Wilson Peak

Condition Updates  
Route: Up NW, Coors Face Ski
Posted On: 2023-05-01, By: slawrence2011
Info: I summited Wilson peak Saturday and Sunday from Rock of Ages. I skied the Coors face Saturday and the Northwest face Sunday. About 5 other people skied the Coors face both days, and a few others skied the NW face Saturday. Road was snowed over around last property around 9,1K, but melting fast. Skinned from the car both days, but had to take skis off for the last couple hundred yards Sunday. I have to say, now that I know what I know, please take the rock of ages trail versus the private road up to the mine, because it seems access is at risk here with recent events and private property so close, would hate to loose this. I put a skin track in that route Saturday. That route is fully covered, a bit of annoying side hilling where the road wraps around to join the upper basin. Many people skinned all the way to the ridge of the NW face, most summitted that way, a few, including myself used the hidden W facing couloir Dawson described. There are two mixed climbing cruxes in there currently, but mostly good coverage, and I successfully downclimbed it as well Sunday. Conditions were powder in the NW face Saturday, and we dug a couple snow pits and got it to release around 8 inches in isolated places of wind slab, but mostly 2 inches or less. On Sunday, the heat of Saturday and refreeze Saturday night resulted in consolidated firm snow, but not sure the freeze went all the way through, because skiing it on Sunday around 1 was a breakable crust of less than an inch, then sinking slightly under that. Others tell me skiing it Saturday was powder conditions. I dropped into Coors face around 2, which I thought would be way too late given last season when I dropped in at 10:20, it was like an hour too late. I only did it because 5 people did right in front of me, and it actually didn't sluff that bad, probably because it was more of a winter snowpack that took longer to warm, and the high was only 36. Mix between scraped off powder, some bulletproof shade sections, and slushier snow down low. The Coors face was in better than last year around this time, but it is still a harrowing entry via the ramp, everyone I saw and talked to, including me, side stepped the 500 feet entry due to many hidden rocks, down through the choke, where there was a challenging (for me) downclimb over a 3 foot exposed rock. I do remember the move last season though, and I think it is easier this season, because I remember way less snow, and being balanced on ski tip and tail, which was horrifying. Even when in the central couloir, lots of rocks, had to side step many times. The way the tracks are going now, people start to traverse out skiers left, but go down the lower chute one left of standard, then traverse back to the standard lower chute, which goes. It looks like you may be able to just go in fall line, but not tested as of end of Saturday. Also, I remember you can go way skiers left and it becomes cruiser, though someone said there is debris there now. I think if that is the best Coors face gets and there is no hope of skiing on the upper, surviving twice is good enough for me, but let me know if the upper ever becomes skiable. I think if East Face of Castle is D12, this must be around D14 or D15, since so much is unskiable and all of Castle you can at least do jump turns, but I have now other context for anything this difficult. Curious how it would compare to Crestone Needle or Little Bear, but all condition dependent I'm sure. 
