Peak(s):  Sunlight Peak  -  14,059 feet
Windom Peak  -  14,082 feet
Mt. Eolus  -  14,083 feet
North Eolus  -  14,039 feet
Date Posted:  08/29/2010
Date Climbed:   08/27/2010
Author:  Perea
 Chicago Basin # 54, 55, 56, & 57  

Paul Perea,Dave West, Johnny AKA Peak Bagger
Total milage 19 miles
Camp Elevation 11,200 feet
Water Temperature Twin Lakes?(Cold)
Goats and Mushrooms seen hundreds

Getting a partner for this one was not easy with the travel time, logistics of the train, and the approach. Some of the guys I normally climb with had already done Chicago Basin and others could not make the dates work. Finally Dave West agreed to go and was real excited for the trip unfortunately he got sick after arriving at camp and had to make an early decent the next day back to Durango. I felt bad since he had taken the time off work paid for a train ticket, and made a valient effort to make it to camp with a heavy backpack(7.2 miles). I met Johnny soon after getting off the train and we stuck together the rest of the trip. It was nice because we both had a similar pace and he will also be finishing his 58th and final 14er next Saturday on Sneffles. Congrats Peak Bagger :

After a long drive to Durango we boarded the train. If I never have to board a train again I will not be disappointed. I was just ready to throw the pack on and get above the trees.
Dave was as excited as I was about being on the boring train.

After arriving at Needleton we were handed our packs and crossing the Animas River in no time. I looked back at the train as it left and saw the tourists staring at us. All I could think was we are going to have more fun than you have a nice ride to Silverton.
There were some really cool Mushrooms and tons of rasberrys on the trail. I ate several rasberrys but refrained from the red and yellow Shrooms.
Shroom Power for the 7.2 mile trek

The sun beat down on us and it felt like 100 degrees with humidity. It was tough staying hydrated.
It was hot!

About 5 miles in it appeared like the skys were going to unload on us but all we got were a few drops. When we got to camp our little urine fins were waiting for us. They were great entertainment the 2 days we were up there. Other than one going for my poles we had no problems with them.
Pee Drinkers!

The views from camp were amazing and a great place to just relax. We had dinner and went to bed in anticipation for a 4 a.m. start.
View from camp

Sure beats Aurora!

4 a.m. came fast and we hit the trail to Twin Lakes Via headlamp and moonlight. The route was cairned well so route finding was never an issue. Sunlight was the first 14er on the agenda. We arrived at the first window at sunrise and I stopped to look out and watched the sunrise.
We were on the summit shortly after and ready to do the final summit block move I was concerned about. Johnny went first. He didn't think about it and just did it which is what you have to do. If you think about it the exposure on each side will play tricks on your mind and will make the move harder. Johnny jumped back down off the 2nd block as I stood there to spot him if he overshot it. I however did not feel comfortable with the jump with my past knee injury and was able to just crabwalk down a little and step across with my back to the gap below and push off with my arms. On all the Youtube videos I had not seen anyone do it this way but I guess whatever works.
Peak Bagger ready to make the final Sunlight move

My turn

Downclimbing was easy and we made our way to peak# 2 for the day Windom. We stayed as high as possible to not lose too much elevation and soon met up with standard route for Windom. There is some nice scrambling to be had on the square blocks. We were on top by 8:30. We ate breakfast took our summit pictures and I made a call home to check in that everything was ok. I was suprised how good the reception was up there.
Decending Windom was a breeze. I was excited to see the lakes in daylight they did not disappoint.
Making our way down Windom

Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes

Once down to Twin Lakes I ate some lunch and Peakbagger filtered some more water. I was happy with our time so far and felt like chilling for a while but Peakbagger suggested we start on our next objective Eolus and North Eolus in case weather moved in. I agreed slammed a GU and we were off. By now the sun was hot and beating down on us but we still made good time to below the Catwalk.
Below the catwalk.

