Monday, April 23, 2012

Epic Adventure 2011- Day 2

EA2011 Day 2:

Sunlight Peak and Windom Peak

It was cold and dark as we left our tent before 5am. That was fine with me, I did sleep much anyway. We quickly made our way up into the upper basin in the dark long before the sun started to light up the rugged landscapes. We knew we had a long, hard day ahead of us, so we wasted no time in getting started on the trail to Sunlight Peak.

The Sun is just coming up as we take a break near 13,000 feet above the high basin.

Scott and Jeff climb up the dirt and rock gully. This area was steep and loose.

Scott tops out on a small class 3 chimney. This was a "choose your own adventure" area.
Looking up toward the rocky, blocky summit area.

You can see me climbing near the Crux of the route at the bottom of this picture (courtesy of Ryan M.)


Serious face on the summit of Sunlight Peak.

Scott Lowery mounts the summit block on Sunlight

Arrow and Vestal Peaks in the distance  looking Northeast past the sheer dropoff on Sunlight's summit slabs.

A view East from the summit of Sunlight Peak

Sunlight Spire (L) and Windom Peak (R) from the Summit of Sunlight Peak

Pigeon and Turret Peaks from the summit. Climbing those is no joke.

Coming on down from Sunlight, like a Boss.

Scott looking back at Sunlight Peak. We were just up there.

The first mountain was fun an exciting, but it doesn't take long before we realize we have a lot more work ahead of us to summit Windom Peak, which is seemingly just so close to where we were. Again, no trail, we had to pick and choose our way through large and unstable talus and boulders.

We got a little off track at this point. Jeff climbs a class 3 area next to a precarious cliff.

Jeff and Scott carefully negotiate the summit area. You don't want to slip here, as a steep and loose ravine resides on the left side of the photo.

On the summit of Windom Peak, Scott takes a little break. Rugged peaks dominate the landscape. Sunlight peak is in the background.

Sunlight Peak (L) and Sunlight Spire (R) from near Windom's summit.

Beautiful views in every direction from the Summit of Windom Peak. I believe this is looking South.

Jeff and Scott downclimbing some big wobbly boulders. Jeff wasn't especially fond of this part.

Chunky boulders on the way down stretch Jeff out.

Scott shows us the summits we'll attempt tomorrow, as storm clouds quickly build overhead.

Clouds darken as we start to descend from the upper basin.

This pristine lake is well over 12,000 feet above sea level. You can't see all the mosquitos and horseflies but they were there in abundance.

Streams and waterfall everywhere as we descend back to camp.

Looking down into Chicago basin with Columbine Pass and Aztec Mountain in the background. Our tent is down and to the right of this photo.
All in all, it was a fantastic day in the mountains. Plain statistics for this day were not impressive, but the routes you take were far more tiring than they appear on paper. The storm clouds built up by 1pm, and we descended down to our tent in light rain and distant thunder, as the skies darkened. Good thing we started early! Jeff had some problems with his blood sugar, and nearly lost conciousness climbing Windom. Luckily, he was able to sugar up and push on to the summit.


Day 3 can be found below:


  1. I wanted to add this comment to your Part 3, but it seems not to exist, so...
    Congrats on bagging both Eolus and N. Eolus, plus making it out to the train stop on the same day. We tried this in 2008, but total gray-out on the peaks forced us to settle for just N. Eolus. Very nice photos.

    1. Thanks for checking out my blog! Part 3 does indeed exist. It's posted to the blog, but I also fixed the link on so that works as well- some spectacular photos from day 3.

      The final day wasn't too bad, but we did have a sense of urgency, and I think we ended up waking up around 3:30 am, getting lost, and reaching the start of the grass ledges as the sun was coming up on Eolus. We made it to the train from the basin in about 2 hours.