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Wheeler Peak, NM

Colorado 13er questions, conditions, and other info should be posted here. Also includes topics related to 13ers.com. 13er Trip Reports
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Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby lubbocktexan » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:27 am

Has anyone climbed wheeler in early may, i was wondering about avy danger, i havent snowshoed before and thought this would be a nice start
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Re: Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby Gabriel » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:13 am

I grew up in Taos and have been up wheeler over 20 times, including in May. The route from Williams Lake will likely have snow in the trees above the lake. I would try the Bull of the Woods route, although you will still end up with some snow as you enter the wilderness boundary. This changes with each season though. Have fun.

G

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Re: Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby MtHurd » Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:08 pm

Depends on the snow. Recently the snow levels have been low as well as the avy danger. Usually in early May, there is plenty of snow left. Lots of postholing and still some avy danger. Bull of the Woods as has been said would probably be the safest route, but expect a lot of postholing. In short, it all depends. Watch the weather and snowfall totals in late April to see how things are panning out.

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Re: Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby gme » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:11 pm

In years with normal snow and above, the avy danger on the Williams Lake side is pretty high. Those avy chutes running down to near the lake tell the whole story. I wouldn't attempt it unless it was remarkably advantageous conditions. Bull-of-the-Woods, though longer, is safer.

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Re: Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby lubbocktexan » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:15 pm

what about the east fork trail, from horseshoe lake
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Re: Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby scotthsu » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:04 am

lubbocktexan wrote:Has anyone climbed wheeler in early may, i was wondering about avy danger, i havent snowshoed before and thought this would be a nice start


Regarding avy danger: by early May (in an average year), the snowpack in this area is solidly in the spring snow cycle (i.e., frozen in the morning = typically safe; soft/slushy later in the day = wet slide danger). Thus, if you are finished with your climb and clear of avalanche terrain before the snow softens up too much, you will typically be OK. Of course, the time when the snow softens depends on a variety of factors such as recent and present air temps, cloud cover, slope aspect, etc. The slope to Wheeler above Williams Lake is west facing, so it tends to soften a bit later. Many times, I have skied this aspect as a second run (late morning or even early afternoon) after skiing an east or north facing slope earlier in the morning.

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Re: Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby MtHurd » Wed Feb 11, 2009 3:41 pm

The East Fork Trail is the longest route on Wheeler, much of it being below treeline. Navigation would be extremely difficult and the postholing would be horrendous (that is unless they have had a very light snow year). Avalanche danger is probably pretty low as for most of the way, although the last mile as you traverse the east side of Wheeler could be a problem area since it is on the lee side and probably has a slope in the avalanche prone areas (25 - 45 degrees). It's probably easier to climb Wheeler right now that it would be in early May.

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Re: Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby 3rdwoozie » Wed Mar 04, 2009 8:44 pm

Hate to be the stranger in this forum, but I plan on doing Wheeler the weekend [b]after[/b] the madness of Memorial Day Weekend. Thinking the snow packs shouldn't been that bad. At most, find a trail around them on the hign ridges. If your willing to wait a week, I'd be glad to have you tag along.
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Re: Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby RHitchcock » Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:10 pm

Lubbocktexan,

Are you going on memorial or earlier than that. from the way your post reads you are going in the beginning of may. I will be there in the chaos of memorial only because i have gotten my vacation approved. When I set this up I did not know the town would be over run with bikers. Not that I don't enjoy motorcycles if it was not such a haul for me I would ride mine.

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Re: Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby MtHurd » Wed Mar 04, 2009 9:26 pm

One week makes a big difference, the first weekend in June is much better regarding lingering snow than the last weekend in May. If the warm weather continues and it doesn't snow much more, it will be a moot point.

If you don't like the fact that there will be bikers, just do South Truchas instead. Much better of a climb than Wheeler and only 59 ft. lower. It will require an overnighter though as it is 11 miles one way. Venado Peak in the Latirs is also a good one to climb. Also better than Wheeler in my opinion.

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Re: Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby Gringoat » Thu Mar 05, 2009 3:28 am

Apologies.......another straggler writing here......saw this thread running and jumped on it.......I'm also planning a Wheeler+Walter attempt on either Memorial weekend or the following weekend. Keep me posted if any of y'all are gonna be heading up.

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Re: Wheeler Peak, NM

Postby MtHurd » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:19 am

The snow issues discussed here are mainly because of the route selection. The Lost Lake route which takes you by Horseshoe Lake as well is a much more beautiful hike, but can have lingering late May snow issues, whereas the Williams Lake route on the Toas side shouldn't be a problem. There are two other routes too, one from the Taos side and one from the Red River side. Two more routes also exist that require summitting other peaks before Wheeler as well, one on the Red River side and one on the Taos side.

This Angel Fire web cam gives a look at the southeast side of the Wheeler Massif. Your actually looking at Old Mike in this shot. Old Mike is only a mile from Wheeler though.

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