On August 1st I received a phone call from my son, Mikey, in Switzerland saying that, to his surprise, he was able to take a couple of weeks off to visit us. When we discussed what we would be doing he said " how about trying a couple of the 14ers in Colorado that you're so crazy about?" As he is very fit, an experienced mountaineer, and a 5.12 rock climber, we could choose from just about any of the 14ers. I thought about it for a minute and decided on the Chicago Basin 14ers. Here we had the train ride to the trailhead, beautiful camping and very challenging mountains.
On the 19th of August we left Utah at 5 am and drove to Silverton where we boarded the Durango Silverton narrow gauge train and had a delightful ride to Needleton.
Nelson and Mike on the DSNGRR The hike started out great but after about an hour it began to rain. At first it was a drizzle but soon became a deluge. The hike only took us 2.5 hours but we and our equipment were soaked. We set up the tent in the rain and ate dinner in the rain. Even the sleeping bags were a little wet. The rain stopped after midnight but we were uncomfortable enough that we had no trouble getting up at 4 am and heading up to Twin Lakes.
Our plan had been to climb Windom and Sunlight on the 20th. As we were worried about how wet the rocks on Sunlight would be we decided to do Windom first. It was a bluebird day and we summitted in 3 hours.
Mike on Windom At this point Mike was suffering from altitude head aches and in addition we wanted to dry our gear thoroughly so we headed back to camp. We were in camp at about 10:30 am and had the whole day to rest and dry things out. We had a great nights sleep and were chomping at the bit to have a big day on Sunlight and Eolus on the 21st, another bluebird day.
We were both thrilled with the challenges and fun that Sunlight offered and were on top in a little over three hours.
Nelson in the chimney
The final pitch
Nelson on to the summit block
Nelson on top
Mike on to the summit block
Mike on top
Mike basking in the glory We descended to Twin Lakes and had breakfast before heading over to Eolus.
Headed down to Twin Lakes When we got to the summit pyramid we started out on the standard route for about 20 feet but Mikey saw the Northeast ridge and wanted a go at the scrambling and better rock that it offered.
Mike before Eolus I would call it definitely class 4 with lots of exposure.
Scrambling to the ridge
Class 4 on the ridge 14
Nelson on Eolus
Mike on Eolus Mike, having spent so much time in Europe, picked a bunch of mushrooms (Porcini) on the way down for dinner back home.
Porcini Mushrooms We crawled into camp at 3 pm and had a good rest and dinner followed by a good nights sleep.
The Needleton sign was very clear on how to flag the train:
but some took it too seriously.
We were home in time for dinner on the 22nd where we shared the tales of our adventures and the mushrooms with the whole family.
Dinner is served!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):