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Mt. Wilson or El Diente first?

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Mt. Wilson or El Diente first?

Postby dmathis » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:27 pm

A friend and I are making plans for our Mt. Wilson/El Diente summits, via Kilpacker Basin. We are interested in summiting Mt. Wilson first and then El Diente (but not the traverse). I've been studying several trip reports but can't find any that have hiked them in that order. My questions are #1. Is there a reason for this? and #2. If we summit Mt. Wilson first, is the trail well defined at the place where you continue up the east end of the basin instead of turning left to head up the south slopes of El Diente? Any information would be appreciated. :)

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Re: Mt. Wilson or El Diente first?

Postby Jim Davies » Sat Jul 13, 2013 4:16 pm

There was some good info in this post: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=40417&p=489231#p489190
and in the rest of that thread.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of white blood cells.

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Re: Mt. Wilson or El Diente first?

Postby ThuChad » Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:23 am

A few trip reports for you. I think they all do El D first but I don't think it really matters if you don't do the traverse. You may have found these already.

vorticity
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=12472

highpilgrim
http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=12434

belugadave
http://14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=12833
I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

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Re: Mt. Wilson or El Diente first?

Postby noinu09 » Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:20 pm

If not doing the traverse, I would still do El Diente first. I think the overall climb up to El Diente is more difficult and strenuous, therefore I would want to do that when less tired.

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Re: Mt. Wilson or El Diente first?

Postby slowhead » Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:02 pm

I would do Mt Wilson first, assuming you're going to hike around and do Kilpacker for El Diente. They both are very strenuous, but Mt. Wilson has the hardest and most exposed stuff, and the uglier gullies near the top -- take care of that the first day. The ridge work on El Diente will just be fun after the "Fun!" of Mt. Wilson's final section. Again, I'd recommend Kilpacker for El Diente, the beauty is incredible, though the long, long rockwalk is tedious.

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Re: Mt. Wilson or El Diente first?

Postby doggler » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:03 am

dmathis wrote:A friend and I are making plans for our Mt. Wilson/El Diente summits, via Kilpacker Basin. We are interested in summiting Mt. Wilson first and then El Diente (but not the traverse). I've been studying several trip reports but can't find any that have hiked them in that order. My questions are #1. Is there a reason for this? and #2. If we summit Mt. Wilson first, is the trail well defined at the place where you continue up the east end of the basin instead of turning left to head up the south slopes of El Diente? Any information would be appreciated. :)


Just to make sure I understand. Your current plan is to go Mt. Wilson from Kilpacker. Drop back down into Kilpacker. Back up to El Diente from the south.

I think the order of the climbs is secondary to the bigger question: why not do the traverse? Upper Kilpacker is a talused-up mess, unpleasant at best. The "trails" through upper Kilpacker suck - rocky, somewhat loose, not the easiest to follow, sometimes easier just to talus-hop. For safety's sake, I would almost prefer the traverse. IMO the traverse isn't much trickier or difficult - it is definitely MUCH more straightforward and doable than the other three (Crestones, LB-Blanca, Bells), and it saves you extra distance and elevation. If you've got to deal with long stretches of that crap, might as well stay above most of it than be in it.

However, if you're going to descend and re-ascend, I don't think the order matters at all. When my party did the traverse a few years back, our thinking was that we could start with El D and climb peaks in a circuit until we got tired. Otherwise, we had no real reason to hit "the tooth" first.

Whatever you choose, be safe and prepared for crappy piles of looseness. Enjoy lower Kilpacker - it is beautiful enough to make up for the upper tedium.

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