I left camp around 6:30, later than I had intended– my phone ran out of batteries and the alarm never went off.
The sky was clear, the air chilled, and I made the same approach to Twin Lakes as I had done the previous morning.
Looking across the valley from the approach.
The sun rising over Sunlight.
Once up to the lakes, you take a right, and climb the steep embankment, following large piled cairns.
Looking back towards Twin Lakes.
I continued up the basin, planning to snag Sunlight first, then traverse around the basin(not descending) over to the shoulder of Windom- I’d read about it in Gerry Roach’s 14ers book.
Goats made it look easy, but it was very gravely and loose.
The steep climb to the saddle between Sunlight and Sunlight Spire was gravely and loose,but had an amazing view.
Looking over the backside of the saddle.
The scramble to the summit, was very blocky and solid, with some neat features, like the “window”, and the final summit block, known for the deadly drop off.
The final scramble!
Looking across at Windom.
Looking at Vestal and Arrow from the summit.
Final summit of Sunlight! 14, 059′ and #16 on the #30by30.
After summiting- I had a quick snack, and made my way down the steep slope, and took a shortcut around the basin towards the saddle of Windom. I left the trail around 13,400′ and was able to quickly traverse the basin, with two other people in tow- they seemed inexperienced, and I warned them not to follow me and to follow the trail, but they didn’t listen.
Looking across the basin at Sunlight and Sunlight Spire.
I made my way across the basin, then followed the class 2+ ridge to the summit of Windom 14,082 and #17 in the #30by30!
Summit of Windom 14,082 #17 #30by30!
I enjoyed the summit of Windom, I complete the 4 14ers that lay in Chicago Basin- and I carefully made my way back to Twin Lakes to have lunch.
I met an interesting woman sitting at the lake who was pregnant, and waiting for her husband to come back from the peaks. We had a great conversation during the few hours I sat down there relaxing.
On my hike down, I had made the decision to skip Jupiter, which can be approached through that basin, I was feeling very beaten up and exhausted. What I did next didn’t really make much sense– I packed up all my gear and decided- due to my exhaustion, I would hike the 7 miles out from the basin and catch the train back a day early.
I packed everything up, and figured I’d camp somewhere on the way back to the train stop, I didn’t want to miss the train.
I managed to make it to the Wilderness area boundary- a half mile or so from the train- It was getting very dark, and I was starving. I set up my tent and made some ramen- then hung-up my food, and crawled into my tent then crashed out.
I was woken up three times throughout the night- at 11- by a mouse climbing outside mesh on my tent- I bat it off of the wall, again at 3 by a pack of coyotes surrounding my camp yelping, and again at 5 by the damn mouse climbing the tent again. Quite eventful.
I made it safely back to the train stop around 7:30 AM– and read my book and ate breakfast, and watched the sun come up over the surrounding cliffs.
Relaxing waiting for the train
It was really strange to be around so many people, I had seen a few different groups throughout my trip, however I spent the majority of my time alone. I had purposefully camped away from the masses, I wanted some space to think.
While sitting near the bridge, I began to think about what I wanted to eat, I had made my decision rather than drive back to Denver right away, to drive south to Durango!
After I had caught the train back to Silverton, I got into my truck- and made my way down from Silverton to Durango- and ate at Carver Brewing Company.
After hike Meal. Yummy saison!
I chatted with a man from Toronto that had just finished the Colorado trail, then at 5:30PM- I got back in my truck and began to drive towards Denver- figuring I probably wouldn’t make it.
I had finally made it to the summit of Kenosha Pass when I absolutely HAD to stop and sleep- so hopped into the bed of the truck, and went to sleep- in between the semi’s driving over the pass, I napped.
At 5AM, I finally made my way back to Denver, and showered. 6 days without a shower is not fun.
This trip was probably one the most amazing things I’d done, I usually go with at least one other person, but having to rely on yourself is a really important thing to learn. I have been honing that skill for the last four years, and after this trip I’ve gained a lot more confidence.
And I’m that much closer to the #30by30.