Patrick Lilly, DNS
Matt Mahoney, DNS
DNS means Did Not Summit. I had the brilliant idea of a training run for
Hardrock (in 8 days, not to mention the Leadville marathon in 2 days) by day
hiking 3 of Colorado's most remote 14ers, Eolus, Sunlight, and Windom.
Normally these are accessed by the Silverton-Durango railroad with an
overnight camp, but I hate backpacks. From the nearest road, it is 36 miles
and 10,000 ft. climb.
Patrick joined me, figuring it's a good way to climb some of the harder 14ers
(class 3-4) having done nothing over class 2. The weather forecast was
perfect, sunny and dry, which would allow for an early morning start and
summits in the afternoon with no storms, but Patrick had places to be, so we
started 9:20 PM Wed. from the Purgatory trailhead. We made a good pace
initially, reaching the Needle Creek trailhead (11 miles, where the train
normally stops) at 12:45 AM and Chicago Basin at 3:00 AM. But we didn't count
on so much snow, and we could not climb the last 30 feet of snow to the ridge
on Eolus without ice axes (which we never needed before), so at 7:00 AM we
turned around, then abandoned Sunlight and Windom where the snow looked just
Our speed and mood deteriorated on the way back. We were in no mood for
running, downhill or otherwise. Here we are surrounded by beautiful
wilderness and all we can think of is pain, fatigue and suffering. "Lets see,
5 more miles at 1 MPH is how many hours?" "I'm too tired to do math." We met
a few backpackers along the way and tried to explain what we were doing
without looking like idiots, but we weren't very successful. One guy
mentioned he was returning from climbing Windom without an axe.
We (non)finished at 2:44 PM Thurs. As I write this I haven't slept since 2
nights ago. Time to find a campsite.
-- Matt Mahoney, matmahoney@...