Peak(s):  PT 13,121  -  13,121 feet
Greylock Mtn  -  13,575 feet
"East Windom"  -  13,460 feet
"South Windom"  -  13,740 feet
Date Posted:  12/16/2020
Date Climbed:   07/15/2020
Author:  supranihilest
Additional Members:   whileyh, Garrett
 Eight Days in the Weminuche, Day 6: Unlocking Greylock and Weminuche Windows to Windom   

Table of Contents

Wednesday, July 15, 2020: Day 6 - Unlocking Greylock and Weminuche Windows to Windom
-- Day 6 Statistics

Wednesday, July 15, 2020: Day 6 - Unlocking Greylock and Weminuche Windows to Windom

We got up early and packed up our riverside camp. Garrett would show us the way (angels singing) across Sunlight Creek and into the upper basin. We only hiked for a mile and a half before finding a nice, flatish spot next to the burbling creek, where we setup camp. If Whiley and I had found the way across yesterday, we probably would have only had 15 or 20 more minutes of hiking to go. Ah well. Along the way we were greeted by our first, stunning views of Jagged Mountain which towered intimidatingly above the basin.

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Jagged Mountain as seen from our short morning approach to camp. Photo: Whiley H.
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We setup camp off to the right near a crystal clear creek. Photo: Whiley H.
20715_03
Jagged Mountain (right) and Peak Ten from our camp. Not bad!

We setup our camp and didn't linger for long before continuing up the trail towards Sunlight Lake. Our goal today, despite the now late 9:30am start, was Point 13,121, Greylock Mountain, and Windom Peak's eastern and southern unnamed, unranked summits. The trail took us through charming, granite-strewn rolls and bumps as it ascended towards the lake.

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Boulder and slab-dotted easy terrain heading south through Sunlight Basin.
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"Sunlight Spire" in the middle with Windom Peak and Sunlight Peak on the left and right, respectively.
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Looking back on Knife Point, Peak Ten, and Jagged from the plateau above Sunlight Lake.
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Leviathan Peak and Vallecito Peak, both in the background. The foreground ridge is Point 12,890.
20715_09
The higher of the two Sunlight Lakes with "Sunlight Spire" and Sunlight Peak in the background. Photo: Whiley H.
20715_10
"East Windom", Windom, and the Sunlights. Photo: Garrett M.

We passed the lake without much of a break and contoured southeast across flat terrain, avoiding as much of the complexity of the area as possible. Gaining the ridge south of the lake gave us outstanding views of 13,121, Greylock, and "East Windom", plus all of the effort involved in merely getting to the peaks.

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More complex, granite covered terrain on the south side of Sunlight Lake that we had to navigate between basins.
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"East Windom" looking not at all unranked. Photo: Whiley H.
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Only 17 valleys and ridges to go before we reach Point 13,121. Photo: Garrett M.
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Most of our day ahead: Point 13,121, Greylock Mountain, and "East Windom".

The path of least resistance towards 13,121 involved dropping into another basin to the south, then reascending it on the far side, weaving among slabs on lush grass strips in order to bypass Greylock's northeast ridge. We passed by a waterfall in the bowl, feeling absolutely dwarfed by the enormous landscape around us.

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An endless sea of granite slabs. I'm sure most of the rock in this area has never been touched.
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Waterfalls and fourteeners.
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From whence we came. It looks much farther away than it is. Photo: Garrett M.
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Sacred spaces. Photo: Garrett M.

Once on top of Greylock's northeast ridge we stuck to its eastern side, crossing innumerable more slabs while slowly gaining the 13,121/Greylock saddle. The smooth, solid granite of our day so far changed to a reddish, rotten granite as we neared the saddle. Like most rock, if it's red it wants you dead.

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Our first peak of the day: Point 13,121. Notice the shift in rock color and quality.

At the saddle we aimed for a brief break in the cliffs that otherwise prevented easy access to 13,121. A brief squall rolled in near the saddle, necessitating that we put on our hardshells and hunker down while it blew through. It probably lasted 15 minutes and dampened the peaks but not our spirits. When the storm gave us a break we scooted up through the cliff on sketchy, loose rock. The gully we ascended was short but steep, rotten, and contained some moves that were Class 2+, possibly Easy Class 3. It wasn't very pleasant, but it eased off quickly and gave way to Class 2 slopes to 13,121's pile of summit boulders.

