting to stick around on the ESE Face where the trail drops down from the ridge. No traction necessary around 6 PM. Watch your step. N Eolus: Totally dry. The snowfields from this past winter aren't going anywhere. All manageable without equipment at the times I was on them (times listed for reference). Everything else dry (approach, catwalk, whatever doesn't get caught in shadows all day). Still overwhelmingly summer conditions. Get it while you can! Overnighters said it got down to 17 F at whatever elevation that is Friday night into Saturday. Purgatory TH - 710 AM Animas River bridge at Wilderness border - 930 AM Twin Lakes - 1200 PM (15 minute lunch) Sunlight - 215 PM Windom - 400 PM Twin Lakes - 510 PM Eolus - 635 PM N Eolus - 705 PM Twin Lakes - 800 PM Animas River bridge at Wilderness border - 1045 PM Purgatory TH - 240 AM 41 mi, 11.1k vert, 19:30 TH to TH 
 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2019-09-09, By: bludwig
Info: This will be a copy/paste for all four of the Chicago Basin peaks: There is some snow by Twin Lakes on the route to Windom/Sunlight, it is hard and no traction required. The flies/mosquitoes are pretty bad and pretty aggressive. Although, the cold nights may start killing them off. Because of the very unpredictable weather in the Weminuche, I wanted to include my rough split times between the mountains so you can determine how to break them up. Doing all four in a day can be very difficult due to the temperamental weather. Order: Windom, Sunlight, Eolus, North Eolus. I recommend doing North last since it is very easy to bail out on if needed and recommend Windom first because route finding in the dark is straight forward. From campsite (11,000 feet) to Windom: 2.5 hours Windom to Sunlight: 1.5 hours Sunlight summit to Eolus turnoff: 1 hour Catwalk turnoff to Eolus: 40 minutes Eolus summit to catwalk turn: 40 minutes Catwalk to North Eolus summit: 7 minutes North Eolus summit to campsite: ~2 hours 
 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2019-08-20, By: Flyingfish
Info: Dry all the way to the top 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2019-08-18, By: gabsimonelouise
Info: Small (10 feet wide?) snow field to cross just before saddle between Eolus and N. Eolus. Easy to navigate with one pole and tennis shoes; really glad I had the pole though! Would've been a nuisance to slip and have to climb back up, but not life-threatening. Arrived in Chicago Basin via Purgatory Flats, the entire 17 miles was in excellent shape! 
 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2019-08-05, By: pbergmaier
Info: We summited all four peaks on 8/2 and 8/3. Lots of water on trail from the junction at 11,200' to Twin Lakes. No snow until you reach Twin Lakes. Only a few small snow crossings along the trail from Twin Lakes up to about 13,200'. The larger snow field directly below Eolus' east face (photo 1) can be mostly avoided to the right, although we still had to cross about 100' of it to reach the ramp (photo 2). This snow field makes for a great glissade on the way down, however! Some slick rock on the ramp itself, be careful! Around the corner below the Eolus-North Eolus ridge, there is a larger snow field that you must climb (photos 3 and 4). Traction here is highly recommended since it is steep. I used crampons, my buddies used microspikes. I'd bet that you'll probably want traction here through the end of August at least. Another great glissade spot for the way down, though. Above this snow, there is a short section of class 3 climbing before reaching the ridge. The catwalk to Mt. Eolus was completely dry (photo 5). The steep class 3 ledges leading up to the summit were dry as well, although route finding was challenging. Try to maintain a somewhat direct line as you zigzag up to the summit; at one point, we angled too far right (north) and encountered much more difficult climbing along the north ridge. After backtracking a little, we found a much easier way up that we missed the first time. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2019-07-30, By: LoneLobo
