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Chicago Basin 14er Grand Slam

Very Difficult

Trail

28.9 mile 46.5 kilometer out and back
Very Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 12,167' 3,708 m
Descent: -12,167' -3,708 m
High: 13,935' 4,247 m
Low: 8,198' 2,499 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 16% (9°)
Max Grade: 68% (34°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Map Key

Trail shared by Tyler Prince

An epic day covering all four of Chicago Basin's challenging 14ers.

Tyler Prince

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

This hike must be accessed via the Chicago Basin Trail, which is in turn accessed either by train (summer only) or by a long hike in (Animas River Trail).

While portions of this hike can easily be explored by fit dogs, the peaks above it are generally too technical for them.

Camping high in the basin is generally frowned upon. See Twin Lakes Approach for further information; camping along the end of Chicago Basin Trail is preferred.

Overview

This truly epic hike summits all four Chicago Basin 14ers in one fell swoop. While seemingly short and with surprisingly little vertical, hikers should know that all of these peaks are at least somewhat technical, and this day is sure to exhaust everyone short of Ueli Steck. Starting at camp, it takes hikers up the Twin Lakes Approach, up Sunlight and Windom, back down and over to the Eolus Group, and finally back down Twin Lakes Approach. Between 14er finishers, completing all these mountains in one day is a big deal, and offers some pretty awesome bragging rights.

Need to Know

While similar in distance and elevation gain to many Sawatch 14ers or to 14er quadruple DeCaliBron, this hike is a whole other beast.

Description

This is a hell of a trip. From camp off the Chicago Basin Trail:

Hike up Twin Lakes Approach. From here, it's recommended you summit Sunlight and Windom first, as the rock on Sunlight is slightly more technical and prone to getting slippery. It's easier to escape from the Eolus Group should the weather change later in the day.

So, hike Sunlight and Windom. Come back down to the Twin Lakes and hike the Eolus Group. From here, all that's left is a descent back down Twin Lakes Approach.

Flora & Fauna

From world class alpine views and vegetation to unique alpine critters, Chicago Basin's got it all. Wildflowers down low are stunning. Marmots and pika are everywhere, and mountain goats love it up high, especially near Twin Lakes.

Contacts

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Check-Ins

Jan 17, 2010
Jacek Czyz
Start Needleton 1pm Jan15 after approach from Cascade Creek Railroad station. 1-st bivi New York Creek bridge, 2-nd ChicagoB. Did 4x14 solo in 15.5h. — 73h 00m

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 5 votes

#503

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  5.0 from 5 votes
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in Colorado

#503

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Photos

Sunrise from Windom Peak.
May 3, 2017 near Silverton, CO
Sunlight Spire and Windom Peak from Sunlight Peak. The last day of good weather.
Aug 3, 2018 near Silverton, CO
Be careful on the loose, rocky terrain on Windom Peak's alternate route, the connector with Sunlight Peak.
Apr 23, 2015 near Silverton, CO
Hikers stroll into camp with Chicago Basin's Needle Mountains in the background. You wanna go here now, don't you?  Chicago Basin Trail
Apr 23, 2015 near Silverton, CO
A hiker navigates the bizarre chimney just below Sunlight Peak's summit.
Apr 23, 2015 near Silverton, CO
A view from above.
Apr 22, 2015 near Silverton, CO

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