Sunlight Peak  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: South Face
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. 
 
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: South Face
Posted On: 2019-07-20, By: tjf242424
Info: Arguably better/easier than in its "normal" condition, since the remaining snow provides easy cramponing to the ridge with some basic mountaineering skills and the right equipment. There are no debris areas that cause any problem or delays on the approach to the camping areas. There's some running water from the Columbine Pass split up to Twin Lakes, but the stream crossings are trivial and I would call it summer conditions to the lakes. The snow was reasonably firm above the lakes, so crampons are recommended on reaching the steeper slopes below the Spire. We left crampons and ice axes at the saddle and had no issues with the one or two tiny patches of snow along the scrambling route. The crux move is heady both up and down. We donned crampons again for the descent from the saddle, although glissading is likely possible if the snow has softened sufficiently. Overall, crampons/ice axe are the equipment of choice and snowshoes would be useless. Peak Eleven: After descending to the lakes, we climbed Peak Eleven via the obvious gully looker's right of Twin Thumbs and left of Peak Eleven. The gully is about 75% snow covered, but much can be avoided in steeper areas by sticking to the scree/rocks and we did not use crampons. The final summit ridge is easy scrambling, followed by a short snow ridge (ice axe recommended). We were able to glissade much of the gully on the descent. This peak is a worthwhile addition for those also interested in ranked 13ers. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-07-18, By: Cranfillpe
Info: See detailed report for Mount Eolus from 7/15. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-07-17, By: fdekalb4
Info: Same info as others about the approach in. All snow/ice bridges would not cross as of Tuesday. My wife fell in partially early Tuesday AM. Was able to cross stream but feet got a bit wet. Tons of snow still up past twin lakes and route finding a must. Did not use snowshoes and had minimal postholing. I'd say crampons a must up the gully to Sunlight's ridge. Was still very ice and hard going up and down. I had a glissading mishap and could not get the axe in and was not able to self arrest. Was a scary 10 seconds, but luckily came out with just some scratches. Snow was still very hard and maybe try to time it better than we did, just got there too early and the snow did not soften. Hitting windom after, the snow did soften and the glissade was great fun. Easy out. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-07-08, By: RBeaudry
Info: Summer conditions for Purgatory Creek (one dodgy creek crossing along Animas River Trail), mild avalanche debris near and in Chicago basin- easily passed and new trails are forming from foot traffic. Lower Basin to Upper Basin has a lot of moving water and more avalanche debris. Caution is warranted when crossing snow/ice bridges. Spring/winter conditions from the lakes up- lakes are still frozen over. Eolus S/N is an easy bash up snow until the saddle. Saddle on, both routes are effectively dry. Sun hits the snow by 6:30 am, conditions deteriorate rapidly on the shallow slopes. Rock fall is mostly trivial, remaining snow is mostly isolated to snow fields. Sunlight- As Eolus, snow bash up until the final scramble portion. Snow remains in better condition into the mid morning. Sunlight Spire- appeared to be snow on the class 2 traverse to base of the spire- did not approach or climb (but carried a rack from Purgatory Creek...) Windom- Snow until you gain the ridge, ridge is mostly clear. Tread lightly- the trails are sensitive to erosion with all the melt water! Pics - Looking East of Eolus down at the upper snow fields, looking to the upper basin between Sunlight and Windom, and finally a shot of the Windom Ridge looking South off of Sunlight Peak. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-07-07, By: chrschm
Info: Continuous snow from twin lakes to the Sunlight/Sunlight Spire saddle. Climbed the red gully with just microspikes and ice axe after climbing Windom - about 10:00 or 11:00 am. Would recommend crampons. Snow was soft enough to kick steps and would be good with crampons earlier in the morning before the sun hit the slope. Once above the saddle, mostly good climbing on solid rock. Some boulders must be traversed around on softening snow - wasn't super comfortable with this but made it. Deviated from the standard route to avoid one snow crossing near the first "window" and ended up climbing above the window on somewhat exposed class 3 - 4 rock. The rest of the route was free of snow. Snow softened more on the way down - downclimbed the steepest bit of the red gully and glissaded the rest of the way. Bring paper and pencil for the summit register! 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2019-06-25, By: wombat
