Peak(s):  Mt. Eolus  -  14,083 feet
North Eolus  -  14,039 feet
Sunlight Peak  -  14,059 feet
Windom Peak  -  14,087 feet
Mt. Sneffels  -  14,150 feet
Date Posted:  10/05/2019
Modified:  01/23/2021
Date Climbed:   09/26/2019
Author:  andrew85
 Chicago Basin - Pushing Through the Night (+ Mt. Sneffels)   

Chicago Basin

The Crazy Plan
For the past four years, the beginning of fall has served me well when it came to my more challenging 14er pursuits (Capitol '15, Pyramid '16, Wilson/El Diente Traverse '18). Each outing was nothing but bluebird and 50º+. This in mind, I felt pretty comfortable requesting vacation and buying a train ticket to attempt Chicago Basin on September 26. The more I thought about it though, the more I wanted to use the opportunity to do more than just Chicago Basin as I still have a lot of work to do in the San Juans and getting out there is a planning ordeal in itself. So I had four days to work with between Thursday and Sunday and began trying to figure out ways to be in and out of Chicago Basin on Thursday and Friday leaving Saturday and Sunday for at least two more 14ers. I definitely wanted to do Mt. Sneffels and ultimately decided on trying to finish up Wilson group with Wilson Peak. Lol ambitious? Sure, but you know the saying "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars..." if anything, that goal would keep me driven and worst case scenario I'd have to give up one outside of Chicago Basin.

So how did I plan to get in and out of Chicago Basin in a day? Well one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in this plan was not being allowed to camp above the basin. But setting up camp in the basin wouldn't work either because I didn't think I could pull off ascending Twin Lakes twice when pressed for time. I thought about it a bit and came up with a compromise: bivy! I immediately thought of the bivy in the sleeping bag system I got issued in the army but never had a reason to use, figured I'd stop by a military surplus to pick one up. Lol apparently a single, easily repairable tear is enough to drop the price from $100 to $30 which made for a nice deal. I got a 45L pack which is basically enough to be a day pack plus room for a bivy and ultralight sleeping bag (0.9lbs) and this is what I would carry the entire time in the basin (17lbs base weight, 27lbs with food and water). The basic plan I went in with was hike from Needleton to Sunlight by Thursday afternoon, cut over to Windom in the evening, and make it to North Eolus at night where I would bivy on the summit. I'd catch the sunrise, do the catwalk to Mt. Eolus, and be in good shape to hike out in time to catch Friday's train. Surely things would go smoothly from here on out right?

The Execution
Lol for all my planning, it seems my 4-year pristine weather window may decide to shake things up this year.

With a ticket already purchased and rental reserved, while this may complicate things a bit, this was still no where near a definitive enough forecast for me to consider cancelling. If anything, I decided to bring my full 70L pack with a tent and full size sleeping bag as well just to have in the trunk so I can reassess the forecast once I got to Durango. If the forecast got worse, I was content giving up both Mt. Sneffels and Wilson Peak in favor of taking the extra time to finish out Chicago Basin (but I kept my fingers crossed).

I tried to squeeze a nap in Wednesday night but it wasn't really happening while I was scrambling to make sure everything was packed. I ultimately only left Colorado Springs at 1:30am and made it to Durango around 6:30am (lol probably one of my biggest mistakes was not having a full night's rest before embarking on this journey). Fortunately the forecast had improved when I checked it again in Durango to the extent that I was comfortable only taking my 45L daypack. Caught the Durango & Silverton Train and I was off.


I must say the train is an experience in itself and well worth the $117 for the open air gondola. I thought I could take a nap at some point on the 2.5 ride to Needleton but with such iconic views along the Animas River, how could I sleep!

Most of the good shots were on the east side of the train, lol with everyone scrambling there couldn't get a good picture of the gorge.

Eventually the train pulled into Needleton and the reality of the task ahead began to settle in.

And I was off!