Info: Did the 4-pack together in a day (Eolus, N. Eolus, Sunlight & Windom). Started at Needleton train stop the day before. Hike in was routine, very few trail obstructions. Maybe 2 small trees to step over for first 5.5 miles. At the entrance to Chicago Basin, there are a couple trees you need to duck under, followed by an avy field that's easy to walk around/over, see photo. Plenty of campsites in Chicago Basin, but stay away from areas signed "Closed for Restoration". There are many, many mountain goats in the basin, and they are not shy at all; came within 10ft of me too many times to count. They also searched around my tent and campsite in the night; and I spoke with other hikers the following day who were kept up at night from the goats around their tent too. As many have already stated, hang everything including your backpack; or put stuff in your tent. Summit day (7/29): Weather was amazing, this is the golden time. (Wildflowers are in full bloom too.) It was maybe around 45-50 deg.F around 03:30, but warmed quickly. Started at 04:15 and hiked the 4-pack starting with Eolus, ending with Windom. (Left Windom's summit right at noon.) On the hike up to Twin Lakes, there is one small avy field but there's a decent temporary workaround trail with a nice 3-log bridge to get over a creek and back onto the main trail. The rest of the hike up to Twin Lakes is mostly dry. Snowfields are all easy to traverse. I brought my axe and microspikes, and ended up not needing the spikes. If you have burly Vibram soles and are good at kicking steps you can avoid the spikes. Axe (or poles) are highly recommended. I pulled my axe out on the Sunlight/Windom side, but didn't slip out; the snow is still hard enough even mid-day to hold you pretty well. I used my axe for glissades. Eolus side: I crossed maybe 4-5 short snowfields before the ramp. The ramp is wet but fine. There's a large snowfield at the top, under the notch, but I climbed on the rocks (climbers left) to avoid it. It's good for a short glissade on the way down though. Got to the notch at 06:00, summited Eolus at 06:45. Past the catwalk, there's a tiny snowfield, but stay below it and go left. The summit ridge is in fine condition and dry. Route-finding took some time, but as S-Parx mentioned there are lots of good routes and lots of cairns, just choose what works for you. North Eolus takes literally ~5 minutes to summit from the notch. Sunlight: From Twin Lakes, I crossed maybe 3 snowfields going up to the headwall; pretty routine, no spikes needed. When you get above the headwall and to the base of Sunlight, you can follow standard route up the snow gully (spikes & axe/poles advised) or do what I did which is stay climbers left and ascend some good ledges to avoid the snow, then join the standard route at the saddle at top of gully. After the saddle, there's only one ~20ft snow obstacle but you can hug the rocks to avoid. Otherwise Sunlight is in great condition. Windom: Just like S-Parx did, I opted to do a circular traverse from the lower part of the Sunlight gully, around the bowl and over to Windom's saddle. This saved me from losing too much elevation. That traverse is 100% snow but even around 10:30 it was pretty solid. Axe/poles advised for security. Once above the saddle and onto Windom's ridge, you can avoid all snow obstacles. When you get to the summit, there's a snowfield in the way of the final notch, but you can climb higher and top out on the ridge just as easily to bypass that final notch. The summit of Windom is glorious. On the descent, once you get down to the saddle, an axe came in handy for glissading. I found plenty of trash and brought down what I could. Please camp low-impact and take care to stash your belongings so the animals can't get them. Photo 1: I counted 25 backpackers getting off the train at Needleton stop. Photo 2: The bridge across Animas River at Needleton. Photo 3: Around 10,800' - Some trees remaining on trail, all easily crossable. You have to duck under 2 of them. Photo 4: Right after photo 3, small avy debris to circumvent, no issue. Photo 5: Entrance to Chicago Basin Photo 6: Did I mention goats? At first you think "oh wow!" and by the time you leave you'll think you've had enough goats for a lifetime. Photo 7: View from upper Chicago Basin where I camped. L-R: Sunlight is bathed in sunlight; then Peak 18, then Windom. Photo 8: Lots of Columbine flowers in bloom. Photo 9: Take 05:20 from just above Twin Lakes on the west (Eolus) side. Looking toward Sunlight & Windom. Photo 10: Heading up Eolus, approaching the ramp. Photo 11: Sunrise view taken from just below the notch on Eolus ridge. You can see Sunlight, the Spire, and Windom. Photo 12: View of Eolus from the notch. Photo 13: Twin Lakes, looking toward Sunlight, the Spire & Windom. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2019-07-29, By: S-Parx