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The passage through 13,121's cliffs. It's not terribly steep, but it is terribly loose.
20715_20
13,121's jumble of summit boulders. Photo: Garrett M.
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Class 2+ boulders with maybe two moves of Class 3 to Class 3+ at the very top. Exposure was minimal except for the very final move(s).

The scrambling up the stacked boulders was fun and easy, and within a few minutes we were on top. Including the brief storm we waited out it took us just a hair over two hours from camp to 13,121.

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Crunchy boulders that make up the summit. Photo: Garrett M.
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Minor scrambling around huge, crystalized rocks. It's not as hard or exposed as the photo makes it seem. Photo: Garrett M.
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Not enough room for two. Photo: Garrett M.
20715_25
Greylock, Windom, and the Sunlights from 13,121.

We weren't sure how long the weather would continue to hold off, so we didn't stay on 13,121 for long. We figured we could at least get Greylock and then bail from there if the weather turned south on us. We scrambled back down the boulders and slipped and slid down the ascent gully, then made our way up Greylock, which was a simple Class 2 affair. A small snowfield stretched across the upper saddle but didn't warrant special care.

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The super awful and loose ascent/descent on 13,121. Note Greylock's northeast ridge, which we went far around its northern end and ascended below.
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Ascending the only snow of the whole trip on Greylock, with Mount Oso looking enormous behind. Photo: Garrett M.
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Easy terrain up Greylock. Photo: Garrett M.
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Fierce looking towers on 13,121's south face.
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Windom and Sunlight from Greylock. "East Windom" is nearly invisible in middle right. Photo: Garrett M.

Our stay on Greylock was again short. The weather above us had passed but some was building over Jagged, and we didn't want to have to come back this way on another day to get the unranked Windoms in case it came our way.

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Storms a'brewin' above Peak Ten and Jagged. Photo: Garrett M.

We left the summit heading west along the rocky ridge. The garbage red granite returned, much to our dismay.

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Return of the Red Rotten Rock.
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Starting to head down towards "East Windom".

To get to "East Windom" we had to drop down a boulder field and into a notch, scramble out of the notch, and traverse on rotten ledges to easier ground. The first part - the boulder field to the notch - was easy enough.

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Approaching a deep notch en route to "East Windom".
20715_36
Descending into the notch. There was a short Class 3 to Class 4 scramble back out of the notch, followed by a sketchy traverse on obviously poor rock.

Getting out of the notch wasn't too difficult but required careful selection of holds for the 15 or so feet of scrambling onto the ledges since the rock was of very questionable quality. The difficulty went down to Class 2 or Class 2+ along the ledges, but the consequences shot upward. The ledges were down sloping, covered in gravel, and above a sizeable cliff.

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Traversing between Greylock (in the background) and "East Windom". The rock is super loose and the exposure to the right is intense. Photo: Garrett M.

At one point we had to down climb a short, shallow gully. It was water polished and full of gravel, and I'm not proud to admit I butt scooted all 10-20 feet of it, but I didn't like the exposure and insecure footing. All in all it was my least favorite part of the day, but it was quick and everything after was easier. Finishing the traverse to the ascent up "East Windom," we scrambled up Class 2+ blocks and boulders to the grassy summit plateau, then hiked up the miniscule summit bump.

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Fun scrambling up more solid rock towards "East Windom". This looks complex and difficult but there was almost nothing notable about it.
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"East Windom"'s gentle backside.
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Windom and Sunlight. The saddle between Windom and "East Windom" is the easiest way to this spot, and we used it as our descent route. Photo: Garrett M.
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Windom and "South Windom" left of center. The lake has no name. Photo: Garrett M.
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The eastern half of Chicago Basin, from the outside.
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"Sunlight Spire" from afar. Photo: Garrett M.

