Peak(s):  Mt. Wilson  -  14,246 feet
Date Posted:  05/01/2013
Date Climbed:   04/29/2013
Author:  kenny
Additional Members:   Ben
 The Final Exam   

Mt Wilson | Climb via Slate Creek | Boxcar Couloir Ski Descent


With medical school graduation approaching, the usual team headed south for a final 14er ski descent together.

Many thanks to the Benners group who wrote an excellent TR a month ago for this line. I won't add too much in this report regarding the route, as others have described it well in past reports.We departed Denver and headed to the deserted ghost town of Telluride to catch a decent night of sleep.
Arriving after 6pm on a Sunday makes for an interesting time finding a place to eat. After hitting the jackpot with some Detroit style pizza, alarms were set and we looked forward to the fun tomorrow.Departure from the trailhead was around 5:25am and unfortunately began with hiking boots for the first 3/4 of a mile. The shoes were cached and exchanged for skis at that point and we began the trek up the Cross Mtn trail turning left into the forest after hitting 11,000' and contoured over to the Slate Creek meadow. Snow was supportive and great for skinning.




Up in the Slate Creek drainage, the snow became dust covered quickly and began to soften in the hot late-April sun.
Chris and the dusty snow

The views of the San Juan's as the route continued up the ramp were absolutely stunning.

The awesome views up the ramp

Route up to the summit


Snow consistentcy was becoming soft but not concerning. At times a bit of a crust was apparent but it would likely soften by the time we descended. When the skinning got too precarious as the slope steepened, we began the bootpack.

Up in the col, the sun's intensity amplified and made the temperature feel somewhere around 80 degrees.
Topping out at the col

To El Diente

Most skis were left at the col as the summit ski was not in, and we began the short Class 4 climb up to the summit. There was very little snow for this last 50 feet so we had to negotiate the wonderfully loose Wilson group rock with ski boots.
Scramble Up


The summit fit the four of us and some gear, that was about it. It makes it to the top of my list of favorite places above 14k.

Returning to the col

The snow was just past the point of being perfect up top as the sun had softened it quite well. There were no wet slides as we ascended and only minimal slough during the ski down.



Approaching the Boxcar entrance


The Boxcar entrance was dry for about 20' of downclimbing. Then we clicked in and began the classic descent.

The rest of the pictures show the Type 1 fun had by all.

The snow is melting out quickly in the San Juans and with the settling snowpack the window for good continuous lines is getting shorter by the day.

Back at the TH, after a cold muddy foot soak in the creek, priorities changed to food and hydration and we set out toward Telluride, taking in the magnificence of the unforgettable San Juans.

Be safe. Seek untraveled roads. Wear more sunscreen and always remember to put in a good bootpack.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Yeah boys!
05/01/2013 16:40
Way to get Wilson before it melts out! Crazy how much the dust has melted through in that Basin.


The Boxcar rocks!
05/01/2013 17:01
One of my faves. I can't believe how dirty the snow is, looks like it's melting in a hurry. Nice job!


thats quite a melt
05/01/2013 18:02
That meadow near the trailhead was covered in about 3 feet of snow end of March. Crazy.

Slate Creek sure is a fine way to experience that mountain, probably the best way. Your image #11 is the reason why. Boxcar is just the icing (very tasty icing) on the cake.

Nice TR.


solid work
05/01/2013 18:35
such dirt and meltage, but you don't care cause you're on wilson and nor should you because skiing in the san juans is just about as good as it gets, laid back.


Nicely done!
05/01/2013 18:46
Good job getting a cool route; awesome photos too!


05/01/2013 18:47
Great job gents - looks like a nice day!!


I dont know how to tell you this . . . .
05/01/2013 21:06
but you guys are sort of a big deal. . . . people know you.

Freaking awesome guys!!


05/01/2013 21:30
Lookin good fellas. That parking lot shot shows how fast the melt is occuring but glad to see the route higher up stayed good for you. Nice skiing and congrats to everyone involved!


Well Done!
05/01/2013 23:05
Great route and ski. Nice TR


Great TR
02/12/2015 02:37
My friend Luke and I did this route on 4–27–13. We came at the summit from the Slate Creek Cirque to the North Ridge though. The Boxcar will live in my memories for quite a while to come! Crazy how much dirtier the snow is getting up there in just 48 hours! Thanks for posting this... fun times up there for sure!

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