Peak(s):  Sunlight Peak  -  14,059 feet
Windom Peak  -  14,082 feet
Mt. Eolus  -  14,083 feet
North Eolus  -  14,039 feet
Date Posted:  07/20/2009
Modified:  07/22/2009
Date Climbed:   07/14/2009
Author:  zeekzilch
 Chicago Basin and the urine loving Mountain Goats + videos  

Mountain Goats:

Okay, first it's no joke - the herd of Mountain Goats will actually wander through camp waiting for you to urinate because they crave the salt so much. To discourage this distasteful practice (so to speak...) the Forest Service recommends you urinate on rocks. We did try burying urine but the goats will go to great lengths to dig it up...

The Team:

Our group consisted of; 15 year old Eric, 23 year old Jamie, me (the 53 year old curmudgeon), and 30 year old Kevin who did most of the leading. The four of us had all met, at different times, through and climbed together in different combinations since the last season. We turned out to be a diverse group that got along really well and look forward to climbing again together if we could only match our days off!


Kevin, Jamie and I met up in Denver for the ride down to Colorado Springs to pick up Eric. We left south Denver at around 8:30 pm but it took well over two hours to reach the 'Springs for Eric - thanks to heavy Sunday evening road construction. After Eric got on board we drove through the night to Durango where we slept in the car (in a local park) until the train station opened.

The train ride, to Needleton, took about two-and-a-half hours, and was relatively comfortable even though we were in an open car (If possible, they try to keep "smelly" backpackers out of the regular passenger cars - so I'm told...). The train ride costs $79 round-trip plus another $10 if you bring along a backpack. The train is interesting, from an historical perspective, but grossly inefficient and polluting. During normal economic times they run four round-trip trains per day - each using about eight tons of coal, over 75% of which is burned going uphill. The accumulation of coal soot is especially pronounced on the way uphill as well - it collects in your hair, eyes, nostrils and camera lenses but doesn't seem to do a whole lot of damage (that I'm yet aware of...).

Climbing and Hiking:

The weather was superb throughout our entire stay - hardly a hint of moisture in the air which we understand is a bit unusual for the area. Nevertheless, we took full advantage of the clear skies and easily completed Windom and Sunlight on Tuesday morning, July 14th.

The four of us then completed Eolus and North Eolus on the next morning, Wednesday, July 15th. Kevin and I, immediately after Eolus, made our way up Jupiter Mountain - a "Centennial" that's easily visible from the camping areas in Chicago Basin.

All of us found the fourth class moves, and occasional 5th class pieces, to be a climbing delight. Although there was some loose rock, with some difficult route finding, we all did really well - feeling solid and confident on the rock without compromising fun or safety.

YouTube mania:
(There are a bunch of regular pix below this area. If all you see
is a lot of empty space your server is filtering-out YouTube
links. Scroll further down to see the regular pictures)











  Homeless lady waiting for the train to Needleton...

  Waiting for packs to load onto the Durango & Silverton Railroad

   Durango & Silverton Railroad enroute Needleton and then Silverton

  Unloading packs from the Durango & Silverton Railroad

 Eric, Jamie, and Kevin on North Eolus

  Jamie making her way up some 4th class on Eolus

  Dueling cameras

  Mount Eolus as seen from North Eolus

  Eric making his way up Eolus

  Jamie viewing the North Eolus from Eolus

  Jamie and Kevin on Eolus

  Roger J. Wendell, Eric, Kevin and Jamie coming down from Eolus

  North Eolus

  Eric on 3rd class terrain on Eolus

  Eric and Kevin going up Eolus

  Mountain Goat on Windom Peak

  Jamie coming down from Sunlight Peak

  Jamie makes her way to the top of Sunlight Peak

  Eric, Kevin and Jamie on Sunlight Peak

  Eric dancing on Sunlight Peak

  Roger J. Wendell and Eric on Windom Peak

  Jamie and Kevin making their way up Windom

  Mountain Goats walking through our camp

  Roger J. Wendell crossing the Animas River over the bridge at the Needleton train stop


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Nice one
07/21/2009 04:48
Congrats to all; glad to see you enjoyed fabulous weather. Also, cool videos, Roger; thanks for posting.


03/04/2012 18:31
Thanks for the good report Roger!

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