The elevation is what makes this so hard. Hopefully we are half as awesome as Baz! We had finished both peaks in pretty good time, notwithstanding my slower movement on the whole, and as we had no other major objectives for the day we opted to do a little exploring. This is about as high up as you can legally camp. If aspens are what you seek, then head north to the Purgatory Trail. The sun sets on the ridge above Haviland Lake one fall evening. Some route finding on the way to the top to Eolus. Gorgeous view, nice walk to the basin, and challenging but not sketchy hike on the 14ers. I'd just been in Colorado on a glorious trip two weeks before this, but the more southern location of the range (even though the peaks are far higher than those we'd be pursuing in the Sawtooth Range) meant an almost entirely snow-free experience and only minimal (if any) logistical issues with overt challenge from stream/river crossings and negotiating extensive deadfall...Now, those who know me know I'm not one to shy away from a good challenge, but the route I planned in Idaho was very challenging under good/normal circumstances, and the area was way outside of normal for this time of year...The plus side of this equation is that I already have a fully-detailed peakbagging-centric trip mapped out in detail for both the Wind River Range and the Sawtooth Range that I plan to use in future years. In my opinion its gonna be months before the snow melts and trails are accessible and even then there are a ton of trees that will still need to be cut and moved off the trail. Dave and I are pretty quick hikers, even under heavy packs we were making good time. We had a GPS route as well as a thorough description from  Gerry Roach’s Colorado 14ers guide book and route finding was still rather difficult. Steep climbs on these trails are few. I opted to continue the blitzkrieg and made a 6 PM 17 mile B-line for Purgatory. I wouldn't even be able to tell you the way my group and I went up. Known for its proximity to three 14ers — 14,059-foot Sunlight Peak, 14,083-foot Mount Eolus and 14,082-foot Windom Peak — Chicago Basin is the perfect base camp for those looking to summit some of the state’s most remote and rugged 14ers. In this valley, you will find several trails that shoot off in different directions. We summitted Windom and saw how crazy the others looked so we went back to base camp in the rain and took a rest day the next day. For that reason, we recommend not attempting to climb unless you have a helmet. If you've never done it, I'm not going to say it isn't exposed and isn't a bit spooky, but it is a little bit hyped. You can walk seven miles to the trailhead via the Purgatory trail, Or you can take the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. I had been thinking a lot this summer about doing this as a dayhike, but didn't even. I just point and push the camera button and get a few good ones but not nearly that many. Peale, UT - 16 -18 Aug. 2017. Great. There were 12 students and 2 teachers, with student experience ranging from basically nothing to climbing at the local indoor climbing gym, to small excursions to places like Devil's Lake (in WI). Click here for more info. Of the 14 of us that started out for the summit, 12 reached the top; the two that didn't summit suffered from altitude sickness or a fear of our height. Some people describe the catwalk as being very exposed, and, in some respects it is, the drop-off to the right (as you head toward Mount Eolus) is severe, while the left side is less-so it's still not a place you'd like to take a tumble off of...Really, much of the ridge is 10 -15 feet across at the crest, so the feeling isn't really exposed - at least in Dave's and my view - but that's a very subjective assessment of things at best. I never doubted the significance of that tatoo on your forearm: USMC! You quickly enter the Weminuche Wilderness (where you will need to fill out a free permit) and forget about the world behind you. The majority of the passengers on the train are just along for the scenic ride. High Uintas Wilderness - Granddaddy Basin, Backpacking the Lost River Range in Idaho : Bear Creek Lake & Upper Basin, Hell's Kitchen Basin - Old Pack Trail post Box Fire, Chicago Basin: Part 2: Sunlight & Windom Peaks, Black Canyon Camp, Mt. Chicago Basin is a small part of the 487,912-acre Weminuche Wilderness within the San Juan National Forest. Haviland Lake and Chris Park are easier than many of the other trails on this list. I couldn't have picked a better partner for this trip. Coming in by trail will lengthen your trip by one or two days each way. If you are planning a trip to the Chicago Basin area during this time, you will have to share your wilderness experience with quite a few other people. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information. We didn't run into the anticipated "hordes of people", but we did see far more than who we'd seen along the way. Lots of deer. Visit the BCP store for more information. Excellent write up and pictures Justin. All of that being said, this was a fun climb and definitely the most exposed of the three mountains. There is one way for this tour to be a reality– our sponsors! From afar the mountain looks daunting but as you get closer, you’ll be amazed that there is, in fact, a path to the summit. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. It’s mostly socked in by trees and after a while, everything starts to look the same. If you’re interested in backpacking, take the Purgatory Trail to Chicago Basin. For the adventurers out there, Purgatory Flats Trail is a great way to access the famed Chicago Basin and its 14,000 foot peaks, especially if you want to avoid taking the train to get there. The trail takes you through aspen groves to a spacious valley known as Purgatory Flats, where the 13,000- and 14,000-foot Needles Mountains tower above. I summited Windom Peak in July of 2009 with a group from my high school. Wouldn't have wanted to go through that first hole! This is an alternative way of getting in to the Chicago basin, without needing to take the train. The Chicago Basin dayhike was a success, and while I was tired I was amazed at how much energy my legs had mustered during the final 15miles or good trail. When he said Sunlight, because of the summit block, this shook me a bit. We ended up packing out some thoughtless hikers poop bags after they decided that they had had enough of carrying their own weight and left their trash on the side of the trail. SJMA has a participating agreement with the San Juan National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Tres Rios Field Office to develop educational programs, publications and volunteer projects, as well as provide interpretive services. This route is considered to be a difficult class 2 climb but after climbing it we consider the rout a class 3.