I actually held a fairly good pace for the first 5 miles or so, but fatigue was definitely beginning to settle in--not necessarily hiking fatigue but lack of sleep. From then on out I was alternating between stopping to take in the scenery and taking a 5 minute nap here and 20 minute nap there.

Lol almost got blindsided by this snake on the trail.
Halfway to the basin!

Lol one of those naps got the best of me right before the Twin Lakes ascent--thought I'd just dose off and next thing I realize an hour's passed and combined with my slow going up to this point I realized I was thoroughly behind schedule for my "plan."

It was about 6.9 miles to this point--I stopped tracking here to conserve battery.

Looking over to Sunlight and Windom (hidden)

I pushed forward and got to Twin Lakes around 5:20pm. While I generally always target the hardest peak first, with sunset looming I had to consider whether I really wanted to be dealing with any class 4 in darkness if I pushed forward because ANY peak I attempted at that point would almost certainly be summited in darkness. I decided against it and directed my attention toward the Eoluses figuring I'd rather do class 3 in the dark and risk some class 4 (that I'm still extremely comfortable with) if I get off route than do class 4 in the dark and risk class 5.

Topping out from the ramp

The green gully up to the catwalk

I began the ascent to the catwalk, hoping I could at least make the ridgeline with some light and to catch the sunset. Somehow I was able to pull it off, but I knew from then on out it's game on.

Weather was in the back of my mind as well but based on multiple sources, if I did encounter anything it would be light. I don't know if it was adrenaline or if all those naps actually chipped away at my fatigue, but I don't think I could have been more alert the entire time I was up there. My original plan was to do North Eolus at night anyway, but I decided to get Mt. Eolus out the way first as it would clearly be the greater challenge.

As the last light yielded to darkness, there I stood on the catwalk acknowledging the endless black abyss on either side. I found this oddly comforting as the crest of the catwalk was the only thing high and direct enough to be illuminated and I knew anything shrouded in darkness was exposed.

I was certainly prepared for this though with my full Sam's Club pack of lithium batteries and my two Coast 300 lumen lights. Normally I get about two hours of of them on the brightest setting when just hiking but for up here, the moment I noticed the brightness dimming from the highest possible illumination, I would change them out which was pretty much every 50-70 minutes.

Lol yeah these batteries are a bit expensive at ~$24, but after that time on Capitol when I just made it back from K2 as the sun was setting and had to navigate the entire boulder field and approach to the trailhead in darkness, you will NEVER catch me without batteries again!

I made it over to the final push and began following cairns in the general path of the east face route. I don't know if I missed some but those I followed somehow directed me to the ridge direct. I had read that this is not the preferred route but it is at least still a route to my understanding. I saw multiple cairns going up the ridge and none switching back into the east face so I figured I was stuck finishing on the ridge and hoped things didn't get dicey.

Cairns on the ridge direct to Mt. Eolus

Definitely some moves to pay attention to particularly when the path veers off to the right, but actually wasn't too bad overall and was pretty much able to follow it all the way to the summit!

Lol doesn't do much good in the dark. Little did I know that this would be final use of this sign, ending a 4-year run...

Couple firsts here: first night summit and being pretty much a weekend warrior, I realized this was my first non-weekend summit as well. Couldn't stay up there long though, I began noticing flurries and realized I needed to get back to the catwalk quickly. I still wasn't able to see a path directly off the summit to the east face so I just followed the ridge back down. There was a clear point where the ridge appeared to cliff out so I could see why it's not the preferred option, but at that point I was at least able to see cairns going down the east face and was able to follow them to the catwalk. The wind started picking up a bit along with the flurries and I began to get concerned that it might graduate to snow. Fortunately it was just coming and going and with the temperature in the low 30s but not really freezing, nothing stuck and I was able to push onward.

