Mt. Wilson

Condition Updates  
Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 2023-05-29, By: runningbuff
Info: Did the El Diente-Mt. Wilson traverse yesterday from Rock of Ages. Went up El Diente North Slopes and skiied a variation of Mt. Wilson North Slopes. Rock of Ages becomes pretty much continuous snow after 2 miles. I was very grateful for crampons going up the El Diente couloir and across the traverse. Summitted El Diente at 8:30 so the couloir was pretty icy most of the way but the top had some really nice corn. The traverse was not the greatest with snow in some annoying places. Im not sure how it is class 4, I definitely had class 5 moves in there but Im also horrible at route finding so that could be why. Snow didnt help. In all, the traverse took me 3 hours. Skiing Mt. Wilson North Slopes was decent, but the snow was very wet/slushy towards the bottom. Climbing back to Rock of Ages was rough after all that and flotation was definitely required at that point in the afternoon. 
Route: East face up, Boxcar couloir ski descent
Posted On: 2023-05-29, By: SnowAlien
Info: Last time I skied Boxcar, the snow was frozen, so I've been meaning to go back and re-ski it in nicer conditions. Well, this time it was too soft! Partner and I launched from Cross Mtn TH around 4.30-45am. I totally forgot that South-East lines require such early starts, duh! We made a fairly quick work of the traverse to Slate Creek drainage. We skinned to about 13.5k via the East slopes gully. Views of Lizard Head, Ice lakes and Gladstone were fantastic. For the last 500 ft, we found an old booter, which really helped and we topped out around 10am. We started skiing around 10.30am, and we're surprised how quickly the snow has softened up (it was still fairly icy around 9.30 am). The snow in Boxcar was quite soft, with a runnel forming towards the bottom. We enjoyed the turns on the headwall, and then were very pleased to discover the snow in the trees stayed firm. The approach trail was skiable except the last 0.5 mile before the TH. We got back to the cars around 1pm. 
Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 2023-02-22, By: Chrisfish25
Info: I went in from rock of ages. Up the Mt Wilson north slopes. The final scramble to the summit wasn't horrible. Although there was a good bit of snow. From there I traversed over to El Diente. The traverse had a ton of snow & was a lot of work to get across. It took me 4.5 hours. Staying ridge proper the entire way would've been a better solution to how much work I put in. I carried a 30 m rope in case I needed to rappel. I didn't. But had I stayed ridge proper I would've. I skied the north face of el Diente down & back over rock of ages & out. Great day up high. 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 2022-09-19, By: carlycaprio
Info: We attempted the traverse from Navajo Lake via North routes but there was way too much snow. We didn't bring traction or an ice axe and everyone we spoke to said they wouldn't attempt it either. Instead we packed over to the south side (Kilpacker approach). There was no snow on this side as the sun hits daily. Steep and sometimes tricky route finding but there are trail markers that make it easier. There is a 300 foot final pitch on El Diente where you cross to the north side of the ridge. There was snow and ice but good handholds on the rock. We got through it without traction but I don't recommend it. I really wished we had brought our snow gear. The traverse is clear of snow except on a few sections where you cross to the north side of the ridge. Doable without traction but sketchy. The traverse is well marked with carrins if you can spot them. Try to follow those with your beta from the route description. We saw someone drop too low and have to climb back up the ridge crest. The class 2 gully up to Mt Wilson has snow and it's steep.. we stuck to the left side with good hand holds. The crux class 4 move on the final pitch to Mt. Wilson has no snow. We went slow and moved carefully through the class 3 & 4 sections and we made it! Would definitely recommend the south slope routes this time of year & to bring snow gear! 
