Peak(s):  Blanca Peak  -  14,350 feet
Ellingwood Point  -  14,057 feet
"Obstruction Peak"  -  13,799 feet
Columbia Point  -  13,980 feet
Kit Carson Peak  -  14,167 feet
Challenger Point  -  14,086 feet
Chicago Basin - 14000
Mt. Sneffels  -  14,155 feet
El Diente to Mt Wilson - 14000
Date Posted:  10/05/2015
Modified:  10/22/2016
Date Climbed:   09/24/2015
Author:  WillRobnett
Additional Members:   dereks95
 Finished The Andrew 58!!   

Finished the 14ers!!!

Great trip in southern Colorado with my friend Derek Rutledge. Texted for a week deciding the approach with eleven to go. We were psyched! Starting in the Sangre de Cristo and finishing San Juans.

The Plan:

9/18 Day 1 - Blanca > Ellingwood
9/19 Day 2 - Obstruction Pk > Columbia Point > Kit Carson > Challenger Point > Columbia Point > Obstruction Pk
9/20 Day 3 - Sneffels
9/21 Day 4 - 6 miles into Chicago Basin and set up camp
9/22 Day 5 - N. Eolus > Eolus > Sunlight > Windom
9/23 Day 6 - Hike out of Chicago Basin
9/24 Day 7 - El Diente > Mt. Wilson to finish

The route for Kit Carson and Challenger crossed two 13ers not including same day repeats. Everything went according to plan with just a few changes. Day 2 we skipped Obstruction Peak heading back to South Colony Lakes; descended a gully in front of the Crestones. The timing for Chicago Basin and Sneffels was changed due to weather.

13 Peaks in 7 Days:

Day 1: Blanca and Ellingwood.

Starting from Lake Como Road

3:30AM and 3 hours sleep. Off to a great start and no bears on the trail Stayed on the traverse as much as possible Blanca > Ellingwood. Definitely cliffed-out on the ridge, closer to the Ellingwood side. Derek and I planned to met up at end of Day 1, I was solo.

Day 2: Met up with Derek, Obstruction Peak, Columbia Point, Kit Carson, and Challenger.

Started at the 4WD South Colony Lakes Trailhead. Windy day! Obstruction Pk was a breeze compared to the 13,200+ ridge west of Humboldt. Columbia Point and Kitty Kat Carson were straight forward. Columbia Point to Kit Carson was the highlight. Class 4 and a Leap of Faith, although you could keep it to more mellow Class 3+.

First crossing at the Leap-of-Faith

We went for the knife edge and and steep terrain. Saddle between Columbia Point and Kit Carson had good options for quick technical, just above the O.B. Couloir. Standard route for Kit Carson > Challenger.

Columbia Point was in the route heading back. To save time, we descended in front of the Crestones instead of regaining Obstruction Pk.

End of the day, looking for a gully exit in front of the Crestones

Found the right one, would be nice couloir climb in the spring

Looking back, center gully

Day 3: Weather reports are changing quick.. Go for Chicago Basin!

Derek and I left South Colony Lakes at the end of day 2, heading for Salida. We could see a good chance for snow on the day we were climbing in the basin. We changed our Silverton-Needleton train dates and made camp 6 miles in that day.

Day 4: Eolus, North Eolus, Sunlight, Windom.

Quickly made it to the summit of North Eolus. When we got there another climber was waving in the distance from Mt Eolus. Derek and I meet up with him on the ridge connecting. Started a good conversation and heard that he was working on a 3rd or 4th round on the 14ers. The climber was EagleEye, Mike. He's posted condition reports over the years. I knew his screen name. We switched peaks climbing Eolus and stayed direct on the ridge. At the top we could see Eagle Eye on N. Eolus and waived back to each other.. Went for Sunlight and Windom. As luck would have it, the weather was perfect. Climbed all four.

Derek on the upper ridge of Mt Eolus.


Day 5: Hiked out and spent the afternoon in Silverton.

The weather hit and covered high elevations with a fresh layer of snow. Derek and I watched wondering about the outcome of our trip. We stayed in Silverton that afternoon and got ready for the next day.


Day 6: Sneffels.

We didn't know how much snow would be hiding on the climb. Yankee Boy Basin was dry from the trailhead, but upper Silverton was covered the night before. Two extremes not so far away... Climbing Sneffels we kept looking back at the fresh snow on north aspects in the far distance. Made it to the summit snow free and glad we changed plans. Mt Wilson and El Diente were so close in the distance, we could feel the victory. We knew the traverse would be a good challenge with hidden snow on the north face. Climbing Sneffels we talked about goals after finishing the 14ers. Probably the same conversation most people have.

Not sure what was going on here.. Sneffels

Day 7: El Diente-to-Mt Wilson Traverse, One of the Classics.

Approaching El Diente we met up with an AMGA group as they were hiking in for a course, American Mountain Guides Associations. Was good to see them. I've taken AMGA classes years ago and want to keep going. This was part of the conversation on Sneffels. Also in Chicago Basin looking up from Twin Lakes. Thinking about it all day. Climbing El Diente went pretty quick from Kilpacker even with exposed hardpack/snow on the north side just before summit. From El Diente we descended the ridge instead of contouring below. Most of the traverse staying on the ridge.

Ridge climbing off El Diente

After West Wilson

In the traverse

Summit of Mt Wilson, 58/58

Finished the 14ers on Mt Wilson, 13 peaks. Derek has 9 to go after the trip. He's climbed the Adirondacks, Rainier, international, a number of California 14ers, attempted Denali, and used to be a pilot Active Duty in the Air Force. Derek and I went for a similar goal in May of this year. Winter storms and wet slides pushed our trip back until now. A lot of time in avy terrain scouting for an early season window. Glad to finally complete the project. I found the mountains first in Europe. I joined up at 17 years old the Saturday after 9/11/01. Active Duty and stationed in Germany. Backpacked the Alps, different country every weekend. Equally amazing as climbing 13ers and 14ers in Colorado now.

The checklist has all 58 named and recognized on USGS maps. North Maroon was certainly a good one to count. 14014 feet, one of the hardest 14ers, and known as one the most photographed mountains in Colorado. Technically unranked because of proximity to South Maroon. It's the Maroon Bells!! One of the peaks that should be climbed to know the Colorado 14ers. El Diente to Mt Wilson Traverse.. also one of the classics in the 58.

First 14er was in April of 2012. Solo on Elbert I turn back due to weather. Went back for it the next weekend solo. Near the summit I met a friend that I still hike with quite a bit today, Kim Siedlaczek. She's been a glacier guide in British Columbia, climbed the 14ers, international, Pacific Coast Trail this summer, and always makes you laugh. The first year climbed 7 peaks, 14 the second, and 65 summits in the last year and a half in Colorado. So many friends along the way. So grateful for everyone who helped me reach my goal! Definitely want to keep going. It's been a lot fun. Always about the experience.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Comments or Questions
58 indeed
10/05/2015 18:59
Very nice report, impressive. Really like (photo) image number 1. Let me also state: I appreciate your service to our country.
Happy climbing, be safe.

Eagle Eye
well done
10/07/2015 11:38
It was nice to meet you guys on Eolus. That’s an impressive trip and I’m glad to hear it all came together.

The Grand Slam!
10/08/2015 18:23
Congratulations on your achievement! It was certainly an ambitious goal to finish this way. What an accomplishment! Lots more mountains to be climbed!

10/11/2015 21:16
Nice work Will! Congrats on finishing all the 14ers, that’s quite an achievement.

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