Peak(s):  Mt. Eolus  -  14,083 feet
Date Posted:  08/08/2013
Date Climbed:   08/04/2013
Author:  doggler

 Southeast Ridge - a scrambler's must-do  

NOTE 1: This is more of a route description than a trip report. All I had on me was my smartphone, which I lazily left in b & w mode.

NOTE 2: This is NOT the standard route up Mt. Eolus.

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 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):

 Comments or Questions
Joe W

South ridge
08/08/2013 23:57
Much better than the standard route! Have been on this route twice thinking it might go in winter.....

PI Joe

Sounds like fun!
08/09/2013 13:53
I am heading to Chicago Basin in about 3 weeks. I'll take a look at this route if time permits. What are your thoughts on doing your route in reverse?


08/09/2013 14:18
I would definitely recommend against doing this route in reverse. It can be done, but it's more prudent to ascend the more difficult terrain. (I can assume your reasoning may be to accompany someone else up) This route went quickly - I was RT in under 3 hours - so you may have the option of doing it later. Enjoy your trip to the Basin!


Saw this from camp...
08/09/2013 19:09
This line anyways, a few weeks ago and wondered if anyone has done it recently enough for beta? Perfect timing, this goes into my 2014 planning book when I return to the Basin. Thanks Sean!


He's on it
08/11/2013 04:10
Joe can smell my thoughts.

So... any guesses what it would look like in winter? I like the simplicity of a ridge route - if in doubt, go up. And the snow falls left or right. Below you.

Kudos for pioneering what appears to be a new line (or one that has seen few ascents, certainly.)

Nice work!

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