I got to what I believed to be the low point of the catwalk and once I began gaining elevation again, I thought I was pushing toward North Eolus. Everything I'd read described the scramble to North Eolus as pretty short so when I "topped" out, I actually thought I was at the summit because being so dark, I couldn't immediately see any higher terrain. Lol that's where my watch saved me--for some reason it was only showing 13,8XX'. In the two years I've been using this watch, it's generally never been off by more than ~20-30’ so I knew something wasn't right. I dropped my pack and figured I'd explore a little further east just to see if there was any terrain I was missing and sure enough a higher path came into view. At that point, I figured my pack was safe where it was and I'd just knock out the summit. Lol for such limited visibility, this was still one of the most straight forward and enjoyable scrambles I've been on, pretty much made the summit in no time. Having left my pack (and sign) behind, I was trying to figure out what kind of picture I could get up there--came up with this :):

Normally I leave my tracker running for the whole day but I wanted to save battery for if I needed the gpx files to navigate and turned it off a while back.
However, I made sure it was running for when I was approaching the Eoluses just for some added verification that I got both summits and the times I
got them at in case anyone asks.

Summiting at night was actually a pretty cool experience, though my only regret was not being able to see the view of the San Juans from either of the Eoluses. This is definitely an area I look forward to visiting again and I'll make sure when I return to summit them during the day.

I scrambled back down to my pack on the catwalk which had been collecting flurries and there I was faced with perhaps the scariest, most uncertain hurdle of the entire time in Chicago Basin: getting off the catwalk. When I came up, I still had enough light to find green gully route and the notch I was supposed to be aiming for but finding the path back down was a lot more difficult. It was beginning to fog up on the catwalk as well:

I had passed a cairn on the catwalk but didn't immediately see a notch so I figured I needed to go further. I came across a notch feature with what appeared to be a gully beneath it and assuming I'd found the way down began descending. I got down about 60 ft and I began to suspect I wasn't in the right gully as the slope wasn't beginning to ease. I remember the gully coming up was fairly short and even in darkness the light should have been able to illuminate the boulders below, but all I could see beneath me was yet another black abyss. The silver lining here was that the gully was solid so I could easily climb back up if need be. Just to be sure, I kicked a rock down (lol it's pushing midnight and I'm quite positive there's not another soul on this mountain) and after disappearing into the darkness I heard it continuing to tumble for another 25 seconds at least which gave me all the confirmation I needed to know I WAS IN THE WRONG GULLY! I immediately began climbing back up to the catwalk and decided to go back to that cairn I passed and look around that area more closely. Sure enough there was a notch there and I could even see the green coloration in the gully. I forgot I had loaded gpx files on my watch as well and decided now would be a good time to use them. The gpx route lined up with the cairn as well so I knew I had found the way to go.

Once I got down from the gully, I could breathe a sigh of a relief as I knew I was home free until I got to the Sunlight side. I continued to use the gpx file to assist in navigating in the darkness, at least until the trail became obvious. I was very impressed with its accuracy as it could show I had separated from the trail when I was barely 15ft away.

I continued trucking along passing behind Twin Lakes and on toward the Sunlight/Windom approach. I knew I had to rest soon so my goal was to find an area as high up and away from the lakes as possible (I figure bivying isn't full out camping, but I still wanted to be on the safe side and adhere to the 100 ft away from any water source and make sure I was well clear of Twin lakes). I got up to about 12,700' when I knew I could go no further and had to find some place to rest. I was looking for a large flat rock but all that I came across were sloped and not ideal for lying down. I ended up having to find a bed of rocks that looked level enough and I could only hope that there was enough padding in my inflatable Klymit, ultralight sleeping bag, and the bivy shell to offer some comfort. I zipped up at about 1:00am and not only did I feel every rock, I knew I was thoroughly underinsulated as the cold continued to pierce through the bivy resulting in one of the most uncomfortable sleeping experiences I could have envisioned. I don't know if it was actually freezing, but it was definitely around a 28-30º windchill which was consistent with the forecasted low. I suffered it out for the next 3.5 hours, shivering when I woke up at 4:30am (lol if you can even call it "waking up" because honestly I felt like I barely slept). I took about a half an hour to gather myself and I continued up to Sunlight.

