This is a story of one snake, two dogs, a goat and 6 humans taking on Chicago Basin's finest. We began our journey with the train ride from Durango. Logic told us to take the dropoff from the Durango side so as to get into the basin earlier that day to tackle the 5-6 mile trek to our campsite. Be aware - not all trains make the Needleton drop. We had to change some train reservations so as to get on the 9:15am train. As for getting the "live" dog into the basin, that was accomplished with two folks in our group hiking the extra 9 miles in from Purgatory since dogs are not allowed on the train. Note: dog food weighs a ton!
Taking the train
The hike to the basin was incredibly beautiful. We were reminded of the importance of raingear right away as we got dumped on for an entire hour at the bridge. We opted to wait it out under a tree.
The backpack to the basin
At long last the rain cleared up and we made it to the basin.
Part of the lower basin
The next day we got up at 5am and headed up the route to Eolus. The catwalk proved to be quite interesting. It's adequately wide for getting across, but I found it more comfortable to be spotted at a few tricky spots (thanks, Andrew and Chris!)
Catwalk and Eolus from the saddle
Scrambling up the catwalk
As for the actual long slog up to the summit after the catwalk, I found this part to be the trickiest. It's easy to get off trail. In a few places it's more "trail like" but for the most part, it's basically pulling yourself up and around a lot of boulders. I was quite grateful for my gloves on this entire trail, but mostly on this part (note: grippy rubber garden gloves from Home Depot have proven their worth time and time again!)
Trail to the summit
The summit proved very rewarding. As you can see (look very closely!), Snakey, Nando, Goatie and us hikers made it to the top. Nando and Goatie have already made it up to all the summits; this is Snakey's 10th 14er. Their caretakers are 8 and 5 and are very accomplished 14er summiters, themselves.
The Eolus Summit!!
With time enough, we headed on up to North Eolus. The contrast from Eolus is quite fascinating. It is a lot of smooth grippy rock that is much, much easire to ascend. I found it reminiscent of the Longs "home stretch" but minus the slipperyness of the rock. I actually rather liked this ascent.
Looking up at Chris on the N. Eolus summit
Goatie, Nando and Snakey plus our group make it up here, too! Two peaks in one day - I call that success!
North Eolus Summit!!
View across the basin from N. Eolus summit
From this summit, we see a view of tomorrow's goals. :-)
I have posted my gps track from this trip starting with the summit of Eolus on down. As mentioned earlier, the summit was a bit tricky such that it was easy to get off-trail. I liked our descent route much better, and that is what is posted here.
(to be continued...)