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Mt. Wilson

Most Recent Condition Updates
Updates  
Route: Navajo Lake Approach
Posted On: 6/11/2024, By: jas0nleslie
Info: Still plenty of snow in the upper basin, the ascent, and every gully/couloir. All snow is variable depending on depth/elevation/aspect, but we found it "mostly" supportive. Only the most exposed and steep slopes were a bit slippery. We had to do a lot of crampons on/crampons off. There were some small and recent wet slides, but we didn't witness anything occur and it was pretty warm. The north side was great for a glissade! 
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Route: Kilpacker Approach
Posted On: 5/29/2024, By: Wentzl
Info: Carried snowshoes, but stashed them after packing them for no reason after three miles. Started at 9:45 a.m. and came back down at 6:00 p.m. and snow on trail no worse early or late. Trail is hard to follow in the trees where the snow covers the trail, especially after the broken sign marking the junction where Navajo Lake and Kilpacker Basin split occurs. I have to give a nod to jfm3 who left some footprints from a few days ago. Was that good memory or a gps track led you through the trees, because I would have likely still been up there. Anyway, ditch the snowshoes, but for sure bring the axe and crampons if you want to summit Mt. Wilson in the next week or so. A full on winter skills test with all sorts of conditions. Thankfully the soft sugar snow that sucks you up to your waist was only a short spell. Mixed rock/ice climbing on the last 200' vertical to the summit. As mentioned by RG15 in his report, fairly steep pitch for the summit. pushing 40 degrees so not a casual class three walk up for a while yet. 
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Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 5/28/2024, By: jfm3
Info: I attempted "South Wilson" from Kilpacker and got a great look at most of the southwest route on Mt. Wilson. Snow starts just above the last stand of trees in Kilpacker Basin and is continuous up to the saddle just below the top of Mt. Wilson. Snow was in great condition for crampon and ice axe use. There are some old avalanche paths on both sides of Kilpacker Basin with frozen debris at the bottom. CAIC says there haven't been any reported avalanches in the San Juans for a few weeks so the consolidation is well underway. Some intermittent waterfalls are frozen on the cliffs and I did hear occasional rockfall. I saw 2 people on top of Mt. Wilson. Through the binoculars, they were carefully descending the snow on the small face below the top. The Kilpacker approach has a lot of snow in the trees that was supportive in the morning but soft in the afternoon. Snowshoes necessary for the hike out. 
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Route: East Face
Posted On: 4/12/2024, By: Rg15
Info: Started at 2:00 AM and summited just after 8:00. There is still just enough loose garbage on the approach to warrant bringing snowshoes. Its mostly consolidated above treeline until the base of the couloir up to the notch. The summit pitch is currently more of a steep snow-climb than the usual easy scramble, so plan accordingly. 
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Route: East Face
Posted On: 1/3/2024, By: angry
Info: This isnt a new winter summit for me as I previously was up here on 2/12/22. Far less snow this year. No change from previous report. I followed my old gpx which was in line with Pauls track so his has also been stomped down now as well, pick your poison. 
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Route: East Face
Posted On: 12/31/2023, By: paulbarish
Info: For those looking to utilize the trench, I set my own skin track not knowing that WildernessJane had been in the day before. Mine breaks off the cross mountain trail first at about 11,100. Our skin tracks meet at Slate Creek proper. There is running water there in case you need to fill up. I think her track might be a touch longer but is more efficient then mine, in my opinion. I recommend hers, its an impressively set trail.  
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Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 10/8/2023, By: JakeBortClimb
Info: Most snow on kilpacker(south aspect) has melted, and you can easily do this route without traction right now. Definitely chose to do it mostly ridge direct instead of crossing to the north face as there is obviously snow there but its still kickin until the next storm! 
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Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 10/9/2023, By: JakeBortClimb
Info: Most snow on kilpacker(south aspect) has melted, and you can easily do this route without traction right now. Definitely chose to do it mostly ridge direct instead of crossing to the north face as there is obviously snow there but its still kickin until the next storm! 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 10/9/2023, By: JakeBortClimb
Info: Most snow on kilpacker(south aspect) has melted, and you can easily do this route without traction right now. Definitely chose to do it mostly ridge direct instead of crossing to the north face as there is obviously snow there but its still kickin until the next storm! 
Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 9/20/2023, By: JasonCrane
Info: From Telluride Ski Resort, looks like this week's fresh snow has melted-out from the Wilson Group. However, couloirs appear to have deep snow & filled-in for the season. Photos are taken from the northeast at San Sophia Overlook, elev. 10,500 ft. Wilson Peak is the most visible, the distinct triangular peak to the right. You can also see Lizard Head, Gladstone, & Sunshine Peaks. 
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Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 9/18/2023, By: colin j
Info: Was planning to descend the N slope after the traverse but bailed before El D. There is snow on the N slope and given the angle of the sun this time of year I would not expect it to melt out. 
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Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 9/10/2023, By: shapovalovm
Info: Started at Navajo TH -> North Buttress to El Diente -> Traverse to Mt Wilson -> down North Slopes -> back to Navajo TH. Start 6:15am, back to car by 4:50pm. North Buttress route has lots of loose dirt and rock. Please triple check every rock before using as a hand/foot hold. Closer to the summit I also found it pretty easy to get into class 5 terrain if I got off route. You'll get there, at the end of the day you just climb the rub up, it's just a matter of what difficulty rock you'll be climbing. The traverse is not bad, but all that loose rock is annoying. I accidentally kicked off a few rocks that looked very solid and ready to bear my weight (Please scream "Rock!" even if you don't think there's anyone/any route below, you never know). As a result, the progress was painfully slow (~90 min?). Down N Slopes of Mt Wilson: same story. Nothing serious, just very slow because all that rock is moving. I think I only descended ~1200' in the first hour, which is slower than I usually go up. My initial plan was to also tag Wilson Peak (just 1600' extra gain), but I couldn't see more of that loose rock any more. 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 9/8/2023, By: DorothyK
Info: Snow in September! We did the El Diente-Wilson traverse from the south on a beautiful, cloud-less, windless day. However, there is a snowfield/steep couloir next to El Diente's summit; there's a slight reroute to go around it. You do not want to fall in the snowfield; it is very steep. There is another snowfield where you descend the ridge to the saddle just before the Wilson ascent; need to make a climb-y move to stay above it. Finally, there are snowfields once you get down the southwest slope "trail" from Wilson; those were actually kind of fun to glissade and avoid walking on the ankle-breaker rocks all around us. 
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Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 8/22/2023, By: doeeth
Info: So I now understand why most people complete this traverse from El Diente (way more downclimbing when coming from Mt Wilson, class 3-4). The routes on El Diente are loose and challenging, and next time I would opt to ascend North Buttress or South Slopes of El Diente if doing the traverse. To summarize, I hiked up to Navajo lake on 8/19, summited Wilson Peak, slept at my campsite for awhile before starting Mt Wilson North Slopes to El Diente traverse, then South Slope descent into Kilpacker Basin. Due to a conditions/trail review that suggested using microspikes and an ice axe, I brought both (and used neither). I encountered nearly zero snow leading up Mt Wilson North slopes (as well as Wilson Peak). North Slopes of El Diente was originally my plan for descent as it leads to Navajo basin. I had intended to do the route this direction because I was under the assumption that the North slopes route has the fantastic ridge crux climb. However, any route coming from the north, east, or west on the ridge (including the traverse) will climb up, then downclimb this section. The class 4 section was fantastic quality and holds, and was my favorite part of the whole trip. Wilson Peak's summit scramble was also very fun. Anywho, the North Slopes route on El Diente looked like a few hundred feet of chossy nightmare leading to a fractured snowfield. There also was not any obvious trail leading to the base of the suggested gully. I would not recommend this route to any sound of mind human, unless you want to put on crampons after this loose choss field; the snow on North face of this massif is almost bullet proof in the AM. Perhaps in the afternoon it may be tolerable but I did not test this theory out. Doing the traverse from Mt Wilson after camping at Navajo Lake meant that I needed to either reascend to the lake to grab my gear (extra 4 miles and 1,500 feet gain likely) or carry everything with me. So my pack was roughly 20 lbs, plus I filled up 3 liters of water at the base of the North slope, of which I only drank probably .75 L during the traverse, and probably 0.5 on the descent from El Diente after deciding to throw out 1.5 L at the start of that descent. First of all, the route finding from Mt Wilson to El Diente starts out somewhat poorly, but I was able to turn on my