I’ve spent the day checking and re-checking gear. The Osprey is finally packed – and a couple pounds lighter than when I left Houston. The gang is assembling in Durango this evening. On saturday morning at 9am the six of us (Alan Arnette, Robert LeClair, Patrick Vall, Anne Martin, and Kevin Martin) will board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train. The train will take us to the middle of nowhere and drop us off so that we can begin the over 6 mile hike up 3,000 feet to the Chicago Basin. There we will make camp and prepare to attempt Windom, Eolus, and Sunlight.

If you want to follow the climbs live you’ll have to get up early. We’ll be leaving in two teams each day. I’ll be in the first team and it will likely depart camp around 3-4am each morning. The first attempt will be Mt. Eolus on Sunday morning followed by Windom Peak and Sunlight Peak on Monday. For more details on the routes we’ll take and images of the mountains we hope to climb check out my earlier post.

I’ll be carrying a Spot Satellite Messenger on the trip since we will be far beyond cell phone range. To follow the climbs live just click on the “Track John” button to the right. I will also use my Spot to send status updates to Twitter and Facebook. Alan Arnette will also be carrying a Spot and his updates can be found here. Don’t miss his blog post about this trip either.

Before I go I want to thank the many friends, family, co-workers, and members of the online climbing community (from around the world) who have offered their support and advice. My nervous but incredibly supportive girlfriend deserves special mention. This has been a long and difficult (but extremely rewarding) process and my support network has helped tremendously. Summits aren’t guaranteed but just being in position to attempt them with great friends in one of the most beautiful spots on earth is reward enough.

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