ElevationAscent: 5,901' 1,799 m
Descent: -5,901' -1,799 m
High: 13,943' 4,250 m
Low: 8,197' 2,498 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 53% (28°)
Current trail conditions
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Add details to help others plan their adventure.
“Steep hiking and fun scrambling up neighboring Chicago Basin 14ers.”— Tyler Prince
Turn right up the ramp and hike up some loose rocks. This area is often wet. Come to a ridge on the ramp and turn left, scrambling just a few hundred feet on class 2+ rock to a notch between North Eolus and Eolus. North Eolus is to the right and is much easier and less involved. Simply scramble up easy class 3 rocks - incredibly solid and with minimal route finding required - for about a hundred feet before the terrain flattens out. Hike toward the obvious summit, only about 10-15 mins from the notch. Come back down to the notch to go for Eolus.
Eolus is a fair deal harder and more imposing. First you must cross a fairly narrow section called the "Catwalk." It's about 200 ft of solid and flat rock, 10 ft wide or so, with moderate exposure on either side. While virtually idiot-proof, it somehow manages to freak out even experienced hikers. Once across the catwalk, it's about 300 vertical ft to the summit. There are several options here. Whatever you do, don't go to the right of the ridge: this will involve class 4+ climbing on loose, exposed rock. Hikeers more comfortable with exposure and technical moves may opt to stick to ridge proper. This provides a class 4 scramble on fairly solid rock with easy route finding. There are many spots with hundreds of feet of exposure, though, so it's not for everyone.
The standard route involves staying far left of ridge proper and winding up the ledges to the left (east) of the ridge. To do this, follow grassy ledges up and to the south. There's no clear trail here, only some cairns, many of which are in places they have no business being, so exercise caution. Simply put, this route involves class 3 scrambling on boulders loosely embedded in the grass, and the route is dependent on getting cliffed out. Scramble up the rocks/grass until you get stuck, reconsider, and find another way. This continues until just a few dozen feet below the summit, after which it's more solid class 3 scrambling at a slightly steeper grade. Overall, this way's sketchy and not a ton of fun, so ridge proper is an excellent alternative for those more comfortable with exposure and technical rock.
From the summit, descend back to the Twin Lakes Approach and head back down into the basin and back to camp, or continue for the Chicago Basin 14er Grand Slam via Sunlight and Windom should weather, time, and energy levels permit.
Land Manager: USFS - San Juan National Forest Office
Apr 7, 2019: McPhee Overlook Trail opens to May Canyon mid-April
Mar 31, 2019: McPhee Boat Ramp to open on April 13th