Three Generations on Windom

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 2, 2006
Activities Activities: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer

The Plan

Luckily, I had five days off work over the 4th of July for a trip with my four year old Kessler. My 62 year old father wanted to come along too, which made this a three generation trip and the spread between the oldest and youngest climbers was a difference of 58 years!

Chicago Basin was chosen since my father had climbed mountains in most western states, but not Colorado. Chicago Basin is said to have some of the best scenery in Colorado, so it seemed like a logical choice. Also, the mountains are more in tune with the other mountains my family was used to in other states, meaning that you would have to backpack to reach the higher summit, rather than the drive up and walk a few hours theme of some of the other 14ers. Mount Windom, along with Sunlight, is the most isolated of the 14,000 foot peaks in the entire state of Colorado. The train ride to Needleton would be an added bonus as well.

After picking up my father at the Grand Junction train station, we were off to the mountains!

Needle RidgeNeedle Ridge in Chicago Basin.

June 30, 2006

Since the train didn’t leave until almost three in the afternoon, we hiked up Anvil Mountain near Silverton. We had to stop before the summit, but had some nice inspiring views.

Kessler was so excited to ride the train that it was all he talked about the whole hike. Finally, it was time to go.

The Silverton Narrow Gage Railway is a nice way to start a climb. Being dropped off in the mountains by an 1880’s steam engine is a thrilling experience for people of all ages, and there is some nice scenery along the way.

Durango Silverton Train

We didn’t reach the trailhead until 4 pm, so we just hiked three miles before camping at 9400 feet. There was a nice and hidden section of waterfalls just below and out of sight of the trail.

July 1, 2006

Today was spent hiking to Chicago Basin.

On the trailOn the trail to Chicago Basin.

There were marmots and goats all over the place and none were shy.

Mountain Goats

After reaching Chicago Basin, a thunderstorm hit, so after setting up the tents, we had to wait it out. After the storm cleared, it was too late to climb Jupiter Mountain, so we headed up the trail towards Columbine Pass. Since we waited out the thunderstorm and since it was late in the day, we ran out of time at 12,000 feet, and had to head back to camp.

Trail to Coumbine PassHiking towards Columbine Pass.

July 2, 2006

Today was the big day. We would try and climb Mount Windom, so we got a fairly early start. The weather looked threatening, but then cleared, and clouded up again. We didn’t know what to expect. The trail to Twin Lakes was pretty steep, but Kessler and my father had no trouble on it.

Steep trail to Twin LakesThe steep trail to Twin Lakes.

Twin Lakes has a nice iceberg floating on it, so I couldn’t let Kessler swim, though he wanted to! There were some nice wildflowers around as well.

Twin LakesTwin Lakes

It was now time to start the climb. We had to cross a few snowfields and Kessler said this was the “funnest ever” at least at first.


We somehow got off the standard route, and my father took a different route than Kessler and I. After some rough scrambling off the standard route, we found the correct way just below the Peak 18 saddle.

SaddleAt the saddle.

The ridge above the saddle wasn’t bad, but it did have quite a bit of rough scrambling, and a few short rock pitches, which made it slow going for a four year old. Just below the summit, some climbers flattered Kessler by telling him he was the toughest four year old ever!

Approaching the summitScrambling near the summit.

Boulder hoppingScrambling

The weather held and we found ourselves on the summit of 14,087 foot/4392 meter Mount Windom! The views were fantastic! Kessler said he wanted to climb Sunlight Spire when he is seven, but we will see.

Windom SummitAt the summit!

The trip down was uneventful, but still exciting. A marmot followed us for a good half hour or so. When our back was turned, it would follow us down the mountain, but when we turned around, it would stop and look at us.


The Twin Lakes route is tougher going down than going up, and very slippery. Unfortunately, it hailed which made everything more slippery. We made it down to camp for a well deserved relaxing evening, though it stormed again.

Nameless lake

July 3, 2006

The next morning, the skies still looked too threatening to climb Jupiter Mountain, so we decided to climb up to Columbine Pass (since we didn’t make it two days before).

Columbine Pass

We made it to the pass without any trouble, but we passed up a woman whom was terrified. We also met her at the pass. Apparently, this was her first trip to the mountains, and she was with her fiancé and future father in law. She was very afraid of heights, but the route didn’t seem exposed at all to us. After a few words of comfort, we enjoyed the views from the pass. The only thing you could see for miles around was mountains, followed by more mountains. It was a very scenic place.

After scaling the pass, we climbed back down to our camp, packed up and hit the trail. We hiked back towards Needleton. Kessler would tell everyone we saw along the way that we had climbed Mount Windom and that he was the toughest four year old. We set up camp the same place we did the first night. It was a fairly long ten mile day.

Lower Chicago Basin

July 4, 2006

The hike in the morning was a short three miles. We arrived at Needleton fairly early, and had nothing to do but throw rocks in the creek. Of course, Kessler didn’t complain. The train ride back ended a great trip.


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-8 of 8

Dustiano - Jul 22, 2006 2:49 pm - Voted 10/10

Great family trip!

Haha, Dan the Jones and I climbed Sunlight the week after some of these pics were released on SP. We had to laugh because it was our first 14er and Kessler made it look SOOOO easy. "If a 4 year old can do this..." etc. Kessler proved to be an inspriation to us as we lugged up from Purgatory to Sunlight.


Scott - Jul 24, 2006 7:26 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Great family trip!

Thanks; nice to hear Kessler was an inspiration.


cftbq - Jul 22, 2006 4:15 pm - Hasn't voted

nice report

Interesting that you started your trip one year to the day after Matt Mahoney's and my failed attempt to scale Windom and the other Chicago Basin fourteeners. We ran in overnight from Purgatory, only to be turned back by snow, even though we had dynamite clear weather. Glad you all made it to at least one summit! Thanks for the good pictures.


chicagotransplant - Jul 22, 2006 8:37 pm - Voted 10/10


Congrats again to Kessler on another fine climb! I hope when I have a 4 year old of my own he or she will be as enthusiastic about climbing with me.


Scott - Jul 24, 2006 11:29 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Congrats!

I hope when I have a 4 year old

Just don't let anyone tell you your climing life is over when you have kids! I'm sure in a few years, he'll be dragging me up the mountains!


igneouscarl - Jul 24, 2006 9:03 am - Voted 10/10


You may possibly have the luckiest kid on the planet. Great photo of the marmot!

Serge7 - Jul 16, 2007 12:33 pm - Hasn't voted


What a cool trip, and what a cool son you have. He will be a rock star climber -- and already is.


seth@LOKI - Aug 24, 2012 4:55 pm - Voted 10/10


I'll have to show this to the wife. she's sure Asa will ween out....

Viewing: 1-8 of 8



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.