Mt. Eolus

Condition Updates  
Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Posted On: 2023-05-18, By: Kya Cav
Info: Chicago Basin 5/11/23-5/13/23 Dry trail about 3.5-4 miles in. Then solid snow coverage rest of the way up. We camped at 11,000 feet and basically at the end of the flat valley. All peaks still in for summit ski decents but will definitely fade away after a week or so of sunny skies. Go getr done! 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-09-27, By: HikesInGeologicTime
Info: Surprisingly heavy rains last night left snow on grass patches and select rocks above 13k' before the sun had a chance to hit them. While they were largely avoidable, with more wet and cold in the forecast, probably worth noting for anyone else looking to summit the Eoluses and catch the train on the same day. Last night's storm also left anything north facing with enough snow that I would not be surprised if that is a feature, not a bug, for the rest of the year. Last two pics aren't particularly relevant to conditions, but as I've had a handful of unsuccessful summit sunrise attempts before today, getting to watch the sun crest behind Windom from Eolus was probably the coolest moment of my life. I also need to write a poem or a song or something called 'Shadow of Eolus' because I've already got the art for it. 
4 11
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-09-05, By: shapovalovm
Info: Did the whole CBasin from Purgatory: Day 1: Started at 9:10. Parking was full, so I had to park near the community center (lots of additional parking there). Got to the basin by 2:45. Lots of people! Camped at 11200 Day 2: started 5:10, did 4 peaks, back to camp by 1pm. Started down at 1:30, back to the car by 6:50pm Peaks (in order): 1) Eolus: class 2 to the notch, perfectly cairned, no issues with navigation even in pitch dark. The catwalk is nothing to be afraid of, if you can walk in a straight line (it's like 3-4 feet wide at worst). Scramble up is easy. 2) N Eolus. A tiny baby scramble from the notch. Overall from Eolus it took me 25 min to get there 3) Sunlight: shit shute until 13800, horrible experience. But from there it's a ton of fun. No way it is class 4, though, even the summit block. The fall from there is to the nearest rock which is like 5 feet below. I understand it may be scary to people, but so may be the catwalk, but we don't call it class 4 do we? 4) Windom. Having done 3 peaks, this one felt hard. The views are fantastic though. Also, again, I don't think the rating is right. Haven't seen a single person who managed to summit it with no scrambling above the saddle, so should be class 3. If Sneffels and Kit Carson are class 3, this one definitely must be class 3 as well 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-07-08, By: zootloopz
Info: Ridge direct! Fun class 4, maybe some low 5th. Summer conditions. Gorgeous day today, lucky weather. On top of North Eolus now. Heading down NW ridge towards Ruby Basin or NY Basin if we can find water. Trail is a river going up to the basin. Expect wet feet and flies. Marmots are aggressive, hide your trekking poles. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-07-04, By: MountainBuhn
Info: Copying this info for all 4. Backpacked in from Purg on Friday 7/1. Started at 3:30 and got to the lowest spot in Chicago Basin at 9pm. Started the day on Saturday at 2:30am attempting all 4. Mt E: Clear of all snow. Catwalk is overrated imo. Ledges were far tougher (and longer). Some loose rock to deal with. We found staying under the ridge was the best option on the way up. Headed more straight east on the way down. N E: Easy, self explanatory, maybe a slightly sketchy move getting from the saddle of Mt E to the beginning of the climb if coming from Mt E. Pup made it up N Eolus with no help. Put him in a bag for Mt E ledges due to the rockfall potential. Sunlight: Started from Twin at 10:30am after resting after Eolus. Storm clouds were moving in but we decided to send it anyway (wouldn't recommend). Red gully was bad as advertised but not as bad as say sneffels scree or Wilson/Diente scree so it's relative. Got to notch with plenty of thunder but no lightning so we went for it. Class 4 move wasn't bad but tougher on the way down if you're shorter than 6'. I thought the move into the “chimney tunnel” was harder than the leap. Booted it off as thunder was heard straight above us. Pup stayed below class 4 move and my partner and I summited at different times. Windom: Weirdly my favorite. Boulder hopping up to the notch was tough. Notch up to peak was a blast. Pup needed a couple of butt shoves but besides that was good. Summit block of Windom was a blast. Definitely plenty of class 3 fun (the class 2 rank is just incorrect). Back to the lakes by 5pm. Somehow had no rain fall on us. It felt like there was a force field around the 4 peaks and we were just extremely lucky for a monsoon weekend. Backpacked out 7/3 in 4 hours of rain (finally got us). Btw, while I'd love to take the train in the future, the backpack to needleton was super easy and good trail, so I'd encourage more people to try backpacking in if you have an extra 5 hours to spare both ways. Summer conditions basically for all 4 (some snow on Windom). Fun weekend. To summit all 4 in one day is something else. Would do Sunlight again and spend more time at the top. Real calf burner. 