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Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 2022-09-06, By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Traverse in great shape. Lots of cairns, but of course know the route too. Two main crux points - (1) The official 'crux' in the route description (photo 2 there is a steep drop down point that required some nifty climbing; and (2) the final moves up to the Mt. Wilson summit - near photo 33 - the narrow ridge and a few up-climb moves. Overall a super fun route, though! Downclimbed Mt. Wilson via North Slopes - that is in pretty sloppy, lose conditions from the top and partway down - lots of rocks flying around. When you get further down, go right and there are more solid rocks. CFI is doing an amazing job with the trail system out there in Navajo basin! 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 2022-08-28, By: Wimyers
Info: Kilpacker approach still very muddy and wet, a second pair of socks would have been nice. Saw two bears on the approach. El D south slopes route was frosty and slippery pre-dawn, but sun on the traverse quickly melted off the frost. However, frost lingered in the shade until late morning. North slope of Mt. Wilson very loose, saw three serious rockfall events on the way down, one involving two fridge-sized blocks. Wilson peak route was totally dry by the time we got to it in the early afternoon. Navajo approach was much drier than kilpacker. We saw no snow or ice on any of the routes we were on. 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 2022-08-23, By: TheSpaceForce
Info: 8/20/22: From the Kilpacker trailhead - with the recent rain, this approach was very muddy with lots of standing water. This had the effect of consolidating the scree on our ascent of El Diente. However, the downclimb, while class 3 was still very loose, even if well-cairned. GR describes the SW slopes of Wilson as a "scree-and-rubble challenge"; even with the Class 3 route, we still have to agree. 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 2022-08-15, By: cvbuffs
Info: Hail and snow up high (above 13k mostly) from the storms the night of Saturday, August 13. Made the traverse extra tricky with route finding and safety with the add wetness and slipperiness. Particularly the moves starting from 19 on in the route description, I felt the exposure went way up trying to stay on drier rock. The last move to the summit of Mt. Wilson was extremely difficult in the conditions. Coming down the SW slopes of Mt. Wilson wasn't much fun either with the amount of snow in the gully, combined with the already existing looseness. Definitely added a good bit of time to the downclimb until reaching the more stable talus fields near 13,200. I would guess they likely got a bit more snow/hail with the storm on Sunday night, so would recommend bringing traction on this route moving forward since the snow will likely linger for a bit. All three in my group had traction and sparingly used it, but in hindsight, I probably would have put mircospikes on for the initial descent off Mt. Wilson. 12.5 hours roundtrip, and that felt like we were moving at a good pace all day (another group that was a little faster completed in 12 and they were moving). Would recommend planning for 2-3 hours on the traverse for the time being until the snow melts out. After conferring with the other party that did the traverse, we all felt like given the conditions, it added a major upgrade to the difficulty. Having only done the Crestones traverse, I would say this was much more difficult given the more sustained climbing (I felt like the Crestones traverse was very mellow up until the 5.2 move and beyond, which as really a pretty short amount of time). The members of the other party, having done all of the traverses minus LB - Blanca, said this was by far the hardest and one of the most sustained days of climbing they had. Just our opinions, but something to think about if climbing and exposure isn't your thing. 
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Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 2022-07-22, By: bsiegs
Info: Great conditions along the traverse - took about 2h 15m with really spot on route founding from leader (thanks Dan!). Started from Kilpacker and took south slopes up El Diente (a lot of fun!) and Southwest Slopes down Wilson (less fun!). Clouds & hail rolled in fast as we started descending Wilson around 10:30. No need to cross any snowfields on the descent. 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 2022-07-03, By: ladnerkm
Info: Traverse is snow free but many of the rocks are slick (the shale-type more so than the granite) from the evening freezing rain/hail that has been coming through the last week. Give yourself 2 hours to do the traverse if you aren't familiar with it. We saw some people starting the traverse as late as 11 am and sure enough the hail and rain came in at noon as predicted. Having done the Maroons traverse as well, I'd say this is slightly tougher because of length and additional exposure 
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2022-06-22, By: tlgold1990
Info: Started at 5am from Kilpacker. Several snow fields to cross. Didn't use spikes there (probably should have) but definitely did on the way back. Was super slick and an ice axe would be great to have. Didn't have mine and wish I would have. Recommend having it for now. Some of the rocks in the gullies are super loose from snow melt but they are clear of snow. Did see one HUGE boulder go flying down the 1st one right before we crossed. Other than the sketchy snowfields and some loose rock, it was a great day!!! Intimidating going up, thinking of coming down, but once we started down, it wasn't too terrible. 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 2022-06-20, By: Cide
Info: Traversing from El Diente to Wilson: Small patches of snow in some key areas just below the El D summit warranted just some extra caution in traversing. The area below the Organ Pipes and Gendarmes had no snow/ice considerations. The ascent of the rock formation before heading up Wilson's final gully was full of ice and snow patches (with ice under them). Take extreme caution in holds and footing while maneuvering that. The final gully had a couple inches of snow, nothing concerning. I utilized microspikes to good effect. 
