| Winding it up on Mount Wilson
Mount Wilson (14,246') – Dolores County Highpoint
Partner(s): Susan Paul
Trailhead: Woods Lake
Route: Northeast Ridge
Distance: Approx. 14.25 miles
Elevation Gain: Approx. 5,800'
We started from Woods Lake and hiked up to about 11,200 feet in Navajo Basin and pitched camp. I've hiked into the Wilsons via Kilpacker to the south side, Kilpacker to Navajo to the north side, from Bilk Basin for Gladstone, and from Woods Lake, and this is one of the best routes in. Bilk has better waterfalls though. There were many people camped up in the basin this weekend and I figured more than likely we would have some company on Mount Wilson.
The next morning we continued up the talus trail from camp to the start of the northeast ridge of Mount Wilson and arrived just as it started getting light out. From the start of the ridge we were able to follow a trail that heads up the ridge to about 13,100 or so before it becomes more of just following cairns in a jumble of large rocks.
From about 12,800 feet, looking southwest toward Mount Wilson (actual summit is hidden behind ridge).
Another climber that was quickly catching up with us happened to be another 14ers.com member, Spider, who was finishing his final 14er this day so he climbed the rest of the route with us. As the ridge climbed more steeply we stayed left (east) instead of heading west like the cairns went and found the rock much more solid, allowing for more enjoyable scrambling. At around 13,500 feet we started to traverse across the steep rocky slope toward the notch, crossing a couple of horribly loose gullies in route and after reaching a notch in the ridge the rock became much more solid again as we climbed to the upper notch where we rejoined the regular route up Mount Wilson.
Approaching the notch.
Up and over the notch.
From here the summit was just a short distance away and the really fun scrambling began. We took the high route up the airy ridge instead of doing the optional route up the face.
Short traverse toward summit pitch.
Now climb up.
The rock is very solid in this section and soon we arrived on the summit. Congrats on Colorado county highpoint #45 Susan!
Who put this crap on the register?
"South Wilson" (14,110')
"West Wilson" (14,100') and El Diente.
Looking northwest at Point 13,123 (left) and Point 13,498 (right).
Looking north Point 13,498 (left) and Point 13,540.
Looking northeast at Wilson Peak.
Looking northeast at Gladstone Peak.
Now go down.
Lovin' the rock.
Ahh… Lizard Head.
We lounged for a while on the summit enjoying the wonderful weather before we departed and started heading over to "West Wilson," however shortly before getting all the way there we turned around due to the weather starting to deteriorate.
Starting the traverse over to "West Wilson".
You need to be on the north side
So "West Wilson" and "South Wilson" will have to wait for another day, as we are working on the 75 list. Maybe a snow climb would be best.
Weather still looks good.
Bye-bye Mount Wilson.
After returning back to the notch just below the summit we returned via the regular trail if that's what one can call it, as it was much looser than the way we came up, and after getting about ½ way down it started to graupel and rain on us for a bit. Near the bottom of the ridge we met three climbers heading up which I thought was kind of strange considering the late hour; hopefully they made it up and back down safely. Arriving at camp tired we decided to take a nice nap since we weren't packing out until the next day.
Reflecting back on a great weekend in the Wilsons!
The next day we enjoyed a leisurely backpack out to Woods Lake before heading on home. We stopped in Montrose at Rib City Grill for some sweet tea, fresh salad and spicy barbeque, and we split a big slice of pecan pie with whipped cream on it. It was delicious and a really good way to end the weekend.
What a great weekend and it was great climbing with you again and look forward to the next time!!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):