15 1
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-13, By: fmv093042
Info: Route is clear other than 1-2 small sections of snow. Had mild post-holing in those spots but nothing too severe. I brought traction but never used them! Most of the small snow sections are easily avoidable. On the final summit push, there is a small section of snow (likely gone within a week or 2). You can cross this or do a few very stable Class 4 moves. The summit push and catwalk are very stable and in great shape! 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-02, By: timewarp01
Info: Took a shot at day hiking Eolus and N Eolus from Purgatory yesterday. The Purgatory trail is in great shape, other than a couple of muddy spots where creeks run over the trail. The hike from the Needleton stop to Chicago Basin is fine for the first couple miles, but from that point on there's quite a bit of deadfall to negotiate all the way into the upper basin. The peaks looked pretty dry from below, but once I reached the Twin Lakes basin I started encountering intermittent patches of snow. The routes up Windom and Sunlight looked dry enough to be doable; you'd have to cross some snow but not too much and the upper sections were dry. Unfortunately this was not the case for Eolus. The snow turned continuous around 13,000' and was very slushy and unsupportive. Since I had come in from Purgatory it was almost noon by the time I got onto the snow, and the postholing was way too tiring and time consuming. I made it to about 13,700' before turning around. If you get there earlier and/or have the energy to hop around on the rocks it should be doable, but I was staring down the barrel of the 20 mile hike out and just didn't have it in me. I'll include some pics of the rest of the basin below. 
9 3
Route: South Ridge
Posted On: 2022-03-20, By: RobLowe
Info: 37 miles RT. 24h 20m for me and 23h 48m for Dan (Rosey33). We took the south ridge up Eolus, traversed to North Eolus, then glissaded down the standard route. Snow was very stable. 28 days after our last winter trip into Chicago basin, it was interesting to see the spots with more snow and in other areas less snow. 
14 6
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-01-31, By: illusion7il
Info: Yesterday, I was able to get all 4 summits as an extra long Day Hike with a completion time of 34 hours. Start time was 8pm Saturday and I finished up a 6am this morning. I've always dreamed of getting these peaks in the winter in a single push, but never thought it could actually become a reality as I had written off this idea as impossible. I had planned on sub 30 hours and was on pace, but my body shut down on the way out and my pace slowed to a mile per hour. The suffering was real. The hallucinations were wild, but the experience was absolutely incredible. I had no problems parking in the lower columbine lot at the resort which adds about a half mile each way. For the approach, I was able to boot about 90% of it up to 11K, but it was the other way around for the way down. I took the tracks to the Animas river bridge, which are really terrible to walk on. Some parts are dry, and there is a big section that has been trampled by elk. Taking the tracks adds about 2 miles each way. The 3rd mile of the Purgatory Flats trail is probably the most dangerous part of the entire route. With no run out to self arrest, one slip will quickly send you over the cliff and into a free fall down to the icy Purgatory river. (As i'm writing this I just now saw the CR from 1/2 On the ascent of Eolus, it was still dark, but I noticed that it looked like there was some collapsed wind slab on the upper slopes. There were some soft spots, but I didn't notice any instability. I was a little confused as to why I wasn't getting the bulletproof snow that Will had reported from the week prior, but it was still totally dark when ascended this area. It's was a very steep snowshoe up to the saddle. The ridge direct route is amazing. I will never take the standard route again. My pace was slow but Sunlight and Windom were uneventful. There is a good spot to get water around 11K. It was a looooooong and very slow walk out of there. BIG thanks to Amy, Brad and Rose for putting in the trench. 
8 17
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-01-29, By: supranihilest
Info: Yesterday morning I triggered a large avalanche on an east facing slope at about 12,500' on the approach to Eolus. This is a few hundred feet above the headwall leading out of the lower basin. Nobody in our party was injured but I was buried about to my knees. Slope angle was barely 30 degrees. The collapse could be felt on far lower angle, nearly flat terrain below me, according to one in our party. Once before the slide there had been a sudden collapse with shooting crack, and another collapse/shooting crack after the avalanche as we tried finding safer terrain to regroup. We immediately bailed on our Eolus plans as the upper basin faced the same direction but was steeper and higher. Way too dangerous to continue. Sunlight and Windom may have been safe but there was no safe way to reach them so we abandoned all four. Perhaps they'll be safe again later this season but the fresh snow from Tuesday and Thursday did a real number on conditions up there. Scale in the pics is about 50-100 feet high, 200-300 feet wide, crown maximum depth of about a foot. You can see where I was standing when it slid in the lower left corner of photo two (the pile of debris where snowshoe prints exit). Photo three shows the width of the slide. 
