Route: Southwest to East Couloir
Team: Christy, Ted
Don’t turn down the chance to head into the Weminuche Wilderness, it’s so cool in there. We had both been down there several times by now and Christy wanted to go for the Needle Creek 14ers on skis. Perfect, I thought, because I needed to redo South Eolus, which in 2000 I skied, but only from the top of the East Couloir— which isn’t good enough. Plus, I thought I might be able to improve previous descents on Sunlight and Windom as well.
We stayed in a cheap motel in Durango and got the morning train, it was three hours to Needleton. The three hour hike wasn’t too bad, even with the big packs. The trail was dry almost the entire way up to the usual camp spots high in Chicago Basin. We were totally psyched to be there. The train conductor had actually said it had snowed five feet a few days earlier. A bit embellished perhaps, but there was definitely a lot of snow up high.
The next morning we made quick time up towards Eolus. The sun was warm, and the new snow would need more days to get set up than we had— this would be sloppy. We booted up the East Couloir and then found easy connecting snow on the southwest side of the peak, all the way to the top. I was happy to be able to get the official summit ski completed. It was a gorgeous day.
We skied down to the couloir, and then into the basin where we racked our skis to climb up towards North Eolus, the unofficial 14,000 ft. neighboring peak. As we made our way up, we eventually met two guys trying to traverse the ridge between the two peaks, from north to south, it looked challenging. We followed boot tracks they put in to the summit of North Eolus.
North Eolus is a cool peak with some airiness and views but I have to agree with the established rules that it isn’t really it’s own distinct summit. It feels more like a bump on a ridge. We skied the sloppy spring powder towards Glacier Point.
We summited another bump on a ridge (Glacier Point, 13,704 ft.) and then skied down the back chute to Twin Lakes and back to camp. It was a great day.