Sunlight Peak  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: Purgatory Flats
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! Windom is still holding snow in some spots, but all are easily passable. 
3
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-09-15, By: shsdawg58
Info: The Chicago Basin 14ers are open for business. I summited all peaks without traction or ice tools. Go get it! 
1
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-09-15, By: shsdawg58
Info: The Chicago Basin 14ers are open for business. I summited all peaks without traction or ice tools. Go get it! 
2
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-08-24, By: jryor121
Info: Continued from: https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/peakstatus_entry.php?recnum=17888 After coming down Elous's, we made it back to the Twin Lakes by 8:30 AM, and began our slog up to Sunlight's summit. The rocks up the south face are very loose for a good couple hundred feet. I would recommend sticking to the right side of the gulley until just near the saddle, when it's easier to cross on less loose rocks. After getting to the saddle, the rest of the climb was fine. On the descent, stuck to the same side of the face that we went up, making the descent much easier as we continued on towards Windom. https://www.strava.com/activities/3955220004 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-08-22, By: Clint the climber
Info: Sunlight is a great little climb! The summit block is unique, the exposer is overhyped. 
3
 
Route: West Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-16, By: IsaacD
Info: Climbed all 5 Chicago Basin 14ers. Summer conditions all around. Pro tip: don't leave anything that has sweat on it in the basin between peaks. We left some climbing shoes, helmets, and headlamps down in the basin after our ascent of Sunlight Spire and came back to find helmets and shoes were chewed by marmots. Headlamp and one climbing shoe were completely gone. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-08-11, By: nathanpt1
Info: Completed all four 14ers around Twin Lakes on standard routes. Beautiful day, wild flowers are out, and the weather held, did experience a short burst of graupel top of Windom. Lost a mens medium black Exofficio rain jacket on Sunlight, i suspect the block over the chimney scrapped it off my pack, please contact me if found. 
 
Route: Ridge Direct
Posted On: 2020-07-15, By: CaptCO
Info: Gained the saddle from Windom around the "bowl" to avoid snow, gained ridge direct class 5+, took it over past the "hole" and up the summit block. Descended standard where I encountered CFI steps on the bottom of the scree slope 
 
Route: South Face
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: Elous, N Elous, Windom and Sunlight
Posted On: 2020-07-06, By: hjellmre
Info: Route for all four peaks is almost entirely snow free. Four minor snow fields to pass over, the most significant being in the connector between Sunlight and Windom. No traction needed. 
 
Route: South Face
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 
1
 
Route: South Face
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: South Face
Posted On: 2019-09-03, By: wintersage
Info: The report by bwleachuk is still highly accurate and helpful. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-08-20, By: Flyingfish
Info: A few snow crossings to gain the upper basin but the crossings have a well worn trail with little slipping or postholing. From the base of the gully to the summit is dry. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-08-19, By: bwleachuk
Info: Camped at 10'800" (lots of mosquitos, bring bug spray!). Climbed all 4 Chicago Basin 14-ers in a day. We woke at 2am, were on the trail at 2:30am, and returned back to camp by 2pm. We began with Windom, and worked our way right to left, finishing with Eolus. I highly recommend this approach because Windom is good warmup and can be more safely climbed with headlamps in the dark. From there, we could traverse over to Sunlight at 13,700' (small notch, higher than the saddle looking down into the "Backyard" bowl area), making the climb up Sunlight much easier. Microspikes are definitely advised for this traverse, but not absolutely necessary. Ice axe and crampons no longer needed. The climb up Eolus was straightforward. The catwalk looks scary but is never less than 4-5 wide, so exposure is manageable. I would grade Eolus difficult Class 3/easy Class 4 in the final sections, depending on the line. Lastly, be advised that the Durango-Silverton train broke down on 8/18, causing 3+ hour delays and leading to snarls in the reliability of the schedule. We took the train to Silverton instead of waiting for it to return, heading to Durango. We hitchhiked the 45 mins drive back from Silverton to Durango. Otherwise, I might still be sitting at the Needleton TH waiting for that damn train to arrive! 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-08-18, By: gabsimonelouise
Info: Climbed Sunlight, then Windom. Watch for loose dirt and rocks on Sunlight approach; helmet a good idea. Snow field (20'-30' wide?) to cross just above Twin Lakes with a shallow pitch, it was very packed down and easy to navigate with one pole and tennis shoes, glad to have pole because it would've been a nuisance to slip and have to climb back up, but not life-threatening. To get from Sunlight to Windom, you could likely avoid snow fields if you choose the right line. We chose an efficient line with two small (5 feet wide?) snow fields, again glad to have pole there. Arrived in Chicago Basin via Purgatory Flats, the entire 17 miles was in excellent shape! 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-08-11, By: DevonK
Info: Summited Sunlight and Windom on 8/6 and the Eolus-North Eolus combo on 8/7. Microspikes were very helpful but a mountaineering axe is no longer necessary. Trekking poles were helpful but not necessary. If you want to bring some sort of protection/traction for the snow I would recommend microspikes over anything else. The snow you encounter is all lower on the mountains. There is a snowfield just before the Eolus catwalk which was the most inconvenient place I had to deal with snow. Bring your bug spray for camping in the basin! 
 
Route: South Face
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. From Twin Lakes to the basin between Sunlight and Windom, you will encounter several very large snow fields that probably will not completely melt out this summer (photos 1 and 2). Traction still highly recommended, especially for early mornings. I used crampons, my buddies used a mix of both crampons and microspikes. I'd bet that you'll probably want traction through the end of August at least. We saw a few folks manage without, but again I wouldn't recommend doing so. The gully between Sunlight Peak and Sunlight Spire is almost completely free of snow, as is the remainder of the route to the summit. If attempting Sunlight AFTER Windom, there is a bootpack that contours across the snowfield from the Windom saddle to the bottom of the Sunlight gully (photo 3). This path stays above 13,300'. 
3
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-07-29, By: S-Parx
Info: View my report under Eolus from 7/28/19. Roundtrip conditions from Purgatory flats to all 4 summits. 

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