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 Peak(s):  Wilson Peak  -  14,017 feet
 Post Date:  01/16/2012
 Date Climbed:   01/14/2012
 Posted By:  Furthermore

 Winter Wilson from Bilk Basin   


Wilson Peak 14,017


January 14, 2012
~12.5 Miles, 5,200 Gain
Trailhead: Cross Mountain Trailhead (~2 miles south of Lizard Head Pass)


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With such low avalanche conditions and good weather forecasted, a harder San Juan 14er was in order. I met Dwight at the park'n ride at I-70 around 4 PM and we started our long drive. The drive was exciting. In Glenwood Canyon the heater in his truck went out and as we were exiting in Glenwood Springs for dinner, his truck died. The car was steaming and we couldn't get it started: out of radiator fluid. With a short tow, a cool down and a few gallons of anti-freeze purchased, we nervously headed onward towards Grand Junction. We figured when the heat goes out, we will need to add more anti-freeze. The thought of obtaining a rental car in Grand Junction was a possibility but we decided to roll the dice and continue our drive towards Telluride.

Periodically checking the anti-freeze level, we finally arrived at the Cross Mountain Trailhead around 11:45 PM. With a stressful drive, Dwight and I really didn't want to get up for a 4:30 AM start so we decided to start just a bit later around 5:00 AM. In bed by 12:15 AM. With a cold nights sleep and some packing in the morning, we started hiking up the very well boot packed Cross Mountain Trail. Making good time, we arrived at the Lizard Head-Cross Mountain saddle just around sunrise. We didn't need snowshoes until just below the saddle. Once at the saddle, we started down into Bilk Basin skirting Gladstone's east ridge at ~11,400.

Sunrise in Bilk Basin.
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Alpenglow on Gladstone.
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Gladstone Peak.
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Dwight hiking into Bilk Basin. Gladstone Peak in the background.
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Once around the east ridge of Gladstone, we started heading for the southeast face of Wilson Peak. The snow was well consolidated and we decided to take a short rock rib up the southeast face to gain the southwest ridge. Probably not recommended with higher avalanche danger. We stashed our snow shoes and worked our way up the rock rib which was snow covered at times. Higher on the rib, some fun, short class 3 scrambling sections were encountered. The rock wasn't too bad as it was frozen in place but would be a nightmare during the summer.

Sunshine over Lizard Head.
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Heading towards Wilson Peak.
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Climbing towards the rock rib.
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Climbing up to the rock rib.
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Gladstone and Mount Wilson.
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Rock rib.
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Rock rib.
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Rock rib.
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Rock rib.
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Rock rib.
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Wilson Peak.
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We took a short break just below the southwest ridge where I briefly met Sarah and Dominic Meiser as they were starting their descent. After a short break, we continued up the southwest ridge. Things were a little snowy on the northern side of the ridge so we decided to don our crampons for a short down-climb before actually starting up the final snow covered class 3 scramble to the summit. The traverse/ascent on the north side of the ridge wasn't too difficult and within no time we were on the final hundred feet to the summit where we arrived at 11:20 AM.

Just about to gain the southwest ridge.
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Traverse on the northern side of the southwest ridge.
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Traverse on the northern side of the southwest ridge.
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Looking back on the traverse.
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Dwight making the class 3 moves up the gully.
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Out of the class 3 gully.
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Few more moves to the summit ridge.
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Dwight on the summit ridge.
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Dwight near the summit.
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Hero shot.
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The weather was amazing. Warm with no wind. How often does that happen in the middle of winter? We spent close to 20-30 minutes on the summit before starting our careful descent down our ascent route. With a nicely packed trail we enjoyed our return trip to the car where we arrived at 3:45 PM and started our, fortunately, less exciting drive home. A wonderful day in the mountains.

Lizard Head from the summit.
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Summit ridge.
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Dwight making a short climb on our descent.
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Our route.
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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
RJansen77


That picture of Dwight on the descent     2012-01-16 11:00:24
is nuts! Congrats on getting a tough one in good conditions.


geojed


Awesome TR!     2012-01-16 11:02:17
Way to go! Awesome pics and great concise write-up.


dsunwall


good day     2012-01-16 15:10:29
It was great to finally hike with you Derek, even though I had a little trouble keeping up. Fantastic day in the high country. I'll put a little fluid in the reservoir next time, that might help get there with a little less drama.


kushrocks


Dwight is nuts!!!     2012-01-17 14:36:03
But that is also an awesome photo. Great report.


Dancesatmoonrise


Lens cloth?     2012-01-17 21:34:12
Derek, would you please clean your camera lens occasionally, so we can see these GORGEOUS photos without the smudges?

Great report and a kick-ass trip!


dsunwall


late input     2012-01-18 07:05:07
Here are a few photos of Derek. If I'm nuts, so are Derek, Dominic and Sarah.

https://picasaweb.google.com/dlsunwall/WilsonPeak?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMalxr7jyI3GXg&feat=directlink

someday I'll figure out how to post stuff properly here. You might have to cut and paste that link.



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