West Ridge

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.62720°N / 107.5953°W
Additional Information Route Type: Scramble
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: 4th Class
Sign the Climber's Log


The easiest approach is described on the main Sunlight page. From your camp in Chicago Basin proceed up the steep trail to Twin Lakes. From Twin Lakes you can see all the 14ers in the area. As Sunlight's West Ridge heads west, it drops to a saddle before rising into Needle Ridge. The approach to the climb leads to this notch.

Follow the trail around the south side of the lakes until it turns east up the steep bluffs towards the higher basin in between Sunlight and Windom. Continue on the trail until you are nearly directly south of the notch and then make an easy traverse over to the base of the talus slope that drops from the saddle. Climb up this rather unpleasant slope to the base of the West Ridge where you have a tremendous view north of the Grenadiers and Noname Creek.

Route Description

A direct start to the route is certainly fifth class, but by heading up a ramp that leads towards the northern side of the ridge the major difficulties can be avoided. The ground here is steep and fairly exposed, but by good routefinding the climbing can be kept to fourth class as you head up towards the crest of the ridge. Once on top the major difficulties are over. A lot of the rest of the ridge is second class interspersed with short third or fourth class sections. The final fourth class section is an absolutely enjoyable scramble up a wall that Roach refers to in the 14er guide as "primal". After this is a simple traverse to the keyhole and the finish of the standard route.

Essential Gear

The route will be snow covered for a significant portion of the year, and in such conditions would most likely be considerably harder but still doable. A helmet is recommended because of the possibility of loose rock, although the route is pretty solid for the most part. If you are uncomfortable on 4th class rock then a light rack and rope are appropriate. A skilled party should have no trouble doing the route in a few hours from Chicago Basin.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.