Sunlight Peak Additions and Corrections

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Will Rietveld - Apr 18, 2003 4:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Untitled Comment

To obtain detailed information for planning a trip to Chicago Basin to climb the three 14-ers there, go to the San Juan Mountains Association website and click on "Chicago Basin Trip Planning". The website address is:


RobSC - Jul 25, 2006 3:03 am - Hasn't voted

Sunlight Spire

With the realization that most Colorado mountains are six feet or so higher than their surveyed heights, Sunlight Spire is likely the hardest 14,000 foot summit in the state to reach. There is very little information on line about climbing it, so I thought that I would say a few words. There are two very good photos of the summit pitch in Robert Rosebrough's "Climbing Colorado's San Juan Mountains" but the description is not detailed.

From about 50 - 100 feet below the Sunlight Spire/Sunlight Peak saddle, there is a largely class 2 ledge system that angles up and right across the south face of the spire to slightly below the summit. From the end of the ledge, it is a single pitch of climbing to the summit:

Drop down slightly, move right, then climb about 35 feet of easy cracks to the summit jam crack. The final crack is about 40 feet in length on a vertical wall, and angles to the left. With a long reach, it might be possible to lean into the crack from a notch about 20 feet up. The rock has large, sharp crystals and if you plan to free climb (5.10) it would be wise to bring tape. The crack protects well with #1 - #2 cams (and stoppers of that size). A single #3 cam is useful, but don't haul in a #4 like I did because it isn't needed. As of June 2006, there were four fixed pieces along the crack including an anchor (with a bolt) at the summit.

The summit is flat and a surprisingly roomy spot to take in the surrounding scenery.

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