The weather by now had cleared and "South Windom" looked like it would be an easy peak to end the day on. We descended southwest towards the unnamed lake between us and "South Windom," going around the former's north side. The hiking consisted mostly of talus, and was a nice change of pace after the traverse between Greylock and "East Windom".

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Overall super easy and gentle terrain to "South Windom". We ascended on the right side of the lake and descended on the left. Centennial thirteener Jupiter Mountain is on the left.
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Looking back on "East Windom" and Greylock from near the bottom of "South Windom". Photo: Garrett M.
20715_46
Rocky ascent up "South Windom", but nothing more than a walkup.

Though "South Windom" is unranked and neglected, the views it offers are amazing and worth the time to climb it. The two unranked Windoms would connect alright with Knife Point, if traversing from Greylock isn't in the cards.

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Funky rock on Windom's south ridge. Photo: Garrett M.
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Windom's exciting looking south ridge from "South Windom". Photo: Garrett M.

There were only something like three sign-ins in five years on "South Windom"'s register, one of the most infrequently climbed thirteeners I've had the pleasure of summiting. We gawked at Windom's south ridge for a few minutes, then began descending back to the lake, which we circled around on the other side.

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Traversing around the other side of the lake, because we wanted to make a silly shape on the GPS. Photo: Garrett M.

We made our way back to the Windom/"East Windom" saddle, and from there the route back down was obvious. It was a talus hop to the upper lake, then a short jaunt to re-join where we'd ascended from the lower lake, where we could take the trail back to camp.

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Upper Sunlight Lake on our descent.
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Oh, Weminuche, the things you do to my heart...

We returned to camp, prepared for our planned climb of Jagged Mountain the next day, and went to bed early. A storm came in overnight and pounded the area, replete with a lightning and thunder concert to lull us to sleep. We weren't sure if the storm would prevent us from climbing Jagged or not, but we'd had it pretty darn good so far, and mountain thunderstorms are a treat from inside a tent. Overall this was one of the easier days on our trip, and gave us just enough of a taste of Sunlight Basin to leave us wanting more. It's hard to beat remote, rugged granite, and Sunlight has that in spades. Those who only climb the Chicago Basin fourteeners are sorely missing out on the juiciness of surrounding areas.


Statistics

Climbers: Ben Feinstein (myself), Whiley H., Garrett M.
Trailhead: Sunlight Creek (~11,500 feet)
Total distance: 1.47 miles (approach) + 9.64 miles (peaks) = 11.11 miles
Total elevation gain: 676 feet (approach) + 4,669 feet (peaks) = 5,345 feet
Total time: 50:22 (approach) + 6:37:43 (peaks) = 7:28:05
Peaks: Two ranked thirteeners, two unranked thirteeners

  • Point 13,121
  • Greylock Mountain, 13,575'
  • "East Windom", 13,460' (unranked)
  • "South Windom", 13,740' (unranked)

Splits:

Starting Location Ending Location Via Time (h:mm:ss) Cumulative Time (h:mm:ss) Rest Time (m:ss)
Middle Sunlight Creek Camp Upper Sunlight Creek Camp 0:50:22 0:50:22 Segment End
Sunlight Creek Camp Point 13,121 2:02:58 2:02:58 0:00
Point 13,121 Greylock Mountain 0:43:20 2:49:18 5:17
Greylock Mountain "East Windom" 1:03:31 3:58:16 0:00
"East Windom" "South Windom" 0:46:29 4:44:45 0:00¹
"South Windom" Sunlight Creek Camp 1:52:58 6:37:43 Overnight

¹I did not time the rest here, but it was a few minutes.


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




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51


Comments or Questions
Tornadoman
User
East Windom
12/16/2020 16:40
Wow... that has amazing views toward Windom and Sunlight. Just sick... and the view from South Windom isn't shabby either!


RyGuy
User
The views!
12/17/2020 08:04
Awesome to finally get a good idea what the views from Graylock look like. I did it in fog and rain a couple years ago and never saw anything.


supranihilest
User
Views
12/18/2020 14:53
The views from the unranked Windom 13ers are pretty darn great, especially "East Windom". Really petty much anywhere in the area is just spectacular.



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