Still dark at 5am, I continued to navigate with the visible cairn towers and the gpx file as a backup.

I had expected sunrise just after 6am but it seemed to be taking its own sweet time. I continued up the orange gully and finally the sun began to rise when I topped out around 13,800'.

Lol so that's what the Eoluses look like :)

Made the Sunlight summit at 7:40am and figured I was in decent shape to make Windom, but perhaps I was looking too far ahead. Lol all my devices started dying at this point: both phones, my watch, and my camera was on its last life as well. Felt the only true class 4 section was that depicted in Photo #19 of the route descrription (I took the left line, lol didn't even realize the right was an option). The summit block is definitely not for the faint of heart. Getting up is fairly straight forward but once there, there’s such a sheer dropoff that I was quite comfortable just sitting on the summit. Then descending, the way that second rock slopes I felt I couldn’t just step across. Lol forget Pyramid's leap of faith, this was an actual “jump” of faith! Knowing I had to get a picture on the summit block, I had gotten a wireless receiver for my camera. I tested it at Rocky Mountain (near the Incline) so it should have been good, but now when I needed it most it wasn't working :(.

Rocky Mountain, Manitou Springs with wireless shutter release

Only when I got home did I realize that I somehow forgot the small cable connecting the wireless receiver to the camera body so that just made my day :/. Furthermore, I had tried to get my summit sign onto the summit block but it was so exposed I couldn't carry it and climb safely so I balanced it on top thinking it'd be fine for when I got up there but a gust a wind came and this happened:

Look at that all that cardboard I saved :). Originally got it for Capitol and just kept using it--lol can't believe it happened at exactly 4 years though. It was
getting pretty beat up anyway, so I guess it’s time for a new one.

Fortunately it landed where I could go down and get it, but it was pretty much done :/. Still trying to figure out how I could get a picture on the summit block, I saw two of the five people I got off at Needleton with coming up and I figured I'd wait and ask them for a picture. Thanks to Nick for taking this for me:

Well now it had passed 8am and I was beginning to get concerned about being able to get over to Windom in time. I thought I was keeping a good pace on the way down but when I got back to the orange gully, fatigue began to creep back up and moreso than anything I'd felt up until that point.

I arduously slogged down the gully and made it up to the Windom saddle at 10:30am at which point I knew definitively I wouldn't be able to summit and make it back to Needleton by 3:15pm for the Friday train. I began to weigh my options: abandon Windom and shoot straight for Needleton or sacrifice either Wilson Peak or Mt. Sneffels. Abandoning Windom made no sense as I was literally right there and coming back for it would require another train trip and when I go for Wilson Peak I'd like to finish out the group and get Gladstone too (plus I had laid it out for Saturday to allow more time as whatever I did on Sunday had to be relatively short seeing that I had to drive back to Colorado Springs afterward), so Mt. Sneffels it would be for my trip's finale.

With the new plan in place, I now had all the time in the world to summit Windom and ever did I need it. I drank half a liter of water, left my pack on the saddle, and began putting one step ahead of another I as I trudged up the remaining 0.3 miles of supposed "class 2" terrain between the saddle and the summit. Lol mind you my extreme fatigue may be biasing my assessment of this route, but there were parts there particularly past the notch that to me have to at least be class 3 (and I've read other accounts coming to this conclusion as well).

Towards Windom from the saddle
The route ahead from the notch

So after just under two hours to do 0.3 miles (lol I'm embarrassed to even write that but it's a testament to how I felt and how slow I was moving), I topped out at the summit in probably one of the most miserable 14er experiences I’ve had. Keep in mind that as crazy as everything's been so far, I've actually been thoroughly enjoying myself but as far as Windom's concerned, all I gotta say is this mountain sucks and I never want to do it again! If there's any silver lining though it was that I could finally take in the views from the summit without having to worry about the next peak or sticking to a timeline.

