Peak(s):  Mt. Wilson  -  14,246 feet
Date Posted:  07/19/2007
Date Climbed:   07/17/2007
Author:  Old Ickabod
 Mount Wilson - Standard Route  

I had plans to do the Wilson Group, but was looking for a partner. Fortunately, I got in touch with Dave Keep the day before I left using We agreed to meet up at Navajo Lakes around 8pm. The hike in took a little under 3 hours and it was a great trail. I set up camp just West of the lake in the trees and it was a great spot. However, after our hike I found some even better spots a little further up the basin in the trees. I would recommend these to any future hikers.
Camp at Navajo Lakes
We made our introductions at 8pm and I learned that Dave was out from New York for about six weeks and he was trying to complete all of the Class 4 routes. We agreed to do Mount Wilson the following day and if possible, I would do the traverse to El Diente or Wilson Peak on my own.

We left camp at about 5:00am and headed up the basin on a strong trail. Aside from the talus/scree that made up the trail, it was a breeze. Once we reached the Upper Navajo Basin our objective was clear. We spotted a tall pole where the trail to Wilson Peak and Mount Wilson split and we began heading up the rounded shoulder toward Mount Wilson.
The route up Mount Wilson from the Rock of Ages saddle

There was some careful route finding, but the cairns are all there. We worked our way up toward the ridge, following cairns over steep talus. There were a few big loose rocks, but care and purposeful route finding overcame these.
Dave Keep takes a break at about 13,200

We got slightly off route a couple times and had to cross two small snow gullies about 15 feet wide. We had crampons and ice axe, but they were not necessary. Therefore, if your headed up Mount Wilson, leave them at home (Good News!). After traversing below the ridge, we found a strong trail that led to the notch.
Dave Keep scrambles toward the notch

From here, the route to the summit is obvious, up and along the ridge. Although I had led the whole route up until this point, I passed the torch to Dave to savor the last climbing and the summit. The climbing was on great rock and it was a fun climb to a wonderful summit. After recently being on Capitol, I would say that it was easier.
Old Ickabod on the summit of Mount Wilson

The traverse to El Diente looked like a lot of fun and there were only a couple clouds building to the West. However, we agreed that since Dave didn't want to do the traverse, it would be best to stick together for the downclimb. Anyone needing some company for the traverse let me know! I‘d be happy to help with the descent off Mount Wilson.
The traverse from Mount Wilson to El Diente

Dave chose to head down rather quickly and I enjoyed the summit for a few more moments. It was one of the best summits I've been on.
Dave Keep begins the descent from Mount Wilson's summit

I caught up to Dave at the Notch and our downclimbing was a bit slow. However, we were able to easily avoid all our snow by finding the cairns we missed on the way up. By the time we got to the Upper Basin, the sky was dark and I was glad that I hadn't done the traverse solo. By the time we returned to camp at 1pm, it was already raining and thundering. Dave headed out and the rain on my tent put me to sleep. My advice to anyone headed up there is to get an early start and carefully evaluate the weather before heading to a second peak.

Thanks to Dave for a great climb and plenty of compliments on route finding. I would hike with him again anytime. I did have a couple better vertical pics of the final crux that somehow turned into file errors on my camera, so sorry. Nevertheless, once your up there, you'll see that it's good to go!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Mt. Wilson
02/05/2011 00:22
We did the El Diente-to-Mt. Wilson traverse last week - I wish we had a weather day like that! Our day included some early, mild thunderstorms as we were finishing the ridge.

Old Ickabod

El Diente / Mount Wilson traverse
11/30/2010 17:28
The weather really comes in fast up there! I'm hoping to join up with a group in the future to do it. I'd be happy to help with route finding down from Mount Wilson. Also, speaking of help. rock! You're site is so helpful! I can't tell you how much I appreciate the data and support that you provide. Keep up the great work!


Nicely done
07/19/2007 20:31
Nice work! The hypoxia from the other mountain was clearly not affecting you on this peak.

Jim Davies

Thanks for the snow condition report!
11/30/2010 17:28
We're planning to go there this week (probably climbing Friday), and that is good news. Thanks for time timely report! Now we'll see if the weather cooperates...


Best routes up and down Mount Wilson in a day
06/10/2008 21:07
Two of us have climbed the Grand Teton with Exum about 7 years ago. Also climbs in Montanna and all of the 4000 footers in New Hampshire. If reasonably fit and in good shape what would be the best routes for a one day assault and about approximately how many hours to do it in.We plan on doing it during the first week in August. Any tips and pointers would be great. This will be my first 14000 footer.

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