Info: From Purgatory Trailhead to twin lakes, no snow. Avy debris has been cleared and easy to pass through, even in the dark with a headlamp. Snow starts at twin lakes and depending on which peak you are summitting, has varying amounts of snow. Eolus/N. Eolus, a couple patches of snow. Microspikes and poles/axe were fine for this. Softened quite a bit in mid morning, firm early. From the saddle between Eolus and N. Eolus, no more snow. Routefinding to Eolus wasnt straightforward, I think you just have to find cairns and look for the next one. There is no "right" way, just many options. Sunlight, had the steepest snow. I went up on climbers left, winding around rock outcroppings and descended climbers right. Cairns are pretty easy to follow to the summit IF you take the second window. Snow was rotten in some places, good in others. Microspikes and an axe were good for me. Others made it with just poles, I am glad I could self arrest if necessary. Windom, I winded around from sunlight, trying not to lose too much elevation to the saddle. This worked well and the route was obvious. I summitted around 12:30pm and snow was soft, but not dangerously so. I did not step on snow between the saddle and the summit, I left my axe and spikes at the saddle. Be aware of marmots. Of the 4 groups I spoke with, 2 groups had trouble with marmots eating trekking poles, a inflatable raft, backpacks, jackets etc. Do not leave anything that they could chew on. Additionally, some people have left trash at the weminuche wilderness sign. If anyone wants to be a LNT SUPERSTAR they could pack in some trashbags to carry out other peoples trash. Its only 0.8mi from the weminuche wilderness sign to the train. I hiked from Purg Flats and did the whole 4pack in a day so opted not to carry an additional 5lbs of trash out 9miles. Photo 1: Topping out on the headwall above twin lakes, this is the view. Sunlight spire on the left side, windom on the right. Photo 2: Best photo I ended up taking of the route up Eolus. The route goes left of the couloir and around that peak then up to the saddle. Be careful of the gullies, it is NOT the yellow banded gully you initially see. I ended up descended that ledge/gully system and it was heinous but it was wet and loose. 
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Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2019-07-25, By: daway8
Info: All 4 peaks by Chicago Basin can be done with microspikes and trekking poles, just be sure you know how to safely self-arrest with whatever you bring. Sunlight had worst conditions - snow hard in spots and sank past knees in others. Several rock outcroppings appearing - going up the rocks was easier when available. Microspikes tend to be more suited to that mixed terrain than crampons, just be aware it is steep so again, be prepared to self-arrest. Windom generally firmer with excellent glissade descent. Some were going up with no traction but only by following friends who had traction (wouldn't recommend that). Eolus and North Eolus had multiple snow fields leading up to them but hardly any snow above notch. Easily doable with microspikes. Catwalk totally dry. North Eolus was trivial, rock super grippy. Route finding going up Eolus face was some of most challenging encountered yet (at 55 14ers and counting). Rock not very grippy at all and covered with mud and damp plants, but abundant foot and handholds. Could still glissade patches going down but no longer a continuous slide along the standard route. Rain came every day between 1:30pm - 2pm and typically lasted a couple hours or so with plenty of thunder. Occasional overnight storm but mornings have been storm free. 
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Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Posted On: 2019-07-20, By: pmp6
Info: Go Pro found in Chicago Basin. If you are missing a gopro, I have it in Denver and can either meet up or mail it to you. Please contact me and answer a few questions to confirm identity. 
 
Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Posted On: 2019-07-20, By: pmp6
Info: Go Pro found in Chicago Basin. If you are missing a gopro, I have it in Denver and can either meet up or mail it to you. Please contact me and answer a few questions to confirm identity. 