phone (low battery) for brief periods to use the GPS map. The section where there is a class 4 chimney was tough to descend with a 20 lbs pack. Lots of loose rocks in this section, which I kicked some down. Most of the El Diente side of the traverse is straight class 2-3, with easier route finding. The final descent down South Slopes of El Diente was chossy, w loose rocks all the way until you get below treeline. I thought the Navajo Lakes trail to Mt wilson had significantly less loose rocks, or walking over huge rocks beds. I did glissade 2 sections of snowfields, with the first one remaining on route, and the second leading to some of the loosest, of route-iest bull crap class 2 and 3 I've had the displeasure of sliding down precariously. All in all, I would not take back any decisions I made on this trip. By day 2, the routes I finally chose were the best for the circumstance. It was a fantastic experience. Kilpacker basin is gorgeous, and Navajo basin ain't bad either. Also took the short trip to see Navajo falls, which is incredible. Probably one of the best waterfalls areas I'd seen in Colorado. Do not take ice axe or micro spikes unless you want to carry an extra 3.5 lbs in your pack. Camping at Navajo Lake and doing all 3 peaks as a camping trip is tough, because not all the safest routes are in the basin. This basin is also considerably colder than any location I've been to in Colorado this summer, even with a blue bird sky day. 
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 8/13/2023, By: Jesslynne8
Info: The basin is still holding a lot of snow. Microspikes and an ice axe would be helpful, but its doable without. We tried glissading down but the snow is pretty rutted out. Easy route finding if you follow the photos. 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 8/13/2023, By: IsaacD
Info: Traverse is snow-free and in great summer condition. Fun climbing all around. We went from El Diente to Mt. Wilson and felt that the North Buttress route adequately warmed us up for the traverse. 
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Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 7/22/2023, By: Scott Conro
Info: Snow was firm for us and felt safe with spikes and poles only. Many fields to cross beginning 100-200ft below El D turn off. Continuous snow from roughly 12.9k to about 13.7k. The photos are of the climb we made on snow that follows the website photos. Got a little more risky than we would have liked without ice axes. Would recommend doing a fairly obvious scree climb climbers right instead. The remaining 400ft or so was dry. 
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Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 7/24/2023, By: wanderingsteve
Info: Did the traverse from El Diente. The cairns definitely help with route finding when you're below the ridge crest. There is only one short snowfield to cross (closer to Mt. Wilson). I took out my axe there because I had it with me and it was a steep drop below, but others who were with me did not. No one used or needed traction. I and almost everyone went left right before the Mt. Wilson summit block. 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 7/24/2023, By: happyallyy
Info: Climbed on 7/22/23, went up El Diente then traversed over to Mt Wilson, and back down to Kilpacker Basin. A few notes: - There are a few campsites once you make the turnoff for Kilpacker Trailhead. If all those are taken, there is another camping spot option about 3 minutes down the road. - There are a few snow fields that needed to be crossed heading up El Diente, most have decent foot steps in them. One was on a steeper slope, but spikes and poles were perfect. Other than that, the route to El Diente is in summer conditions. Lots of sections of loose rock to be aware of - The traverse to Mt Wilson was solid and is in mostly summer conditions. The cairns make it easy to follow the route, there were a few times we stayed ridge proper which made for some really fun scrambling. We came into snow at 1 or 2 points, and were able to go above or below it each time. - Watch for marmots kicking rocks. We had a marmot kick down a 20 lb rock on our group, thankfully everyone was ok - Coming down Mt Wilson to the Kilpacker Basin TH is still holding a decent amount of snow. I wish I had my ice axe for glissading opportunities, but instead made it work with my hiking pole. The lower part of the descent from Mt Wilson was the snowiest part of the route. - We started from Kilpacker Basin at 4:15am, and made it back to the parking lot around 5:30pm, with decent breaks on each of the summits. 
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Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 7/9/2023, By: MMAfightingClimber
Info: The route up el diente has snow. It required some trail breaking to avoid it. The traverse is mostly dry on the first half with just a couple small snow crossings. The second half of the traverse has one bad, steep snow crossing with a huge drop off below. (Pictured). The Navajo and kilpacker basins both have a lot of snow. 100% recommend crampons and an ax 
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