Sunlight Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-07-04, By: MountainBuhn
Info: (Pics on Mt Eolus review) Copying this info for all 4. Backpacked in from Purg on Friday 7/1. Started at 3:30 and got to the lowest spot in Chicago Basin at 9pm. Started the day on Saturday at 2:30am attempting all 4. Mt E: Clear of all snow. Catwalk is overrated imo. Ledges were far tougher (and longer). Some loose rock to deal with. We found staying under the ridge was the best option on the way up. Headed more straight east on the way down. N E: Easy, self explanatory, maybe a slightly sketchy move getting from the saddle of Mt E to the beginning of the climb if coming from Mt E. Pup made it up N Eolus with no help. Put him in a bag for ledges due to the rockfall potential. Sunlight: Started from Twin at 10:30am after resting after Eolus. Storm clouds were moving in but we decided to send it anyway (wouldn't recommend). Red gully was bad as advertised but not as bad as say sneffels scree or Wilson/Diente scree so it's relative. Got to notch with plenty of thunder but no lightning so we went for it. Class 4 move wasn't bad but tougher on the way down if you're shorter than 6'. I thought the move into the “chimney tunnel” was harder than the leap. Booted it off as thunder was heard straight above us. Pup stayed below class 4 move and my partner and I summited at different times. Windom: Weirdly my favorite. Boulder hopping up to the notch was tough. Notch up to peak was a blast. Pup needed a couple of butt shoves but besides that was good. Summit block of Windom was a blast. Definitely plenty of class 3 fun (the class 2 rank is just incorrect). Back to the lakes by 5pm. Somehow had no rain fall on us. It felt like there was a force field around the 4 peaks and we were just extremely lucky for a monsoon weekend. Backpacked out 7/3 in 4 hours of rain (finally got us). Fun weekend. To summit all 4 in one day is something else. Would do sunlight again and spend more time at the top. Real calf burner 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-06-30, By: HikesInGeologicTime
Info: Approach trail to Chicago Basin is clear of deadfall, but there Sunday's monsoon surge created a washout that has potential to become a full-blown gully for about 1000' ~2 miles below the basin (edit: attached example photo taken by daway. Trail from basin to start of the ascent to Twin Lakes has running water and mud for a significant portion. There is a brief snow crossing above the headwall, but traction isn't a necessity there. Approach to the saddle consists largely of either frozen mud or liquid mud depending on whether the sun has risen high enough yet. The remaining bit of scrambling is dry. Summit block is just as intimidating as pictures and video make it look, but if you're with professionals who have ropes and know how to use them, it's doable even for the faint hearted. 
1 5
Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Posted On: 2022-06-29, By: Beekman
Info: Good news - most of the dead fall has been cleared by the forest service. Bad news - there was a down poor for 12 hours straight today, completely washed out the trail, places have gullies three foot deep. A forest service volunteer said it's beyond repair. Plan on a extra time to navigate. 
1
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-06-28, By: richardwh
Info: There were one or two snow fields just after Twin Lakes, depending on route taken. I crossed two on the way up, but only one on the return. FWIW, I did not summit or attempt Windom, since the weather was turning. Both snow fields were fairly short (probably 30-40 yards or so), and both were on relatively flat ground. From CB, the mountains all looked fairly snow-free, so I left my axe at camp and only carried my crampons up, being that they were my only traction. Microspikes would be fine, if anything, but I did not even bother with my crampons, since they were short, flat snow fields, and therefore “low stakes.” It's not very snowy, but monsoon season is definitely here early, as advertised! One of the waterfall crossings on the return to Needleton was gushing with muddy runoff water, and there was no obvious way to cross without getting feet soaked. Hopefully you'll have better luck! 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-02-21, By: rosey33
Info: Left purgatory at 5:30am and booted past needleton before putting on snowshoes. Very warm day making the snow soft. Arrived at lower Chicago basin at 2pm. Set camp and pushed for sunlight and windom. Twin lakes is frozen and there is no water. You can get water from streams near the head wall before twin lakes. We left our snow shoes below twin lakes and booted. Crampons and traction are not required with the current snow pack. Choose your own adventure to get these peaks after accessing snow pack. Rob Barlow and I had bomber snow on sunlight. Summit of Sunlight at 8pm. Winds picked up and temps dropped. Pushed onward to windom descending near the standard route of sunlight. Took standard route up windom and summited at 10:30pm. Did not take the standard route down. We made quick work of a North West facing gully that had some loose dry risk but very manageable. Back to camp in lower Chicago basin at 1:30 am.. This shit is no joke. Kudos to everyone who made it this year so far. 
14 2
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2022-01-12, By: bmcqueen
Info: I'm not sure Team CB put in a superhighway trench as Amy described it. There were two of us to her one, so twice as much of a highway I suppose. Amy's solo effort is amazing and we appreciated the tracks in down the hill from Purgatory. Trench to CB is in to Twin Lakes, up Sunlight and Windom. Didn't have gas in the tank to try Eolus group after summiting Windom in the dark and returning to camp after 10. More unconsolidated snow in the basin than I was expecting as dry as it has been. South slopes of Sunlight had some rollerballs and wet slide remnants. Switched from snowshoes to crampons most of the way up the gully. No real surprises rest of the route. 
7
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-11-22, By: calhack7
Info: Summited Sunlight Peak today. Perfect weather, not a cloud in the sky and no wind at all. Hiked in to Chicago Basin yesterday afternoon, summited this morning, then hiked out. Purgatory flats to the junction with Needle Creek is bone dry. From there to Twin Lakes there are occasional patches of snow/ice, never more than a few inches deep or a few feet long. The Twin lakes and Needle Creek drainage had a mix of firm snow I could walk on and soft snow that I post holed past my knees in. Once across the drainage the snow was patchy until about ~13,500. From there to the summit it was almost completely dry. Skipped Windom b/c that side of the valley had a lot more snow, and it was getting too late in the day to attempt Eolus/N Eolus. Brought spikes/axe but didn't use either. 
