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Peak(s):  Mt. Wilson  -  14,246 feet
Wilson Peak  -  14,017 feet
El Diente Peak  -  14,159 feet
Mt. Sneffels  -  14,150 feet
Post Date:  07/09/2010
Date Climbed:   07/03/2010
Posted By:  B[3]

 Wildlife watching in the San Juans   

Woods Lake approach to:

Wilson Peak: 7/3 standard (West Ridge)
El Diente and Mt. Wilson: 7/4 traverse (North Slopes route on approach)

Yankee Boy Basin:
Mt. Sneffels: 7/6 Southwest Ridge

The weather report was promising, so we decided to see how many peaks we could get in. We camped overnight in the Woods Lake campground on Thursday (a very nice campground) and admired the wildflowers.



As predicted, it rained that night into Friday morning, so we got a late start on our backpack into Navajo Lake.

First views of El Diente

The weather held long enough for us to stay dry on our backpack in and to set up camp and filter water (and made for a beautiful sunset near Navajo Lake).


Saturday morning (7/3), we set out bright and early for Wilson Peak. On our way, we planned to case out routes on El Diente and Mt. Wilson for our attempt on the traverse on the 4th. There were a few patches of snow along the approach trail to Wilson Peak but they are melting out fast and you don't need an ice axe or crampons.


We made a friend on the summit--this pika was interested in us but not nearly as fearless as the marmot we saw on Lindsey earlier this year.


It was slightly windy all weekend, but we were grateful for the lack of thunderstorms.

A bit windy...

The next morning we got up pretty early to attempt the El Diente--Mt. Wilson traverse. We were happy to have ice axes and crampons, given the hardness of the snow on El Diente's North Slopes route at the early hour. Even though the soil was mostly frozen, there was still spontaneous rockfall on our way up the route (we were glad to have helmets).

Stopping to put on crampons.

On the way up the snow to El Diente.

Casing out the traverse...

Traverse as seen from El Diente.

On the summit of El Diente...

Summit of El Diente.

What do I say about the traverse? It was our first attempt on one of the 4 Great Traverses and even though I am a rock climber, I found it a bit loose and dicey in places (I prefer more solid rock, like Eldo ).

Once again, the local wildlife was keeping an eye on us...

Marmot keeping tabs on our progress.

Moving along the traverse.


Compared to the traverse, I didn't think the final moves to the summit of Mt. Wilson were too bad. Summit at last...


We stayed close to the cairned trail on our way down from Mt. Wilson (on the more solid scree--look for the stuff with lichen on it) and didn't need crampons or an ice axe. We crossed several small snowfields, but they were soft and not very steep.

On our way back to Navajo Lake:


Given the lateness of the hour, we stayed another night and hiked out Monday morning (7/5). A note on the Woods Lake approach--the stream crossings were made easy by the solid bridges:

Just don't look at the supports until after you have crossed...

After getting back to the trailhead, we loaded up the car and drove into Telluride for a late lunch. Comfortable and sated, we hatched plans for Sneffels---the weather looked like it would turn later on in the week, so we drove up to a campground en route to Yankee Boy Basin for an attempt on Sneffels the next day.

We had had so much fun scrambling in the Wilsons that we decided to do the Southwest Ridge. Early morning sun:

Views from Blue Lakes Pass.

Gilpin Peak

There was some snow on the route, but we mostly avoided it by scrambling on the side.

Views of the Southwest Ridge route from Blue Lakes Pass.

Another view of the Southwest Ridge

The scrambling on the ridge itself was a bit more exposed but more solid than the earlier scrambling on the route. Once we attained the summit, we were rewarded with stellar views.


On the way down, I tried to get Ben to do a handstand on the block in this picture, but he declined.


We took the Southwest Ridge back down, as we didn't want to engage the scree on the standard route.


Parting shot from Wright's Lake.


After getting back to our campsite, we packed up and headed to Elbert, but that trip is another story...

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

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