Peak(s):  Jupiter Mtn  -  13,830 feet
Date Posted:  08/01/2011
Date Climbed:   07/16/2011
Author:  Jon Frohlich
 Spending the afternoon on Jupiter  

Jupiter Mountain
Date: 7/16/2011
Distance: ~5 miles from high camp at 11,200 in Chicago Basin

I meant to write up this trip report sooner but haven't had time until now. This was my 2nd time in Chicago Basin. The first time around back in 2006 I ran out of time for Jupiter so I agreed to join some friends for a return trip. On 7/15 (Sat) I joined my friends for a repeat climb of Sunlight Peak and then set my sights on Jupiter for Sunday.

We woke up to rain at 3:30am so we reset our alarms and went back to sleep. 4:30am was the same and eventually I just turned the alarm off. Finally around 8am the rain relented and we all ventured out of our tents. The weather still looked questionable so we all sat around camp trying to decide what to do. Three of my friends decided to head off for Eolus at 10am and see what happened. Finally at noon I got sick of sitting around and decided to go for Jupiter. Chris (tundraking) had given me some tips from a scouting mission up to 12,200 earlier that morning so I had some idea of where to go.

Windom (center) and Jupiter (right) from camp

I made my way up the Columbine Pass trail to near treeline and found the cairn that Chris had made to mark where to leave the trail. I followed a sometimes decent trail up to treeline and reached about the same elevation where Chris had stopped. The weather still looked like it wanted to threaten and it was difficult to decide whether to continue. From this point I could still make a quick trip back to treeline but if I moved higher I would be more exposed. I sat on a nice rock for about 45 minutes watching clouds roll over the ridge to my south and trying to decide. A friend of mine over on Eolus and I were in contact by radio and we discussed our thoughts. I couldn't see any weather coming because of surrounding ridges so I was virtually blind if something decided to roll in on top of me. Finally at 1:30pm I decided this wasn't looking good and started down.

Looking down from 12,200. Columbine Pass trail roughly in the center through the trees.

One of the few cairns. Climbers trail roughly goes up the center of the slope.

Back on the Columbine Pass trail I looked back up and magically the skies had cleared. I'd only descended 400 feet so after a radio discussion my friend and I both decided to head back up our respective peaks. About 30 minutes of hiking brought me back to 12,200. I found a steep climbers trail up through the grass that helped out for a while and then followed grass and talus up to the false summit of Jupiter.

False summit from about 13,000 feet

The view from the false summit was interesting and I wanted to get this done as I still didn't trust the weather. I made short work of the traverse to the real summit and after a moment to figure out how to get up the summit block made it to the register at 4:30pm. I'd rate the traverse between the summits as Class 2+/3 depending on your route. Lower is a bit easier but looser.

Hazel Lake from summit

Sunlight and Windom from Jupiter

Eolus from Jupiter

False summit from main summit

Looking down the ridge. Staying close to the ridge works fairly well.

Looking back up from maybe 12,600. Follow the ridge.

I signed the register and after telling my friend I was on top and heading down I turned around. I retrieved my trekking pole from the false summit and made my way back. This went quickly and I got back to camp just before 6pm for a 1hr 30 minute descent. It was a bit of a strange day but it was a good feeling to get this one. I don't think anyone else had been up Jupiter in a while according to the register. Finally around 8pm the weather opened up and it poured rain most of the night. We woke up to rain the next day as well so we wouldn't have had any opportunity to go for any peaks on Monday morning before we hiked out. The weather did clear for our hike out back to the train though.

 Comments or Questions

Nice report
08/01/2011 20:31
We had to orphan this peak when we did the Chi Basin 14ers, too. Still need to get back there. Looks like a nice climb with great views. Cool that you were able to score a late-day weather window... would definitely suck to have to leave it again!


Awesome pictures!
08/01/2011 23:08
Just bought my tickets. Good thing the weather worked out for you.


Nice Report
08/02/2011 03:41
Nice report and pics Jon. I look forward to getting back to the Chicago Basin in the future.


Well done!
08/02/2011 16:03
Thanks for the report, helpful info.
May head up there in Sept.


Nice TR
08/03/2011 01:02
Hey Jon, nice report and very helpful for the future climb. I was anxious to see what the ridge looked like. Great pics! I am glad you were able to fit this one in between all the rainstorms. Hopefully I'll be back to get that one next year. Thanks!

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