If you plan to climb Mount Eolus, you might as well add North Eolus to your plans as well. It only adds about 30 minutes to your trip to climb both peaks, as they’re separated by a small saddle and just a few hundred feet. As a Chicago Basin 14er, it’s hard to reach North Eolus, so it’s best to make your time there worthwhile. Plan your adventure with my North Eolus route guide below.
Climbing North Eolus Fast Facts
14ers Are Dangerous: Safety is Your Responsibility
These awe-inspiring peaks can be unpredictable and dangerous. Help is often hours or days away: your safety is primarily your responsibility. Carefully prepare for your trek, understand your limits, be aware of the risks, and equip yourself with the necessary skills and gear.
We’ve compiled a comprehensive Mountain Safety Guide – but remember, it’s only as effective as its real-world application. Always prioritize your safety over summiting; the mountain isn’t going anywhere. Climb smart, be prepared, and respect the grandeur of nature.
Climbing North Eolus - South Ridge
The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad provides train service to the Needleton flag Stop, which is how most people get to the Chicago Basin. Click here for information and buy tickets – make sure you call them and tell them you’re stopping at the Needleton stop. While you can do this trip without taking the train along the Purgatory Creek Trail, it’s a long backpacking trip only recommended for experienced hikers and backpackers.
The best place to read through a route description for climbing North Eolus is 14ers.com. With photos of the entire route and a lot of detail and extra information, make sure you visit it before your climb.
If you are planning on climbing North Eolus, you will need a dependable topographic map to navigate while in the field. I recommend saving a digital copy on your phone and printing out a backup in case something happens to your electronics. It is also a good idea to bring a compass and a GPS unit or app.
Here are two reliable sources for weather forecasts in the mountains. The first is a link to the Mountain Forecast weather model website.
Below is the full weather forecast from the National Weather Service. I recommend reading through it entirely before climbing North Eolus, with a focus on the temp high and low, precipitation risk, wind speeds, and storms.
If you are taking the railroad, be sure you arrive at the correct station. Double-check your ticket if you are not sure.
DIRECTIONS TO THE RAILROAD PARKING LOTS:
There are a few types of gear you will need while climbing North Eolus if you want to increase your chance of a safe and successful ascent. Here’s what I recommend bringing with you for this fourteener.
- A good pair of hiking boots for 14ers
- The ten essentials for mountain safety.
- A day pack to carry your gear, food, and water.
- Headlamps are helpful for early starts (and late nights).
- Good snacks to keep you fueled
- Trekking poles are optional but highly recommended
- A personal locator beacon might save your life.
Read all of my gear reviews and recommendations by clicking here.
Camping near North Eolus:
There are no organized campgrounds in the Chicago Basin area. However, dispersed camping is available below the lakes in the higher parts of the Basin. Please follow all signage and area closures while selecting a campsite.
Lodging near North Eolus:
- The Bent Elbow Hotel – Silverton
- The Avon – Silverton
- Comfort Inn – Durango
- Purgatory Village Condo Hotel
There are many cabins available via Airbnb and other services in Durango, Silverton, and the surrounding area, ideal for those climbing North Eolus.
North Eolus is located in a pristine wilderness area that faces an increasing number of visitors with each passing year. Help preserve these peaks for future generations by following these Leave No Trace practices while climbing North Eolus.
- Plan ahead, review the route and pick a weekday or day in September to hike.
- Stay on the trail, and keep dogs leashed on and off-trail to reduce trampling of alpine grass.
- Leave your Bluetooth speaker at home and let nature’s sound reign.
- Urinate off-trail, and pack out your waste – a cathole won’t work at high altitude.
- Give wildlife a wide berth – 100 meters if possible. If they approach, back up to keep space.
- Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints.
Safe travels, and good luck climbing North Eolus! Learn more about LNT on 14ers here.
North Eolus is not a ranked peak because it lacks at least 300 feet of prominence. However, it only takes about 20 minutes to climb it if you are already climbing Mount Eolus, so it gets a good amount of attention. Like the main peak, it is named after the Greek God of the Wind. Climbing North Eolus is a great choice for warming up before attempting the larger Mount Eolus nearby.
Hiking Windom Peak is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.
- Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
- Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
- Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
- Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
- Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
- Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.
Hiking Windom Peak is an inherently high-risk, dangerous activity. There is a significant risk of injury or death, even with proper planning and experience. Those using my guide accept all risks associated with climbing 14ers and do not hold this website or any information they obtain from it liable for any accidents or injuries that occur while engaging in these activities on Colorado’s high peaks. It is each hiker or climber’s responsibility to research their route carefully, bring the ten essentials, and practice other safe practices, though even these precautions do not eliminate risk and danger. Visit these summits at your own risk.