Looking toward my return path through Chicago Basin

So now came the journey back. It took me an hour to make it down that 0.3 miles to my pack (lol still so exhausted that I couldn't even descend quickly) where I took the first of what would be many naps. When I awoke, I decided as much as I've enjoyed the scenery of Chicago Basin there was no reason for me to spend another night there and pushing out to Needleton Friday night would be my best bet. There appeared to be storm clouds brewing in the distance and from what I remember of Friday's forecast (with everything dead but my camera, I couldn't attempt to check), I knew there was a possibility of afternoon/evening thunderstorms. Plus I figured if I can lose a couple thousand feet in elevation, it would likely be a much warmer and more comfortable bivying experience.

Descent from Twin Lakes
Apparently the pair I ran into up on Sunlight had 11 goats invade their campsite--lol I just saw marmots

One step at a time, alternating between napping, snacking on Chex mix, and rationing out the last of my bottled water, I slowly but surely made my way to Needleton (I had a Sawyer Mini I'd eventually use once at the Animas River though I prefer to use all my bottled water first). It rained sporadically, but nothing to pose too much of an inconvenience. Lol I honestly have no idea how many naps I took or how long on average each of them were, all I knew was that after leaving the Windom saddle around 2pm I finally completed the slog out to Needleton around 9:30pm which actually took me longer going out than coming in. Looking around for a place to bivy for the night, I came across the most perfect concrete slab on the other side of the tracks. Honestly given where I slept the night before, that slab might as well have been a bed of silk and roses (not to mention that it was at least 10º warmer).

I awoke Saturday morning to some critter scampering over my bivy from perhaps the first 8+ hour night's rest I've had in years! To my amusement, now that I actually had daylight I saw there was a cabin there as well. I went over and checked out and after seeing that the wood on the floor was all warped and probably infested with insects, I feel the slab was the right decision.

Lol apparently that easily repairable tear was enough for a 70% discount. Makes sense though--being right next to Fort Carson, I assume most people
buying these are soldiers getting out and trying to gather gear they lost or damaged to turn into the Central Issue Facility (CIF) in order to out process
and they won't take anything back that isn't pristine. This tear would have made this useless for CIF but perfect for me :).

Eventually the other two pairs I got off with originally made it back as well and informed me that we could actually catch the 11:15am train that dropped us off originally and get a free ride to Silverton, explore the town during the ~1:45 layover, and then just ride back rather than waiting all day at Needleton for the 3:15pm return train. One thing I forgot to mention was that they are very flexible with your return day if you decide you need more or less time in the basin. My ticket was for a Friday return but when I was purchasing it over the phone, they told me that if I needed an extra day or something I could just let the conductor know and I'd be guaranteed a ride out (though I may have to stand if it's full or something). The Silverton train was actually about 15 minutes late but finally it arrived and so concluded my wilderness adventure, at least in Chicago Basin.

Basic timeline of Chicago Basin:

The ride to Silverton further cemented my love for the train, an absolute gem of an experience. I walked around a bit during the layover, grabbed an elk burger at Handlebars that I thoroughly enjoyed (lol though living on beef jerky, Welch's gummies, and Chex Mix for the past couple days, I think I'd have enjoyed any warm food). I'd hoped to get a seat on the east side because that overall has the better views, but the only vacancies were on the west (if I actually made Friday's train, my seat would have been on the east side going back). Lol honestly I was too tired to be bothered and with all my devices dead, I didn't mind spending a significant portion of the ride sleeping.

When I finally made it back to Durango, my feet were so sore I could barely stand (I could barely walk in Silverton too but now it was worse). I knew I was going to have a hard time recovering for Mt. Sneffels so I decided it was worth paying a visit to the Durango Hot Springs (people had recommended the Ouray Hot Springs to me but I wasn't going to make it there in time). Pretty much only got to be there 45 minutes as they were about to close (only $10 too), but that was all my feet needed to gear up for one last challenge...

Time to retire the 45L daypack+ I got off of Amazon in favor of my regular daypack. Lol the smaller pack fom Costco actually weighs more empty
seeing that it's a heavier material and not really optimized for hiking, but it's worked well enough for me the past couple years.