 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2019-07-17, By: Cranfillpe
Info: Summited Windom, Sunlight, Eolus, and N Eolus on Monday. Previous report still accurate. Avy debris at 10,6 will add a bit of heartache and about 10 minutes. Camping in Chicago Basin - two things that I probably should have already known: 1) PEE AWAY FROM CAMP/TRAIL. The goats will swarm wherever you pee, as they apparently need the salt. 2) HANG BACKPACKS. I caught a porcupine chewing on several parts of the backpack, including my camelback tube, which is no longer functional (leaks badly). There was no food, sunscreen, or bugspray in the backpack. There were one or two sketchy snow bridges leading up to Twin Lakes. They were passable on Monday...we'll see how long that lasts. From Twin Lakes (mostly frozen, see photo) there was snow all the way up to the access point to Windom's ridge. This was quite steep in parts; I would not do it without an ice ax. Crampons were very helpful, but perhaps not necessary. Snow here was a bit soft in spots. I was digging the entire shaft (not point) of the ice ax into the snow for security. From that access point, the ridge was mostly dry to the summit. This is not a typical "class 2" route. Maybe you could keep it at class 2 if you were very very diligent with your route finding, but I found myself climbing easy class 3 right on the ridge to save time. There is a very steep glissade down from 13,8-ish. I did this around 6:30am. Early in the morning the snow was quite hard, so I ended up going >2 mph for 20 ft stretches with ice ax dragging HARD. Now exactly leisurely, but I think it was a lot easier than down climbing. This offered a more direct route to the bottom of Sunlight. Again - from Twin Lakes we've got consistent snow coverage in the basin. That said, the gulley on Sunlight is completely snow-covered to the notch. One could feasibly take it, as "tacocat" apparently did, to just below the summit block. I decided I wanted to enjoy the rock scrambling on the ridge, so I climbed the snow to the notch. This snow is steeper than Windom. It was also harder, if I remember correctly. Again, ice ax is mandatory, but ~some people~ could probably ascend in microspikes. In case it's not clear, I would personally not attempt this with microspikes. From the notch, there are a couple places where one has to walk on short patches of snow. One of these spots was pretty exposed, but it was also packed out pretty good. If you've made it this far these patches will not stop you. Final 1.5 ft gap to the actual summit was too spooky for me. I know I could have made it up, but I feared I would get panicky on the downclimb. The glissade down from Sunlight (from the notch) was much more reasonable than form Windom. I did this around 9:30am. I glissaded several times to get back to Twin Lakes. Beware thin snow cover over the lakes. It was 10:30am by the time I left Twin Lakes again, gunning for Eolus. By this point, I was trudging through mashed potatoes. It also left me with questionable weather at the top. Would not recommend leaving this late. There was some dry trail right by the Twin Lakes, but before long (snow-line was under 13,000' I think) I was on 100% snow again. Snow was very soft and not extremely steep, so I used trekking poles up to the notch where one gains the ridge. I did use crampons this entire time. From the notch, the trail was 100% dry to both summits. Catwalk is very easy. Once past the catwalk, I was surprised by the challenges presented on Mount Eolus's summit block. For one, route finding was impossible. I was exhausted at this point, but I'm pretty sure there were 5+ routes cairned. Unlike Windom, however, the direct line to the summit here was riddled with challenges: loose rocks, scree, occasional mud, and EXPOSURE. The climbing was also generally more difficult than that on Windom. I completed many class 4 moves and probably one or two low 5 moves. The descent offered no clear answers as I found myself down climbing whatever line was in front of me in order to expedite my arrival at the cruiser catwalk. N Eolus would have been a 5 minute trek from the saddle had I been fresh. I was wrecked at this point, though, so it probably took 15-20 minutes to summit. This route is completely dry, straightforward, and contains extremely stable rock in comparison with Eolus. There is an epic glissade available from near the summit of N Eolus. See green arrow on photo. I went from there straight down the fall line to the bottom of the basin below. From here, I walked maybe 20 yards to the right then glissaded down the chute to rejoin the standard descent. This glissade was a huge improvement over descending the standard route, in my opinion. Don't miss it! 
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