3 5
Route: Ridge direct from catwalk
Posted On: 2022-01-26, By: Will_E
Info: Got all 4 Chicago Basin 14'ers on Monday. Thanks to the great trench that Blazintoes, Beard McQueen and Angry put in, I was able to get to the basin in a single day (18 miles from Purgatory). Started up early Monday and hit the Eolus twins first, then Sunlight, and Windom last. The trench is really fantastic, the route is very efficient, and was in place until treeline. From treeline I veered left and went straight up the slopes towards Eolus, in the early morning the snow was bulletproof and I was able to get up to the Eolus saddle with snowshoes. It was dark when I reached the saddle so I hit N. Eolus first, giving the sun a little time to rise before heading to Eolus. The ridge to Eolus didn't have much snow, it wasn't difficult to ascend or descend. Sunlight was tougher to get up, the snow had softened a bit by mid morning. after getting to the rocky section of Sunlight it was easy to get to the top, not much snow. I needed crampons to get to the summit block, my boots were wet and I couldn't get traction on the final rocks. Windom was straightforward, I aimed for the rocky areas after descending Sunlight, once on the ridge it was mostly dry. 
12 9
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2022-01-23, By: paulbarish
Info: Went from the Purgatory TH. The parking lot isnt plowed in the winter so I parked at the Durango Nordic Center for 5 days and didnt have any issues. The initial descent is a FAT bootpacked trail from a lot of traffic. Than after a bit it was a single snowshoe path on and off which I added to. Once at the Animas, I broke trail on the south side of the river on the trail to the intersection of the Needle Creek Trail where there was another well traveled snowshoe track that led all the way into Chicago Basin. I broke trail to Mt Eolus and North Eolus summiting both but didnt go over to Sunlight or Windom. It looked like there was a solid snowshoe track going over there. On the way down, I took the Needle Creek Trail to Needleton and crossed the bridge there. Jury is still out on whether or not that way is easier. A few miles of it are groomed by the train up to mm 480 I believe but after that there is a combination of a snowshoe track that has been destroyed by millions of elk, deer and moose. It is generally unpleasant to walk on. I also found a black mitten on the railroad tracks, HMU if its yours! 
1 4
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-11-09, By: nicoinco
Info: Turned around at the notch / catwalk between N Eolus and Eolus due to sketchy snow conditions. See my post from North Eolus. Happy climbing! 
1 1
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-09-07, By: coopereitel
Info: Summer conditions on all the peaks. Really fun. The night was chilly. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-07-10, By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: No snow on Mt. Eolus or N Eolus from Chicago Basin ~11k' to summit to contend with. Summer conditions. No snow on trail, but a little off to the side, so midday it may get slippery. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-06-28, By: quinnwolf
Info: All Chicago basin peaks are 95% snow free. No snow equipment necessary, although microspores could be helpful for a couple short sections. No snow on any of the difficult/technical parts. Very wet after heavy rain last night and some places up high have ice early in the morning. Lots of downed trees on approach from needleton. 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2021-06-25, By: Will_Quillman
Info: Summer conditions completely once on the saddle. Used spikes and gaiters on a small portion prior to the saddle, but not necessary.. see post on North Eolus. Really fun class 3 climb, lots of fun route finding and if you are down for it, some class 4 off route fun. Hiked Eolus after summiting North Eolus, took us an hour to make the summit push, topped out around 8am and made it back to the basin in 2ish hours around 10am. 
Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Posted On: 2021-06-22, By: catfish hank
Info: Conditions changing fast. Snow axe not necessary unless you wish to have a better glissade experience. Would still bring micro spike or crampons as preference not necessity. As steepness can be avoided poles will work fine. Its nice to get off the trail and into the snow field to get elevation when approach ramp and then the saddle. if you stay on the main trail it is overrun with mushed out snow where the snow meets the rock. The heart of the snow field is semi sun cupped but will support as is consolidated. As usual early start recommended as sun hit comes on fast. Will add photos tomorrow. 
4 1
Route: Northeast Ridge
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! 
Route: Northeast Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-24, By: jryor121
Info: Started from Needle Creek at 2:40 AM. made it up the dry trail all the way up to Twin Lakes. the rocks up to the summit were fine, and the scramble up to North Eolus, as well as to Eolus was dry and bomber the whole time. Made it to North Eolus for the sunrise (6:30), and after a small break we made it to Eolus by 7:25. This was just the start of the day.. 

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