Info: Coming up the trail, Debris fields at 10,450, 10,750, and 11k. Nothing to scoff at, but easily navigable. Snow fields start at around 11k. Most of the switchbacks up to twin lakes covered in snow, but easily avoidable. Crampons / ice axe essential from twin lakes on. Made it to saddle with s spire. started making our way to summit. Granular, crumbly snow around boulders, was not comftorable traversing snow between boulders. Had to bail shortly after. Did Not Summit!! Photo of sunlight from windom ridge attached 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2018-09-18, By: dcruz654
Info: See Eolus report 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2018-07-21, By: alyannkar
Info: Summer conditions. I backpacked into Chicago Basin from the Purgatory Trailhead the afternoon of 7/19 and then summitted all four peaks the morning of 7/20 and backpacked out later that afternoon. Not quite sure why the longer route to the basin gets a bad rap. It was a gorgeous and mellow trail, easy hiking. There are several trees down towards the end of the Animas River Trail in the mile before the bridge and register where the trail intersects with the Needle Creek Trail and the train stop. The Needle Creek Trail has even more trees down. Otherwise, both trails are in great condition. In Chicago Basin, insects and goats are in full swing. The lower you camp in the basin (or just before the basin), the less you will have to deal with the goats swarming. The trail up to Twin Lakes is beautiful (thanks Colorado Fourteeners Initiative!) and is in summer conditions, as well. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2018-06-24, By: Beas
Info: The entire route is in summer condition. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2018-06-08, By: RWSchaffer
Info: There is no snow below Twin Lakes. There are significant snow fields above Twin Lakes, but the trail is still more clear than not as it climbs the basin. Once you begin ascending Sunlight, only occasional patches of snow are encountered, and they do not materially obstruct the route; see picture taken from Windom Peak's west ridge. I used ice axe and spikes in the basin but not on the peak itself. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2017-09-15, By: chicagostylehotdog
Info: Clear weather all day on Wednesday. Routes were dry on Eolus, N. Eolus, Windom, and Sunlight, with the exception of a tiny amount of snow blocking the trail between the lakes and the headwall leading to Windom and Sunlight. Thursday was good weather until noon when the clouds started spitting at us. Driving out Thursday afternoon you could see the storm rolling in. Ominous black clouds. With snow in the forecast, we may have seen the last of the dry, summer conditions in Chicago Basin. Only saw 3 goats, all together around 12,000' on the trail. One was digging at a wet spot where somebody had probably peed. Please keep your peeing off trail and on rocks so the goats don't destroy vegetation or the trail. Bagged all 4 14ers in Chicago basin in 9.5h camp to camp (camped at 11k). Leaves are starting to turn. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2017-09-09, By: kayleenann8
Info: Dry and clear to the summit! Wear a helmet. Worst part to me was the loose steep trail to the summit ridge. Try to stay on the cairns trail there to minimize trail spread. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2017-09-05, By: STIBungy
Info: No snow to worry about on the way. The rocks are solid and trail well defined. Did the traverse over to Windom by staying near the green band of rocks. The snowfields along the way are easily avoidable. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2017-08-21, By: Marmot96
Info: The remaining snowfields are so small that they are of no concern and no extra gear is needed. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2017-07-19, By: metalmountain
Info: Besides a couple of small flat snowfields around the Twin lakes and in the basin between Sunlight and Windom there is no snow to speak of on the route. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2017-07-07, By: glenmiz
Info: Still a lot of snow. Once out of the basin, dry up the gully and climbing on the boulders except for a few patches of snow that are easy to bypass. Coming down to the lakes is a slog through soft, sun-cupped, snow-filled basin and down the headwall was a little tricky as it got steeper and slipperier. 
 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2017-06-29, By: pmeadco
Info: The bottom of the official route is still covered with snow but it is easy to go up the red line on the east side of the face. There is a small patch of snow below the class 3 crux near the summit, but it is fairly flat so not a problem, otherwise the high part of the route is dry. Still lots of snow in the bowl from Twin Lakes up to the south face. 
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Route: South Face
Posted On: 2016-10-03, By: restlesslegs8
Info: Southern aspects dry in Chicago Basin. Snow holding on North Faces. West ridge up Windom had managable snow. No snow on standard route up Sunlight (frozen dirt and scree which was nice!). Eolus route looks dry from across the basin. A little more precip today maybe, but conditions will return quickly unless significant snowfall occurs. 
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