NOTE 3: This is NOT the Roach "South Ridge/Discovery Ridge" route 29R7. The only TR for that route I have found is this one.
If you find yourself in the Chicago Basin, your scrambling skills are up to par, and you want to do the most enjoyable route on a somewhat popular peak, then the southeast ridge of Eolus should be on your short list. Steady class 3 interspersed with a few short class 4 moves on surprisingly solid rock awaits. (I did one low-5th downclimb out of a notch, but I'm pretty sure an easier option existed)
I happened upon it simply out of curiosity. I had a few hours to kill and had read Roach's description of "Discovery Ridge" many times over the years. Heading up from my fairly low campsite at 10,900', I saw a nice ridge line and decided to give it a go, turning left off the trail at approximately 11,000.
The view of Mt. Eolus from the Needle Creek trail at 11,000
As far as I can tell, Roach's South Ridge route is approximately the red line. I took the ridgeline to its right, in blue
I stayed either in or just to the right of a somewhat prominent gulley until approximately 11,900' and then veered right to meet the ridge at the bottom. From this vantage, I couldn't help but see most of the line in front of me...it looked very nice!
Rocky gulley on the left
The valley floor dropping below
Veer right to tackle the ridge
Needle Ridge, Sunlight Peak, Sunlight Spire, Windom, even Jupiter made their way into this picture
What I soon began to love about this route was its simplicity. Gain the ridge. Go up. When in doubt, go around something. The rock was in great shape.
A look at the SE ridge from 13,000-ish'
South Ridge(red) and Southeast Ridge(blue)
The trickiest climbing probably involved getting across a couple of notches, where I got baited into staying too high on the ridge and had to give back some of my elevation.
looking back at a portion of the ridge
Sidenote: since there's a South Wilson, a South Little Bear, even a South South Massive, I think there should also be a South (or Southeast) Eolus. The south peak is over 14,000', it took about 5-10 minutes to make it to the real summit, and I had to drop to 13,980' or so to get there.
view of Eolus from "South Eolus"
view of "South Eolus" from Eolus
I hopped over to North Eolus while I was at it and scooted back down to my campsite. It was a quick climb, only 2h30 RT with some jogging down from North Eolus.
Grenadier's morning face. Still pretty, ain't she?
Clear view of the upper SE ridge from the Eolus - N. Eolus saddle
South ridge (red), southeast ridge (blue)
If you have already been up Eolus, this route is a great excuse to head back up to the Basin. If you haven't yet been there but are comfortable on standard routes such as Capitol or either of the Crestones, then I would advise you to take this route up - IMO it is far superior due to its views, brevity, and positions achieved. If you have done this route, I'd love to hear your opinion on it. Regardless, this route needs some love. Hopefully this TR helps it get some.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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