ApproachThis route starts in Chicago Basin. Chicago Basin is usually approached via the Needle Creek Trail. The Needle Creek trailhead is arrived at via two ways, either riding the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to the Needleton stop, or by hiking 8.75 miles from the Purgatory trailhead on Highway 550. For info about the D & SNG, go to Durangotrain.com.
From the Needleton stop, Cross the Animas River on a well-built bridge and hike south along a trail for about .73 mile to reach the Needle Creek trailhead. From the trailhead follow the trail for about 5.5 miles as it travels alongside Needle Creek up into Chicago Basin.
Route DescriptionThis is the easiest route on any of the Chicago Basin Fourteeners.
Exit the Needle Creek Trail in Chicago Basin and take the trail that climbs up to Twin Lakes. This trail breaks off before the Needle Creek Trail curves to the southeast, crosses Needle Creek, and passes an old mine. Continue on this trail as it climbs its way up to Twin Lakes crossing streams two or three times. Once at Twin Lakes, continue east up into the smaller basin between Sunlight Peak and Windom Peak. Climb up to the saddle between Windom Peak and Peak 18 (13,472). From the saddle, climb east up Windom’s west ridge following the path of least resistance. The going gets a little more difficult after you pass a sort of false summit along the ridge. Near the summit, the class 2+ going gets still a little more complicated. At last you will reach the large, cube-like boulders which compose the summit.