Mt. Sneffels

Whenever I hear about Mt. Sneffels, it always seems to come with an aura of fantasy or nostalgia. I've been curious about it since I first started the 14ers and finally with this Chicago Basin trip it was something I could make a reality. I continued driving up US550 only to realize I was on the Million Dollar Highway and couldn't see any of it because it dark (lol that seems to be a recurring theme this weekend, but at least this was something I can easily rectify on the way back). I made it to the Governor's Basin junction and realized I didn't want to chance the rental Escape any higher and opted to park off to the side. This actually worked out because knowing that from the lower trailhead the elevation gain is only 2,950', I was trying to figure out where I wanted to start to ensure I got my 3,000' (lol even on Bierstadt I parked down the street near the campgrounds for the same reason) and parking at the junction helped make that decision for me. So at last, I was able to spread out my full size sleeping bag in the back seat and get a full night's rest. Going from sleeping on rocks to a concrete slab to a back seat, lol I'm finding my increasingly luxurious accomodations quite amusing.

Before I even left to come out to the Western Slope I'd been seeing extreme wind warnings in the forecast, particularly for Sunday (even some sources as high as 50mph). As I did with Chicago Basin, there was nothing definitive enough to dissuade me from at least showing up to the trailhead. Sure enough as I tried getting some sleep, the wind began to pick up and kept rocking me awake. And if that wasn't enough, it started raining pretty hard and I began wondering if I would even be able to do this. I buried my head in my sleeping bag and tried to ignore everything as best possible. I woke up around 4am and while the rain had stopped, the wind was as fierce as ever. I couldn't go back to sleep so I kind of waited to hear if it would die down. About an hour later, I began to see more capable vehicles driving up the Yankee Boy Basin Road and realized I wasn't the only crazy person thinking of attempting Mt. Sneffels in this wind. Lol all it took was that realization to motivate me to gear up and get moving at around 5:45am.

The wind was pretty relentless as I made my way up the 4WD road and throughout the day but nothing exceeding 35-40mph fortunately. Lol I've actually strategically avoided windy days on 14ers so far (except Missouri/Oxford/Belford), but wind aside I felt I was making good pace on the ground. I took the trail bypassing Wrights Lake and continued on toward the Blue Lakes Pass/Mt. Sneffels trail junction.

My plan was to take the ridge route up and the slopes down and there was nothing I saw upon arriving at the trail junction that would lead me to change anything. As the sun continued to rise and more of the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness came into view as I ascended Blue Lakes Pass, no picture I've seen does it justice.

The ridge route was surprisingly easy to follow as it was mainly just connecting trail segments through fairly stable boulders. I'd say the crux of the route is when you have to cross over the ridge and lose elevation to enter a loose gully. The route after that was obvious and once to the final push, I could see multiple paths to the summit. I saw several people on the slopes route but no one on the ridge, at least at the time I was doing it. I kept close to the ridge proper and made the summit at 9:15am.

I normally like spending half an hour on summits at least, but given the wind and the ominous clouds that seemed to be approaching, I knew I couldn't be up there long. I hadn't replaced my sign yet so I just took a selfie (it was so windy, I was afraid to use my camera timer and tripod) with the iconic Mt. Sneffels summit log box and began heading down:

Lol it was so windy I pretty much had my facemask on the all morning.

Even though I didn't come up the slopes route, it seemed like the faster and easier option going down. I double checked the route description just to be sure, but it's basically two moves you can see clear as day: take the gully down to the “Lavender Col” saddle and follow the slopes down to the trail. The wind was finally beginning to die down but at this point it wasn't even bothering me, I was just trying to take in the surrounding peaks as I knew my journey was nearing its end.

Looking back up the slopes
Looking at the portion of the ridge where you have to lose elevation to access the gully, which I felt to be thte crux of the route.

