Peak(s):  Mt. Eolus  -  14,083 feet
Date Posted:  05/15/2012
Date Climbed:   05/14/2012
Author:  schrund
 Early Season North Eolus Attempt  

I had a work trip to the Western Slope so I figured I sneak in a quick 48 hour sortee into Chicago Basin and give North Eolus an early season attempt - and I am still here in Durango and just enjoyed a few pints at Steamworks . It would have been number 58 for me but I came up a couple of hundred vertical feet short this time; a combination of snow and the need to make the same-day return train in Needleton kept me off the summit. I will look forward to another future effort.

There's relatively little snow up there and I made it to the "no camping above this point in Chicago Basin" sign while crossing realtively infrequent patches of snow. Above the slope leading up to Twin Lakes there is a fair amount of snow remaining but I only took traction devices and a shorty axe and that would have been sufficient if my timing had been better planned.

I ran into a guy on my way in, who was on his way out, who had spent 8 days up there. He has apparently made an annual pilgrimage being on the first Spring Train into Needleton and had some great stories about trips up there over the last 19 years. While he ran into the great goat herd, somehow I missed them on this trip - never saw a one. He even had a crazy story about how a lynx tapped him on his sleeping bag one night while he was sleeping out in a bivy and then casually walked away. Damn I miss all the fun!

Here is the view looking up from treeline: Image
Here is the view as you round the corner from Twin Lakes and begin to traverse upward:Image
And from just further around the corner: Image
Looking up at the bench traverse to the "high and wild basin":
The steepest snow part was gaining that bench and I did that with just ski poles and Kathoola traction devices although admitadly I would have been better off with an axe and even crampons. Here is the view looking back down onto that section:
And here is what the terrain looks like above that point:
ImageMy high point was just where the snow field hits the final ridge line. At this point I was eying my watch as I knew I had a "firm" turn around time. I took out my first aid kit to pop a couple of excedrin and dropped the whole kit and watched it roll about 300 yards down the slope. Knowing I didn't have an abundance of time left I knew my day was over. I scampered down, picked it up and headed down.

Here is looking up at Eolus:
Looking across at Sunlight and Windom:
And Twin Lakes Basin:
Looking back down at camp from the Twin Lakes upper basin:
I wish I knew how those lucky folks got cabins in Needleton, what a paradise. And what a way to get there!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice early season trip
05/16/2012 05:07
Kudos on getting out there and enjoying the low snow year. Never a bad trip to Chi-town even if you don't make it to the top.

Any idea on how many trees are down on the Needle Creek trail?


A dozen or more
05/16/2012 13:16
I'd say a dozen or more trees are crossing the trail. There's a few where I snaked off the trail and worked around the tree, some of them are sizeable. But not too bad though.


Man, Oh man.
05/16/2012 19:01
I want to get out on a backpack trip. Damn you Summer School!!

Thanks shrund. That was a fun respite.


05/16/2012 20:37
For the report! Nice pics


The high and wild basin...
05/17/2012 04:17
I climbed that last July with the same spikes and poles and it was an adventure of good footing as well. Almost sad to know the conditions are 10 weeks earlier. Not a bad way to spend a day, summit or not. Enjoyed the pics - reminds me that Jupiter is calling sometime soon.


05/17/2012 20:59
nice! thank you for the pics!

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.