Peak(s):  Mt. Eolus  -  14,087 feet
North Eolus  -  14,042 feet
Sunlight Peak  -  14,061 feet
Windom Peak  -  14,089 feet
Jupiter Mountain  -  13,830 feet
Pigeon Peak  -  13,972 feet
Turret Peak A  -  13,835 feet
Date Posted:  10/13/2020
Date Climbed:   09/26/2020
Author:  geojed
 MagnifiCENT Seven Of the Needle Mountains: 3 Days in Paradise!   

Colorado's version of the Trango Towers? Jaw dropping views in Ruby Basin

7 Peaks Climbed: 4 14ers & 3 13ers w/ NO Goat sightings!

Listed in Order Climbed:

Saturday: Jupiter Mtn - 13,830', Windom Peak - 14,087', Sunlight Peak - 14,059'

Sunday: North Eolus - 14,039, Mt Eolus - 14,083'

Monday: Turret Peak - 13,835', Pigeon Peak - 13,972'

Stats: 52.7mi, 22,228' elevation gain/loss

I've been working on the highest 100 peaks (aka Centennials) in Colorado and the largest concentrated group of peaks I had left to climb were in the Chicago Basin area near Durango/Silverton. So after work I drove down to Purgatory TH and camped at the TH.

Saturday: Hiked in 16mi into Upper Needle Creek and set up camp, then left camp at 1pm and climbed 13,830' Jupiter Mtn, descended the Europa Couloir and traversed to 14,087' Windom Pk, then descended Windom Pk's N Face and traversed to 14,059' Sunlight Pk. Then returned to camp. Only saw 2 people all day! The goats in this area can be a nuisance, will surround your camp from the minute you arrive and will even eat ANYTHING you pee on. But I didn't see ANY goats the entire trip and only one marmot.

Early Morning Views in Animas Canyon

Chicago Basin

Old Mine near camp on way up Jupiter Mtn

View from Jupiter Mtn to Windom and Sunlight

Eolus above Twin Lakes

View from Windom to Sunlight

Looking back at Jupiter Mtn from Wiindom. I came down the Europe Couloir

Me with Sunlight's Summit Block. The hyped scramble was no big deal after the scrambling I'd already done.

Sunlight Spire, Windom and Jupiter Mtn from Sunlight Peak's summit

Awesome views west towards Eolus and Turret and Pigeon from Sunlight Peak

Looking north from sunlight. Trinities are looking good

Evening light

Caption Here

Sunday: I packed up camp and hiked up to Twin Lakes, hung my pack on a rock and then climbed up 14,039' N. Eolus and 14,083; Mt Eolus. Saw two people on the summit and one other guy as I descended. Then I got my backpack and headed up to Twin Thumbs Pass where I traversed across the upper wall of No Name Basin to Ruby Pass and descended down into Ruby Basin admiring the jaw dropping views. Camped in the meadow below Pigeon and Turret Pk. The Sun set behind Pigeon Pk around 5pm! It was a cold and windy night.

Morning light from camp

Beautiful morning with CLEAR skies as I head up to Twin Lakes. Cold front blew out all the smoke and haze!

Looking up towards Eolus

Windom and Jupiter on way up Eolus

Looking east on way up Eolus. Sunlight, Windom and Jupiter visible

Looking north from North Eolus

Jagged Mtn, Sunlight, Windom from North Eolus

Awesomely rugged views of Turret and Pigeon Peaks from North Eolus


Eolus from North Eolus


Jagged Mtn, RGP and Sunlight Peak from North Eolus



Eolus from North Eolus


Fun catwalk to Eolus


Hero shot on Eolus


View to Ruby pass across Upper No Name Basin


Small lake in upper Ruby Basin with Turret and Pigeon behind


Jaw dropping ruggedness in Ruby Basin


More Turret and Pigeon Pk as I neared camp


Looking back up towards Ruby Pass in the evening

Monday: Packed up camp and climbed the steep slopes up to the 13,100' saddle between 13,835' Turret and 13,972' Pigeon Pk. Dropped my pack here and hung it off a rock and then quickly scrambled up Turret Pk. Then came down, picked up my pack and traversed around to the SW side of Pigeon Pk. Left my pack there and climbed the 1600' up Pigeon's VERY steep slopes. The last 100' to the summit was some precarious scrambling due to wanting to avoid the snow. A couple of Class 4/Low Class 5 moves were necessary to get up two small steps. Enjoyed the summit and then headed back down to my backpack. Headed down the ridge between N Pigeon Crk and Ruby Crk until I hit the Ruby Crk trail. Followed that down to Animas River and cruised back to the Purgatory TH arriving at 7:30pm. Then drove back home arriving at 2AM and had to get up at 5:30am for work!


Morning glow on Pigeon Peak above camp. It was a cold and windy night!


Pigeon Peak from Turret's Summit


Me and Pigeon


Eolus and North Eolus from Turret Peak


Pigeon Peak's rugged south face


Chicago Basin peaks and Turret Peak from Pigeon's summit


Upper difficulties to reach Pigeon Peak's summit. Stayed left, encountered mostly Class 4 with 2 Class 5 steps to avoid the snow


Pigeon and Turret above Animas Canyon


Train bridge across the Animas River


Last view of Pigeon and Turret on the hike out


Amazing Fall colors above Purgatory Flats looking towards the West Needle Mtns

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 51

Comments or Questions
10/13/2020 20:54
Awesome trip and report!! Amazing pics too!! Seems like a really great loop route to get all of those peaks!! Don't believe I would ever have the strength and stamina to do that, but enjoyed just reading it and imagining it!!

What PV said...
10/14/2020 08:25
Great, great report, Jed. It's been way too long since we've seen a TR from you - please keep them coming.

Excellent report
10/15/2020 14:45
What a great report with wonderful photographs.
That Ruby basin sure is beautiful.

Boggy B
10/15/2020 18:51
I guess they isolate themselves before the rut. Either that or the hundreds that apparently depend on campers in Chicago Basin for survival perished for lack of "resources" this summer.
Somehow you manage to have the exact same facial expression in every photo.
Nice work on a big trip!

10/16/2020 05:47
Ever heard of these brainiacs? It doesn't matter how many years pass, if they've seen your face before they will be able to recall it. I'm not that creepy but you have the same expression selfie whether helmeted or not and I'm sure I recognized you in summer of 2014 hiking down the grazing elk trail in Ken Caryl with your boys as I was MTBing down and back in my jackass days you moved out of the way for me when you should have thrown rocks. Anyhow, welcome back and even though we've never met we share the same adrenaline cardio junkie genes and have done similar things with the A team. I bet if we had run into you anywhere in Chicago Basin my super-recognizer would've kicked in. Keep kicking ass!

10/18/2020 20:26
Man, after a trip like this one needs a vacation! Arriving home at 2 am and going to wrok at 5.30 am - that's determination! What would one not do to climb mountians? Beutiful report. Congrats on an awesome trip! Where did you encounter the hardest climbing, high on Pigeon?

Great Trip Report
10/25/2020 22:18
Glad seeing the quality post from you, Jed. Thanks for doing this.

Looking forward to many more. Keep it up

   Not registered?

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.

Please respect private property: supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.

© 2022®, 14ers Inc.