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Route: Rock of Ages Approach
Posted On: 2023-02-21, By: Skimo95
Info: Took the ridge direct yesterday and dealt with a broken binding on the way down. Storm will change things 12.4mi 4,900' from winter closure 
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Route: Rock of Ages Approach
Posted On: 2022-10-23, By: Mheef
Info: Rock of Ages is in very good condition until you hit the snow line which was about 3.5 miles in. Then crampons become required and trail is hard to follow. We made it to 12,800ft before encroaching weather and current snow conditions helped us to decide to turn around. Winds were sustained 30-40 mph with gusts of 70 mph+. Temperature was in the 20s but windchill estimated it feels around 3 degrees F Summit is still doable until the next snow (which is in about 2 hours). Then serious alpine gear and skill required. Avalanche conditions were prime which resulted in us turning around. But good luck. Drink a Coors on Me 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-09-14, By: ericd01
Info: Silver Pick is currently a 2WD accessible road to TH. ROA trail is 4 miles of dryness with a high path to the saddle avoiding endless talus and considerable less switchbacks. Peak trail is counterintuitive to not stay high on ridge but to traverse lower. Overall quicker than expected with an average 4hr ascent, 2.5hr descent. The gash crux to summit is super fun and in the afternoon shade. Bring a Coors Light! 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-09-06, By: swesleyc7
Info: Climbed via Navajo Lake approach. The trail from Navajo Lake to the initial saddle is excellent - CFI has been doing a great job improving the area. The climb to the summit from the saddle is excellent with moderate C3 climbing - no rockfall or loose debris should get in your way. The peak is experiencing summer-like conditions. 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-09-06, By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Via Rock of Ages - free and clear to summit. Super fun and busy day. 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-07-21, By: bsiegs
Info: Full summer conditions apart from one minor snowfield to cross (~30 ft long) along rock of ages trail. Fairly solid rock post false summit. 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-07-18, By: Istoodupthere
Info: Perfect morning on Wilson. On the traverse to the false summit, the first couple hundred yards it's tough to find the best route. Maybe a couple class 3 moves involved. The rest of the traverse is pretty easy. The ascent from the false summit wasn't bad at all and actually fun. Having someone there to help figure out the correct route made things much easier though. Thx Chris! Having copies of the pics from Bill's report are immensely helpful. Dark clouds started forming over the summit around 11:15. Didn't seem to amount to much though. 
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Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-07-14, By: jwagz13
Info: Using photos from previous posts with purple arrows (sorry not sure who posted), route finding pretty easy- at least for me. via Rock of ages once on "second saddle (post Rock of Ages) stayed a little low (but not all the way down) and was able to find route to false summit. As prev mentioned couple very minor snow patches (nothing needed). Clear day, clear summit. 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-07-09, By: bosnian2014
Info: Full ummer conditions in the class 3 section. A couple of minor snow crossings on switchbacks. We did not use traction at all. We found route finding to keep after false summit to be somewhat challenging with cairns hard to locate. Pictures from Bill's route description were very helpful. 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-07-08, By: jmfb3
Info: It was very wet, some snow was present in the very exposed sections. I'd recommend traction. I did not have any and still made it, but felt pretty insecure and wished I had some traction for the majority of the class 3 sections. Everything before the class 3 section was fine. The road up and mining road / navajo basin trail were all clear of snow. 
Route: Woods Lake Approach
Posted On: 2022-07-02, By: Peakr33_
Info: Woods Lake Trail was very easy to get to with a 2wd vehicle, and the trail itself was a nice, steady uphill. Just before you pass by Elk Creek Trail, tree line seems to start and the views are great. There are small forests around Navajo Lake to camp out in, great for keeping you from any windy conditions. Navajo Lake Trail is getting some maintenance and a diversion trail for restoration on the talus section beyond the peaceful lake, but the large cairns guide you true. Wilson Peak's climb had zero snow, and the recommended route was clear except for around the climber's right face of the false summit. You can make the climb as sketchy and hard as you like - and there's ample opportunity for that - but it seems if you stay on the regular beta the route is only slightly exposed and does a bit more occasional descending to climb. The peak has a small rock wall some people made for wind protection, the view from the top is great as expected. 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-27, By: earthinspired7
Info: Getting to Rock of Ages TH was easy. Creek crossing was only about 6" of water. No downed trees. Getting up to Rock of Ages saddle was a mess = choose your own steep loose scree route and avoid snow. Going to need some trail work in there to prevent erosion. Started at 6:30 - got to the first saddle at 10:30 and top of second saddle by 11am (partner wasnt feeling too good). Then I finished the last 750' of gain. First you have some exposed moves (still keeping it class 3) but once you get to the false summit.... Good luck keeping it class 3!!! It spooked me quite a bit and this is my 50th 14er. Id call this last little section class 4. I got to summit at 11:30 and was back down by my hiking partner at 12:10... back down to TH by 2:30. I met an old guy and instantly knew he was a badass when I noticed him crack a can of sardines open so I gave him a thing of Patagonia mussels to try out. Anyone who eats sardines on the trail is a good person in my book (dont worry, we pack out the tins) Had a forcast of 40-60% chance of rain by 9AM.... didnt get a single drop of rain all day. 