If you ask ten people what is the most difficult of the 4 peaks you will get ten different answers but for me it was Eolus. Maybe because the legs were already tired. On the way up we met with a lady who was coming down. She had just taken a 3 foot fall bounced and fell another few feet before catching herself. She was bleeding from the knee and thought she might of hurt her back. We offerred a first aid kit and she said she had one but might take us up on it after arriving at camp. A close call indeed and a reminder to never let your guard down on any mountain regardless of the difficulty. We contiued on to the Catwalk where the peak and catwalk looked impressive.
At the beginning of the Catwalk

Loking back at the Catwalk


I thought of the lady that fell while crossing the ledges and took extra caution. Soon I was standing on the summit of # 56
Summit Eolus

The downclimb back to the start of North Eolus was uneventful and the quick 10 minute scramble to the top of North Eolus took me about 20 minutes since I was pretty spent by now.
Down Climbing Eolus

Alpine Beach

After coming off of our last 14er for the day my legs sore all I could dream about was jumping in the cold lake. It was on my bucketlist to swim in an alpine lake at some point in my life. CHECK
Man VS Wild

Adios Chicago Basin

Next week will be # 58 The one and only Mt Evans driving down with a belly full of beer and champagne is going to be tough!

A couple side notes: 1. The lady was ok we saw her at camp and was being taken care of she was walkign aroound with no problem.

2. If you park in Durango you can save time catching the 11:30 train to Silverton and then taking the bus back to Durango.

3. The Cumbres and Toltec Railroad near Antonito/Chama is boring but but I think the Durango one has it beat.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Awesome effort!
02/05/2011 00:22
All four Needles 14ers in a day -- a magnificent piece of mountaineering and a great trip report! Keep the faith, and keep on climbing!


Thanks for the challenge
08/29/2010 18:43
Good report! It was an awesome weekend. Thanks for letting me hang with you guys. Initially, I was planning on a leisurely hike - 2 peaks on Friday and 2 more on Sat since I was doing solo. But when you and Dave said you're going for the 4-pack in 1 day, I just couldn't resist the challenge. Too bad Dave got sick. I'll have my 54th (or 58th depending on how you count them) on Sneffles next Sat with plenty of champagne.


04/18/2014 19:27
Thanks Fred and for anyone who didn't know 14erPeakBagger will be the first ever Navajo to complete the Colorado 14ers.


Way to go...
08/29/2010 21:55
Paul and PeakBagger! 4 in a day is impressive. I bet your legs were tired. I guess the crux was surviving that COLD alpine lake!!! Yikes!

Paul....looking forward to our finisher (#58!) together on Mt. Evans. Yoo hoo! Let's git 'er done!


Getting off Sunlight Summit
01/05/2011 17:15
paulperea, great trip report! I did Sunlight & Windom last week. Like you, I just "crabwalked" off the Sunlight summit and had no problem at all... Even went back up for a "2nd summit" to take extra pics/vids. As you stated, you don't see anyone else exiting the summit this way online, but it seemed the logical solution to me. Another member of our party was nervous and I simply helped lower his foot down to the ledge just below the one you jump to. Again, no problems. Another option I thought of is to use trekking poles to balance yourself and then simply "step down".

All this to say, I think there are more options than taking the perilous "leap of faith". I saw one guy (not in our party) almost miss and it scared the life out of me.


Nice report!
08/30/2010 02:51
Nice pictures, it was my favorite trip!


Sweet dude!
06/02/2011 14:57
Great pics.... good thing you lost your old camera! Congrats on a great job. Looks like another great trip. One more to go before you start doing repeats with me. GitRdone!

emcee smith

08/30/2010 12:16
Paul, hopefully you won't have to revise your toughest list after Evans.


nice work Paul
08/30/2010 16:21
all 4 in a day are something else. We mad ethe mistake of taking a dip in Twin Lakes before we continued on to Eolus. Weather rolled in, so we just swam in the lake for a while and retreated.

Looks like you had flawless weather, man I could've used that in NW Wyoming over the weekend. F'ing hurrican katrina up there all weekend.....

Good luck on finishing this weekend.


how to flag down the train
09/01/2010 15:59
Watched you guys make quick work of the downclimb of Sunshine and traverse to/climb up Windom. Zoom, zoom.

So is this Peakbagger demonstrating an alternative flagging method to stop the Durango train?



09/02/2010 02:18
Good Work! Looks a little more of a climb than our early morning adventure of Wilson Peak. Headed to Chicago Basin this weekend for 52-55!


Thanks Guys
04/18/2014 19:27
I'm a little sad to finish them all as weird as that may sound but also excited to explore other peaks besides 14ers. Maybe do some reapeats via different routes.


09/07/2010 17:13
Good report, Paul, thanks!

We were thinking of doing this in a day from the Purgatory TH - but I think we'll bust it up with an overnight bivy. Your report is helpful. Looks like a great time!

PS - by now you've probably done Evans and finished. Congrats to you and Britt! I know what you mean about finishing - but there's always the ”winter 14er list.”

   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.