| Gladstone Peak - North Ridge - Bilk Basin
Gladstone Peak - 13,913 feet
12.4 miles roundtrip
4133 vertical feet
Centennial Peak ranked 67th highest Colorado Peak
Sunshine Mesa Trailhead - Bilk Basin Approach
Myself and the dog "Gwenddydd" - Gwen.
I decided not to have the trailhead gods angry with me so I decided to take the Bilk Basin Approach. A longer approach but it is well trod upon for the most part and easily followed as a rule. The Wilson Mesa Trail and Lizard Head trail look fairly well used.
I missed summiting last August when I completed the 14ers on Wilson Peak due to the inclement weather and cancelled the Pigeon and Turret trip this weekend due to the bad forecast, so it was back down for this Centennial Peak.
The road to the trailhead is west of Telluride at milepost 71. Take South Fork Road 2 miles or so and turn right on the Sunshine Mesa 63J road. Continue on to the gated trailhead at mile 7.7 which goes past a few private property gates and between a few old buildings. There is parking and some room for camping too.
Started out under the moonlight.
There is a signboard and signs for Wilson Mesa Trail and Silver Pick Road not to be confused with the Silver Pick Basin Approach. You will follow the road for 2 miles to the old Morning Star Mine. You will cross over to the west side of the creek, on a couple of boards from the road, over to the old mine trailers.
There you will find a sign for Lizard Head Trail going north and a signboard and a Lizard Head Trail sign for the trail you want going south. Hike about a mile south on the Lizard Head Trail. The trail switches back and forth up the hill above the creek and you will have several different views of the different waterfalls.
You will hike a little farther into Lower Bilk Basin at 11,000 feet and it will open up and you can see the mountain ahead. As you go into Lower Bilk Basin you can see the top of Gladstone Peak.
Continue along the Lizard Head Trail until you get to a point where you are 50 feet or so north of the creek. There is a cairn there and the trail will go to your right. It starts out faint and gets more defined and actually follows a road as it switches back and forth heading up to the Upper Bilk Basin. The trail from Cross Mountain that passes under Lizard Head is to the left and crosses the creek.
As you switch your way up you can look back and see a well defined trail heading east. You can also see the striking outline of Lizard Head against the sky to the southeast. You are heading north, then west towards the Upper Basin.
Wilson Peak will loom large into view now. Continue on and over the hill down to the lake at 12,060.
Skirt along the north side of the lake along a road that the trail can be seen to follow. Below the ridge that is strewn with reddish slag the trail will swing over to the west and switchback up the small ridge. You can see the old building and it's window opening as it looks white from the sunbleached wood from down here. I walked up and past the building then picked a good line to the ridge.
Moon over ridge, closer look at Wilson Peak and Gladstone Peak.
The easy part is over at the building. Also I believe I was farther over to the south before I started up to the ridge.
The lake and Lizard Head.
Looking back down at lake.
Gladstone and snowfields.
The remaining 0.5 miles is loose, steep off either side of the ridge and sports rock flakes, loose rock, loose dirt and this is continuous to the top.
Ridge looking back at Wilson Peak.
I don't think I really liked this ridge so much. Give me Hagerman's southwest ridge or the gully on Cathedral.
Looking at Hagerman's ridge and down the Cathedral gully from last week's hikes with Adventurgal (Debbie) and pak (Phil) in the picture.
The rest of the way I either was on the ridge or just below. I think that for the most part the ridge is the best for solid rock. You have to work your way along and pick out what you like best.
The summit and surrounding peaks.
Mount Wilson and El Diente.
There is a way down that does not follow the ridge. It is loose and tedious but if you want you can drop off the ridge to the snow fields. Then you have to regain some elevation and back over to the building or as I did, when you gain a little elevation up to a flat area, contour around and follow the rocky drainage as it cascades down to the lake. The drainage was dry but looks like it could carry a lot of water in the spring, early summer.
Wahoo off the ridge.
Looking back up the drainage that leads down to the lake.
Drop down to the lake on it's west end, cross back over to the road that you used to skirt the lake on your way up and on out to the trailhead.
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