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Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-20, By: soundchaser2112
Info: Not full summer conditions yet. Still a few remaining small snowfields on the approach, spikes/poles/axe still highly recommended. Otherwise the route is largely dry except for a fresh 1" dusting of snow on the summit block that will melt soon 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-07, By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Status is pretty much the same as the report from 6/1. The last 1/2 mile of the road is blocked by downed trees but there are places to pull off the road below that point, as well as some camp spots down the road. I recommend micro spikes (at least) for the snowfield below Rock of Ages saddle. Beyond that, they are not needed. That snowfield was softening and greasy by 11:00am on our descent and we used ice axes. 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-06-01, By: NhRob
Info: Summitted Wilson Peak from the rock of ages approach. As previous reports mentioned, there is an impassible section of downed trees about .4 miles from the trailhead. I spent the night before and started my hike at a signed campsite .6 from the true trailhead. The road to this point was great and any 4WD should make it. Complete summer conditions for first 2.0 miles or so (from the true trailhead). Then from there, as you turn into silver pick basin, on and off snow patches that you'll probably want at least spikes for - as these patches are melting they are very slippery and there is a chance of slipping for some distance if you did fall. The most snow comes as you as you're getting up to the first saddle on the steep slope. That whole steep part is basically snow covered with a few small patches of dirt . The snow isn't too deep, but poses the same risk of slipping for a distance if you did fall. **I lost a microspike on the way down in this section, keep an eye out for it and if you see a black XL Kahtoola micro spike let me know!** From there, the rest of the route to the saddle between Wilson peak/Gladstone peak and onto the summit is essentially summer conditions, with a patch of snow here and there that you can cross quickly. I took my spikes off after the first saddle and left them off till I was back on it on my descent. Spent 15 minutes up on the summit then headed back down. I've attached all the photos I took today as well for anyone interested. Great day! 10.6 miles, 5:20 round trip including the extra .6 on either side. Left my car at 5:15a, summitted at 8:20a, 15 minutes on top, and I was back at my car at 10:35a. Took a second pair of boots and crampons / axe but never even considered taking them out today. Ready for the summer! 
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Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-05-29, By: jmg11
Info: Got Wilson Peak all to myself today 5/29! Great weather window and really fun final approach from the Wilson-Gladstone saddle. 10.6mi total. Started at 2:50am, finished at 11:40am. 5hrs to summit, 30min rest on summit, 3hrs back down. I got up the access road without issue in my stock AWD SUV. Unfortunately the TH is still inaccessible about 0.4mi back due to multiple downed trees. I parked in a established camping spot about 0.6mi back that can fit 2 parties comfortably. Rock of Ages Trail was in great shape. The old miners road helps with the longer approach. Very few downed trees throughout. Once you round the corner to Silver Pick Basin, snow crossings intermittently cover the trail. I got lucky with a freeze last night so I had no issues on the way up, but on the way down through those crossings (approx. 9-10:45am) I started post-holing and slipping due to the angle of the snow. It's possible that crampons would've alleviated that stress, but I packed the wrong boots so I didn't wear mine. Wore microspikes and used poles the whole day. As for the upper section of the trail, I thought it was well-cairned (found that out on my way down). Look for them- they exist! And as you can see in my pictures, it was very dry up there and all around the San Juans. West side of Wilson looked like terrible skiing conditions. Rocks popping out everywhere with huge sun cups filling every snowfield. End of ski season there IMO. Summer hiking is here in the SJs!! 
