| Mount Wilson - Standard Route
I had plans to do the Wilson Group, but was looking for a partner. Fortunately, I got in touch with Dave Keep the day before I left using 14ers.com. We agreed to meet up at Navajo Lakes around 8pm. The hike in took a little under 3 hours and it was a great trail. I set up camp just West of the lake in the trees and it was a great spot. However, after our hike I found some even better spots a little further up the basin in the trees. I would recommend these to any future hikers.
Camp at Navajo Lakes
We made our introductions at 8pm and I learned that Dave was out from New York for about six weeks and he was trying to complete all of the Class 4 routes. We agreed to do Mount Wilson the following day and if possible, I would do the traverse to El Diente or Wilson Peak on my own.
We left camp at about 5:00am and headed up the basin on a strong trail. Aside from the talus/scree that made up the trail, it was a breeze. Once we reached the Upper Navajo Basin our objective was clear. We spotted a tall pole where the trail to Wilson Peak and Mount Wilson split and we began heading up the rounded shoulder toward Mount Wilson.
The route up Mount Wilson from the Rock of Ages saddle
There was some careful route finding, but the cairns are all there. We worked our way up toward the ridge, following cairns over steep talus. There were a few big loose rocks, but care and purposeful route finding overcame these.
Dave Keep takes a break at about 13,200
We got slightly off route a couple times and had to cross two small snow gullies about 15 feet wide. We had crampons and ice axe, but they were not necessary. Therefore, if your headed up Mount Wilson, leave them at home (Good News!). After traversing below the ridge, we found a strong trail that led to the notch.
Dave Keep scrambles toward the notch
From here, the route to the summit is obvious, up and along the ridge. Although I had led the whole route up until this point, I passed the torch to Dave to savor the last climbing and the summit. The climbing was on great rock and it was a fun climb to a wonderful summit. After recently being on Capitol, I would say that it was easier.
Old Ickabod on the summit of Mount Wilson
The traverse to El Diente looked like a lot of fun and there were only a couple clouds building to the West. However, we agreed that since Dave didn't want to do the traverse, it would be best to stick together for the downclimb. Anyone needing some company for the traverse let me know! I‘d be happy to help with the descent off Mount Wilson.
The traverse from Mount Wilson to El Diente
Dave chose to head down rather quickly and I enjoyed the summit for a few more moments. It was one of the best summits I've been on.
Dave Keep begins the descent from Mount Wilson's summit
I caught up to Dave at the Notch and our downclimbing was a bit slow. However, we were able to easily avoid all our snow by finding the cairns we missed on the way up. By the time we got to the Upper Basin, the sky was dark and I was glad that I hadn't done the traverse solo. By the time we returned to camp at 1pm, it was already raining and thundering. Dave headed out and the rain on my tent put me to sleep. My advice to anyone headed up there is to get an early start and carefully evaluate the weather before heading to a second peak.
Thanks to Dave for a great climb and plenty of compliments on route finding. I would hike with him again anytime. I did have a couple better vertical pics of the final crux that somehow turned into file errors on my camera, so sorry. Nevertheless, once your up there, you'll see that it's good to go!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):