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Chicago Basin Part 2: Sunlight and Windom
May 11, 2008

Partners: Frank Konsella, Jordan White, Jarrett Luttrell

Route Description: South face on Sunlight. Up West ridge on Windom, down Widowmaker couloir.

Data: Began from our camp at 10,900’ at 6 am. Climbed up south face of Sunlight, and then scrambled on the ridge to reach the summit (14,059’) at 11 am. Spent about 20-30 minutes on summit. Skied from summit register/survey marker down the east face to the “tunnel” which we used to cross over to the south face. Skied the south face the rest of the way down, for about 1100’ (Just under 13,000’ elevation). Then began climbing up the West Ridge of Windom at 12:30. Reached summit (14,082’) around 3 pm. Skied from summit across the SW face to a notch. Then walked back up a few steps to a mound that was equal to the height of the summit, but above the couloir. Skied Widowmaker couloir down. Skied all the way back to camp. Back at 4 pm. Total vert climbed: 3200’ + 1100’ Total vert skied: 1100’ + 3200’. Total time: 10 hours.

Relevant Links: TGR Trip Report

After skiing Mt. Eolus, the next day we decided to go for the two remaining fourteeners in the basin: Sunlight and Windom. Knowing that the weather was going to be less cloudy and warmer this day, we made sure to get a much earlier start.

Skinning to the higher basin in the morning.

Looking back toward Jupiter.

Our goals for the day (as seen from S. Eolus the previous day).

The climb up Sunlight was pretty easy at first.

Then it got a little steeper and harder.

And then it turned into a wall of rock.

Jarret climbing the sketchy summit block.

Jordan hanging out on the summit block.

South and North Eolus.

Knife Point, Arrow, and Vestal.

With all this rock, skiing from the summit required some creativity. There was some snow on the east face, although the primary face we wanted to ski was south. On our climb up, we saw this "tunnel" which would become our "portal" between the east and south faces.

Skiing from the summit.

And then the tunnel!

From the tunnel we were able to enjoy fantastic snow all the way down the south face.





When we got down to the bottom of the face we turned around and began hiking up Windom. We climbed the ridge and skied the Widowmaker couloir.

The summit of Windom

To ski from the summit we traversed down and across the SW face back to the ridge. Jarret traversing.

We then walked a few steps back up to the mound of snow above the Widowmaker couloir.

Frank dropping into Widowmaker.





Once we were done with Widowmaker we still had a long way to go with lots of fun corn!

Again, we skied all the way to camp... Where after not falling the entire day, I promptly fell flat on my face 20 feet away from our tent ;)

It was a great day. Out of all 3 peaks we had the best snow on Widowmakers so it was a great finish.

The next day, we packed up camp headed back to the train.

The way down took less than 4 hours. Much nicer compared to the 6 hours on the way up. We were able to ski about half of the distance. The other half, it was much more helpful having gravity on our side.

Jordan crossing the Animas to the train stop.

We waited for a few hours for the train to show up. While we were resting this guy showed up.

He stopped to chat and said, "The first time I ever went up these tracks Chris Davenport was standing right over there. Of course, I didn't know who he was at the time.... Boy, I'll tell ya, those were a bunch of hardened guys!"

The man talked with us for a few minutes, then ran with his cart to get it started again, and off he went!

After hours of playing silly games, the train arrived. We welcomed it, with all of it's steam and smoke. It had been a great trip. But, now, it was time to go home!

Route Pictures

Click for a larger view.

Our lines on Sunlight and Windom

Our summit line on Sunlight

Our lines on Windom


Photos contributed by Jordan White, Jarrett Lutrell, and Frank Konsella.