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Route: NW Face
Posted On: 2022-05-16, By: slawrence2011
Info: Road is dry until about .5 mile past the wooden sign right turn. Then some snow drifts that I didn't want to go past in my civic, and not long past that, tons of deadfall. Some of it required a lot of creativity to climb around. It will be a lot of work for someone to cut that out. There was one tree down low hanging above the road with about 7 feet of clearance on the right. I got my civic through, and I saw a truck barely get through. Also, mud is super bad on the road. I got my civic stuck deep turning around on the way out and had to get bailed out. Carrying full chains may be a good trick for mud down the road. Rock of ages trail has snow most of the way through the trees, which is very tricky without flotation, especially in the afternoon. First rocky switchback above the trees is dry, then more snow off and on, then full snow below Wilson. Snow was supportive for booter up from around 9-11 AM. That couloir Dawson describes is not visible from below, as it is on the far left side at the top and faces directly west. It still goes, but there are 3 distinct rock "cruxes" that frightened me downclimbing, though probably just scrambling on loose rock from a mixed perspective. The final scramble to the summit on loose was also a bit frightening, but that just might be Wilson all the time. Ski down was great, can ski back to a high switchback on the road right before it curves around. P.S., I also came up the same way and skied the NE (Coors) face on 5/6 based on a previous report. Dropped in at 10:20, way too late, but was too frightened to downclimb the couloir I described above. Little did I know the opening 200 feet was way harder to side step down in skis than the couloir would have been in boots. There was a moment I was hovering on rock balanced between tips seriously contemplating my survival. But I made it and the ski down was amazing. I tried to traverse far left, but didn't get nearly far enough, and ended up slogging/bushwacking and following intermittent snow on a drainage E of big bear creek. Finally, I found a trail, and followed it, and it took me all the way to the back gate of Rancho Deluxe way down low. I was graciously greeted by the kids and dogs of the owner, and they generously offered me a ride all the way back up to my car. I have to be careful about this to preserve access, but I am genuinely curious how you would approach that. Must just have to traverse way hard before you get too low. 
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Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2022-05-03, By: One Sierra Charlie
Info: Went up the NW Face and skied the NE Face (Coors Face). If you do this route you want to follow Dawson's advice and take the narrow couloir from the climber's left corner at the top of the NW Face snowfield. This leads to the summit ridge, very close to where the Coors line begins. It is also an easy 100 ft. stroll to the summit without any need for rock moves. The Coors line is not very well filled in this season, which limits the entry to the central gully to a single path that is barely a ski width wide in most places. Several rocks will be exposed as you descend, making anything that looks like skiing impossible, really. You can carefully sidestep into the central gully, which is much better filled in and you can start jump turns there. There are thinly-covered sharks in the upper section of the gully, however, so fast skiing would be a bad idea. The coverage gets much better as you descend the gully, but unfortunately it contains a cliffy dry section midway down. This section could possibly be downclimbed, but we did not ski down to check it out more closely. The obvious option is to traverse left, passing several other inviting gullies that also don't appear to go this season. If you want to ski the peak this season, I would recommend downclimbing the couloir and ski the well-covered NW face. Leave the Coors line for a season with better snowpack. 
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Route: Coors Face
Posted On: 2022-04-25, By: coopereitel
Info: Climbed the NW face of Wilson Peak and skied the Coors Face (NE) with David (Climberskierdave64). We started at 3:10 (at about 9,700'), summited at 9:20, and returned to the car at 12:15. The NW face is pretty straightforward. The crux wall was the primary challenge on this route with the mixed snow and rock, especially with ski boots and crampons. We spent a short time on the summit before hitting the descent. The Coors Face lives up to the hype. The section before you reach the central is crazy steep and has plenty of rocks poking through. We slowly worked our way in kicking off plenty of sluffs and chunks of wind slab (nothing propagated, or showed signs of propagation). Once in the couloir, it was still steep, but you could take a breath. We were still kicking off a bunch of sluff and made turns where the snow wasn't rocky. We had to cut right around a little cliff band that wasn't filled in and then took a sharp left and traversed away from the cliffs and gullies below (these gullies did not look in). From there, we were home free. The traverse back around to the car was simple and untrivial. Some of the photos are David's. 
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