6 3
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-11-09, By: nicoinco
Info: I hiked into Chicago Basin over the weekend via the Purgatory Flats approach. Ended up summiting Sunlight, Windom, and North Eolus, but decided to turn around at the “catwalk” of Eolus due to what appeared to be unconsolidated and sloping snow on the ledges of Eolus. Sunlight was mostly dry and grippy above the gulley. Ended up with just under 45 miles and 13,000ft round trip for the weekend. I brought crampons, microspikes, poles, and an ice axe into the basin with me, but didn't end up using any traction. The poles were helpful for some post-holing at and above Twin Lakes, and I used my axe on Windom for added comfort traversing some short snow slopes towards the top. There was evidence of some sliding on the north face of Windom, so I'd be wary of any further attempts at the crossover from Sunlight with any new snow. Overall, less snow than expected and an excellent weekend alone in the mountains. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-10-05, By: arete66
Info: Snow Thurs (9/30/21?) left it's mark on the high pks above Chicago Basin. Just returned & tracks combined with personal interviews prompt this update. Many have climbed North Eolus and 4 or more made it up Windom (the snowiest of the 4) Sunlight has melted out more and is actually reasonable but the cairns play an outsized role. Eolus seen from N. Eolus looks forbidding but I made it by stitching short sections together. Despite being called aridge route, the route is almost entirely on the left (SE) side of the ridge thus it's less snowy; airy but doable. Thanks to NC Heather and her companions who did the hard work of pounding out a boot pack on Windom. I completed all four wearing low top guide boots with dang good gaitors. 
3
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-08-21, By: coopereitel
Info: Started at 4:00am after the crazy rain the day prior. Up at Twin Lakes we realized it was snowy up on the peaks but decided to go take a look. It was pretty icy and snowy past the saddle and my partners and I weren't feeling it so decided to just bail and come back when it would be more fun of a climb (it looked super cool). Looked like some more parties may have summited, and I bet that the snow won't last very much longer with the nice weather (it may have already melted). I will be back! 
3
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-07-10, By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: No snow from Chicago Basin ~11k' to summit. Early morning was helpful in loose gulley for damper conditions in the gravel/rocks to make it less slippery. Beware on the way down as rocks went rolling if people were above you. No snow in class 3 section. 
2
Route: Chicago Basin Approach
Posted On: 2021-07-09, By: swesleyc7
Info: Confirming: Summer conditions at peak of Sunlight. No snow on trail to Chicago Basin. Minor snow fields located at Twin Lakes. Otherwise, ascent from Twin Lakes to Sunlight summit is entirely free of snow as the summit is getting copious sun. Geographic changes to trail (i.e. rock-fall, etc.) unremarkable. Weather excellent at this time of year with rain likely after noon, as expected. Attached photo shows Twin Lakes, taken from the summit. Climb on! 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2021-06-25, By: Will_Quillman
Info: Summer Conditions on the standard south face route. Did not use traction or gaiters. Class 4 seems a bit overrated on this route, but that is just my opinion. We started from higher up in the basin around 5 am Sunday morning, took us 3 hours to reach the summit and then we headed over to Windom. Submitted a trip report for Windom too. 
5
Route: Purgatory Flats
Posted On: 2020-10-08, By: mickknu16
Info: Bluebird week in Chicago basin! Incredible conditions for October, no traction needed. The winds of Aeolus cleared the smoke out this week for us, but it rolled in this morning thick as we were packing out. Small fire at Purgatory was a big cause. Fall colors are in full swing. Get it while it's clear! Windom is still holding snow in some spots, but all are easily passable. 
3
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-09-15, By: shsdawg58
Info: The Chicago Basin 14ers are open for business. I summited all peaks without traction or ice tools. Go get it! 
1
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-09-15, By: shsdawg58
Info: The Chicago Basin 14ers are open for business. I summited all peaks without traction or ice tools. Go get it! 
2
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-08-24, By: jryor121
Info: Continued from: https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/peakstatus_entry.php?recnum=17888 After coming down Elous's, we made it back to the Twin Lakes by 8:30 AM, and began our slog up to Sunlight's summit. The rocks up the south face are very loose for a good couple hundred feet. I would recommend sticking to the right side of the gulley until just near the saddle, when it's easier to cross on less loose rocks. After getting to the saddle, the rest of the climb was fine. On the descent, stuck to the same side of the face that we went up, making the descent much easier as we continued on towards Windom. https://www.strava.com/activities/3955220004 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-08-22, By: Clint the climber
Info: Sunlight is a great little climb! The summit block is unique, the exposer is overhyped. 
3
Route: West Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-16, By: IsaacD
Info: Climbed all 5 Chicago Basin 14ers. Summer conditions all around. Pro tip: don't leave anything that has sweat on it in the basin between peaks. We left some climbing shoes, helmets, and headlamps down in the basin after our ascent of Sunlight Spire and came back to find helmets and shoes were chewed by marmots. Headlamp and one climbing shoe were completely gone. 
Route: South Face
Posted On: 2020-08-11, By: nathanpt1
Info: Completed all four 14ers around Twin Lakes on standard routes. Beautiful day, wild flowers are out, and the weather held, did experience a short burst of graupel top of Windom. Lost a mens medium black Exofficio rain jacket on Sunlight, i suspect the block over the chimney scrapped it off my pack, please contact me if found. 

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