Route: Southwest Slopes
Posted On: 2022-05-29, By: jfm3
Info: I climbed Mt. Wilson in combination with El Diente (no traverse- I used the separate south-side routes for each mountain). From the El Diente split, there is continuous snow all the way to and halfway up the gully just below the summit. I did not summit until 2:30 PM and even then, the snow was mostly supportive. The only place where I sank through significantly was on the steepest headwall below the gully. The upper part of the gully and the final ridge to the summit are dry. I used a short ice axe and strap-on crampons in running shoes and felt secure. 
Route: East Face
Posted On: 2022-05-29, By: johlfsj
Info: I started my hike at 5:30AM. There is no snow at the Cross Mt trailhead. I encountered intermittent snow banks and mud from ~0.5 miles to 1.75 miles (11K altitude) where I turned off the trail. Snow banks and slop (water) continued as I bushwhacked through the forest, staying at ~11K altitude. There are a lot of deadfall trees that I climbed over. It was quite challenging trying to maintain an efficient routing and not drop elevation. There were two stream crossings that each required dropping into a significant ravine. I emerged from the trees at an excellent location to continue across a short section of talus staying relatively low through the talus slope. There was almost no snow at this point of the hike. I hiked toward the lower basin of Slate Creek aiming to the south side of the basin (almost no snow in the lower basin unlike picture #8 of the route description). I stayed to the left side of the basin as I climbed up toward the middle basin as I headed toward Gladstone Pk (picture 9 of the route description). This was due to the intermittent snow pack on the route. It turned out to be the best choice of routing. I continued up the left side all the way to the 90 degree left turn toward Wilson Pk (pictures 14-16 of the route description). The snow was relatively hard packed all the way. I used microspikes and hiking poles. The sun-cupping on the snow helped my footing. The final ascent up the couloir was relatively steep as I hiked up the center and then shifted toward the right side along the large rock outcroppings. This was a good move as the steepness increased and my footing was secure on that side. The final class 3 climb was really straight forward with no snow and solid rock. It only took a few minutes. I summited at 9:30AM. The descent from the top of the col was tricky as the snow was getting soft and the sun-cupping complicated my footing. I did fall and slide on one occasion. I had to use my hiking poles to self arrest. I never gained too much speed and I knew I was in a controlled slide as the snow was soft. The decent became easier as the steepness of the slope moderated. On the decent I followed route I took on my accent. I entered the trees at the same point I where I had left the trees earlier. The forest was awful on the return as the snow banks were now soft. Snow shoes would not have helped since the snow was intermittent and there are so many deadfall trees to climb over. Despite not exactly following my route back I did manage to intersect with Cross Mt trail only 15 ft from where I had left the trail on the outbound trip. I got back to the trailhead at 12:30PM (7hr round trip). I wanted to thank the two guys I met on the Cross Mt trail the day before I hiked Mt Wilson. I was doing a short hike that evening to better understand the trail conditions and what to expect and I met those guys as they were returning from Mt Wilson. Their intel was helpful. All in all it was an awesome hike and route. I saw no one else the entire day I did the Mt Wilson hike. What a treat. Btw, I had 4 friends monitoring my hike. They knew my vehicle and license #, what I was wearing and my expected itinerary and times. I texted them from the summit and checked in when I got cell coverage after completing the hike. I was very careful as I was solo hiking. 