I had regained enough of my energy that I was even able to pick up a light jog and at 11:47am, I made it back down to the Governor's Basin junction. At a 5:52 RT, this was actually the shortest amount of time I've ever spent on a 14er (Bierstadt would have been shorter, but I ended up continuing on to the Sawtooth). With such richness in scenery from Yankee Boy Basin up through the ridge and down the slopes, it's hard to fathom how so much can be packed into what was seemingly a fairly short hike. Honestly if I lived on the Western Slope, I'd go back to Mt. Sneffels and the whole area in general as often as possible!

Wrapping Things Up
So there you have it—planned for six, came away with five, and couldn't have enjoyed myself more (lol except Windom, it still sucks). Looking back, it was certainly ambitious to try to be in and out of Chicago Basin in a day but seeing I close I got, it’s definitely doable. Not sure if it was just fatigue catching up to me between Sunlight and Windom seeing that part of my continuous push included the five hour drive from Colorado Springs, but it definitely would have been beneficial to have had a full night’s rest before giving this a shot. Probably a more reasonable and common approach is doing what the pair I ran into on Sunlight did—hike in to Chicago Basin the first night, knock out all four on day two, and hike out the morning of the third. Still, for what it was I think I made the best of my time there. Navigating and summiting at night was actually a pretty cool experience and nowhere near as intimidating as I thought it could be. The key is just to make sure you have a BRIGHT light on the more difficult terrain and it was actually pretty straight forward.

Anyway it was time to head back to Colorado Springs because I had work in the morning, but rather than head up to Montrose to catch US50 which would be the fastest, seeing that I came that way last year for the Wilson/El Diente traverse and that I'm not on this side of the state that often, I needed to experience the Million Dollar Highway in its full daytime glory! I opted to go back down to Durango and back the way I came via US160 (which I also drove in darkness coming in and wanted to see). With this trip I'm now half finished with the San Juans and can't wait to come back and tackle the Lake City 14ers next September! As for Wilson Peak, lol I'll get it when I get it at this point :).

By the time I was done with all this I was still pretty sore, but I remembered last year when I finished the Wilson/El Diente traverse my very next incline was a PR. I figured I'd try my luck again as soon as my feet would let me and boom!

Not only a PR but first sub 30 (it was actually 29:40 but the watch adds 3 seconds while saving for some reason :/), a goal I've been chasing for years! I normally use the Incline to try to keep conditioned for the 14ers and in general, but this time the 14ers returned the favor and made this trip even more worth it :).

(Didn’t have a continuous gpx track for Chicago Basin, just Needleton to the beginning of Twin Lakes approach and the segment leading to the catwalk and the Eolus summits—I did track all of Mt. Sneffels though, so I’ll include that one below)

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120

Comments or Questions
Excellent report
10/06/2019 01:06
Great trip report.loved the YBB photos.


Re: Excellent report
10/06/2019 09:21
Thanks! Yeah I figured it was such a unique experience that it deserved some kind of writeup to attempt to do it justice .


What a Day...
10/06/2019 10:03
...for a night! I've done a night climb before, but it was on much easier (Class 2) terrain. Congrats on a successful trip.

You're certifiably crazy...
10/06/2019 12:36
...but in a good sort of way! Congrats on a marathon trip, I enjoyed your report!



10/06/2019 14:49
@ Mtnman200
Yeah I was definitely nervous about it when the sun was setting on the catwalk, but keeping the light as bright as possible was the key to making it manageable. Definitely the right decision to change over to the Eoluses than try to push on and do Sunlight at night, there was some routefinding needed, particularly above 13,800' there that would have required being able to see beyond what my light could illuminate.

@ TomPierce
Lol just a bit .


10/06/2019 21:21
Nice work!!!


10/10/2019 16:02
Great report. That sunrise pic from Sunlight is primo..


Great Report
10/19/2019 07:59
Loved reading about your adventure, job well done!


Re: Great Report
10/20/2019 13:56
Thanks! I enjoyed reading your report as well, it was actually one of those I read when I was trying to plan this out .

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