Sunlight and Windom
ElevationAscent: 6,235' 1,900 m
Descent: -6,235' -1,900 m
High: 13,924' 4,244 m
Low: 8,197' 2,498 m
GradeAvg Grade: 13% (7°)
Max Grade: 69% (35°)
Current trail conditions
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“A 14er double featuring steep hiking and some fun scrambling.”— Tyler Prince
You should be able to see a saddle between Sunlight Peak and Sunlight Spire, a 13,999 ft tower with a 5.11 trad crack route. Hike up talus and slick rock to a gully leading up to the saddle at 13,700 ft. Traverse loose rocks and gravel in the gully before turning left at the saddle onto solid class 3 rock. When the route's wet, the geology makes for a slippery scramble, so exercise caution. Come out of the gully and up to a well-cairned notch in the rock. From here, head up and to the right, traversing underneath some small cliff bands to your right. When the cliff bands break, hike a few feet down to the left before coming to a steep rock slab about 10-15 ft high to your right. Scramble up this and come to a rock chimney. Pass through the hole in the rock (sorry, claustrophobics), and turn left. From here it's just a short way to the summit. Talus hop to the infamous summit block at 14,000 ft.
This bit is extremely exposed, and a fall would almost certainly prove fatal. Scramble up slabs to your left, traversing to the right. From here, jump forward to the next rock, and then up and to the left. The best way down from here may be to jump from rock to rock. Again, be careful - this is the most exposed move on any Colorado 14er standard route. Many hikers skip the summit block entirely and simply check Sunlight Peak off without ever standing on the summit. Do you want to be one of these people?
From here, descend and traverse over to Windom Peak. Scramble back down the class 3 section of Sunlight, and once about halfway down the talus gully cut across a rock field to hike up the NW face of Windom Peak. The going here is pretty vague, and the rocks are loose. Make sure to push down on rocks to test them rather than simply pulling at them - this will help prevent rockslides. Pick one of many lower gullies, all of which will be steep and rocky. Switchback while low and hike about 200-300 ft up the gully before coming to a larger drainage, after which the rocks are more solid. Continue up some mostly good class 3 scrambles before coming to Windom Peak's summit block.
From here, turn right and follow the well-cairned standard route back down to Twin Lakes. Most of the route is on solid, blocky boulders. Scoot down on class 2+ rock before coming to a trail on the west ridge of the mountain. Follow the trail back to the junction with Sunlight Peak, staying left to head back to the lakes to take Twin Lakes Approach back to camp.
Land Manager: USFS - San Juan National Forest Office