Route: East Face
Posted On: 2022-05-28, By: triordie
Info: Mike_C and I summited Mt. Wilson on Wednesday. Cross Mountain trail has patches of snow. After the turn-off in the forest, there is alternating snow/dry making snow shoes useless. We stashed them at the tree line. From tree line, it is dry for the first steep part, then there is mostly snow. Did not put crampons until the last turn under Gladstone. (Boxcar, BTW, looked in great condition). From there there is a continuous snow to the saddle, great snow climb after a cold night. From saddle to the summit absolutely dry. Were not able to glissade due to snow cups. Walking on the snow was easy until the forest where post-holing was annoying. If you are thinking about this route, get it soon, snow is melting fast. 
Route: East Face
Posted On: 2022-05-23, By: slawrence2011
Info: Didn't summit. Approached from Rock of ages, I got my civic all the way to Big Bear creek, I saw a truck drive further, but there is deadfall not much past that. Started at 2 AM, went over the rock of ages saddle and gladstone saddle, and went to the top of the E couloir and hit the ridge. The scramble to the summit looked frightening with a coating of snow on top of the rocks, even after I switched to hiking boots. So I skied down via the Boxcar couloir. Totally bulletproof and full of suncups. Good practice jump turns, I learned there is minimal margin for error for the angle you land when there are suncups! Then traversed back to Gladstone saddle, slogged back to rock of ages saddle and down. The slog from Gladstone to Rock of ages saddle took me 2+ hours, even though there theoretically isn't any elvation gain, due to the ridicoulous amount of transitions from steep snow to talus. Not sure what kind of gear could get you through all of that with less transitions. 
Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 2022-05-16, By: slawrence2011
Info: See my 5/15 Wilson Peak report for road and shared approach info. This was the first, and probably the only time I will approach the Southern Wilson group from the N. Maybe I am just lazy, but so much of a slog to the rock of ages saddle, then the long traverse to the base of Wilson N slopes, and I didn't even traverse far enough. When I hit the ridge, I saw there was an easy walk to a high point on the left, but then realized that the summit was much higher to the right and that ridge was not traversable in snow. I downclimbed far enough until I could traverse, then traversed to a more reasonable couloir. I hit the ridge, but it was noon at this point, so did not have time for the class 4 summit move. Ski down was great, just before 1, wouldn't have wanted to any later. The slog back to Silver Pick saddle was rough, switched between side stepping on skis, crossing rocks in boots, and snowshoes near the top. Also a fun ski down from the saddle, a bit tricky to get in given the top 100 feet of the saddle has melted out. Would love to work on these in the future, probably from Navajo, and one day hit the East ski descent. 
Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 2022-05-01, By: One Sierra Charlie
Info: The N face of Mt. Wilson is still in okay shape for skiing. The road has patchy snow starting at 9800 and any you will not be able to drive much higher. there are also intermittent dry patches on the route all the way into Silver Pick Basin. From here the coverage is adequate except for a small dry section on the N side of the Rock of Ages saddle. Impressively, the dust layer is much worse on S and E aspects. 
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Route: East Face
Posted On: 2022-02-13, By: angry
Info: Cross mountain trail packed to forest turn off. Broke trail in snowshoes from ~11,000 to ~13,000, stashed em and wore crampons to summit. Snow was stable/supportive and allowed plunge step on descent. There is wind loading and any prior tracks were nonexistent. Pretty windy all day so imagine more drifting, proceed with caution. 
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Route: East Face
Posted On: 2022-01-30, By: osprey
Info: Sometimes the key to a successful winter summit is to get it the same day a strong trencher does it. I started at the Cross Mountain TH at 0545 and could see a climber's headlamp about 15 minutes above me. The Cross Mountain trail is well packed down. Upon reaching the turnoff to Slate Creek it was obvious the climber ahead was establishing a fresh trench after the recent snow storms. I finally caught up to the trencher about 1pm when he was on his way down from the summit. It was Will E! The final slope leading to the small col where one descends a short distance to the west to get to the south side of Mt Wilson is steep and icy and I had to front point with crampons on both the ascent and descent. The rocks leading to the summit had some snow but not enough to require an ax or crampons. It was very fortunate that Will had established the trench. It would not have been possible for me to summit otherwise. Even with his trench it took me 14 hours for the 12 miles RT. 
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