Peak(s):  Mt. Wilson  -  14,246 feet
Date Posted:  08/04/2009
Date Climbed:   08/02/2009
Author:  DHatfield
 Winding it up on Mount Wilson  

Mount Wilson (14,246') - Dolores County Highpoint
Partner(s): Susan Paul
Trailhead: Woods Lake
Route: Northeast Ridge
Distance: Approx. 14.25 miles
Elevation Gain: Approx. 5,800'

We started from Woods Lake and hiked up to about 11,200 feet in Navajo Basin and pitched camp. I've hiked into the Wilsons via Kilpacker to the south side, Kilpacker to Navajo to the north side, from Bilk Basin for Gladstone, and from Woods Lake, and this is one of the best routes in. Bilk has better waterfalls though. There were many people camped up in the basin this weekend and I figured more than likely we would have some company on Mount Wilson.

The next morning we continued up the talus trail from camp to the start of the northeast ridge of Mount Wilson and arrived just as it started getting light out. From the start of the ridge we were able to follow a trail that heads up the ridge to about 13,100 or so before it becomes more of just following cairns in a jumble of large rocks.

From about 12,800 feet, looking southwest toward Mount Wilson (actual summit is hidden behind ridge).

Another climber that was quickly catching up with us happened to be another member, Spider, who was finishing his final 14er this day so he climbed the rest of the route with us. As the ridge climbed more steeply we stayed left (east) instead of heading west like the cairns went and found the rock much more solid, allowing for more enjoyable scrambling. At around 13,500 feet we started to traverse across the steep rocky slope toward the notch, crossing a couple of horribly loose gullies in route and after reaching a notch in the ridge the rock became much more solid again as we climbed to the upper notch where we rejoined the regular route up Mount Wilson.

Approaching the notch.

Up and over the notch.

From here the summit was just a short distance away and the really fun scrambling began. We took the high route up the airy ridge instead of doing the optional route up the face.

Short traverse toward summit pitch.

Now climb up.

The rock is very solid in this section and soon we arrived on the summit. Congrats on Colorado county highpoint #45 Susan!

Who put this crap on the register?

"South Wilson" (14,110')

"West Wilson" (14,100') and El Diente.

Looking northwest at Point 13,123 (left) and Point 13,498 (right).

Looking north Point 13,498 (left) and Point 13,540.

Looking northeast at Wilson Peak.

Looking northeast at Gladstone Peak.

Now go down.

Lovin' the rock.

Keep going.

Ahh... Lizard Head.

We lounged for a while on the summit enjoying the wonderful weather before we departed and started heading over to "West Wilson," however shortly before getting all the way there we turned around due to the weather starting to deteriorate.

Starting the traverse over to "West Wilson".

You need to be on the north side

So "West Wilson" and "South Wilson" will have to wait for another day, as we are working on the 75 list. Maybe a snow climb would be best.

Weather still looks good.

Bye-bye Mount Wilson.

After returning back to the notch just below the summit we returned via the regular trail if that's what one can call it, as it was much looser than the way we came up, and after getting about way down it started to graupel and rain on us for a bit. Near the bottom of the ridge we met three climbers heading up which I thought was kind of strange considering the late hour; hopefully they made it up and back down safely. Arriving at camp tired we decided to take a nice nap since we weren't packing out until the next day.

Reflecting back on a great weekend in the Wilsons!

The next day we enjoyed a leisurely backpack out to Woods Lake before heading on home. We stopped in Montrose at Rib City Grill for some sweet tea, fresh salad and spicy barbeque, and we split a big slice of pecan pie with whipped cream on it. It was delicious and a really good way to end the weekend.

What a great weekend and it was great climbing with you again and look forward to the next time!!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

02/05/2011 00:22
as always. Susan, what kind of gloves are you wearing? I tore the crap our of mine on Wetterhorn this past weekend and want to replace with something a little sturdier.


Manzella Silk Weight Windstopper
08/05/2009 02:04
Light, warm, windproof - and very grippy! Quite nice on the class 3 stuff. Hey - congrats to you on all that work in the San Juans, Dave. I keep seeing your trip reports pop up on Facebook - I need to go read them. See you Thursday night, for the ”live” version!


08/05/2009 03:26
for both the glove info and the our summit successes. Everytime I try to change something, it seems to add it to Facebook. There are multiple FB entries, but the official reports are here on this site including our lighting moments. See you Thursday.

Kevin Baker

14er finisher!
08/05/2009 05:17
Congrats on finishing the 14ers, Susan! Now you can focus on those more important county lists and Doug can quit doing repeats. Where‘s the sports bra, Doug?


11/30/2010 17:28
I love doing the repeats (haven‘t really done that many anyway) especially on the 14ers so I can gain more experience for the 13ers not to mention I like to meet new faces on the trail while hiking in the mountains. As to the sports bra, I really wanted to and would have, however I couldn't find a 42 Double A that fit well and I really didn‘t want to scare everyone off the site with such a picture.

Chicago Transplant

Nice Job!
08/05/2009 17:26
Congrats Susan! I guess I didn‘t realize you hadn‘t finished them yet, but then again the list of 75 goes on...

Great TR as usual Doug! mmm Rib City, I may just have to stop there on Monday when I get out of the Grenadiers


08/05/2009 21:45
Mike! You should stop there its great and very reasonably priced too. Have fun in the Grenadiers! I hope to get there next summer.


Thanks Kevin & Mike
08/05/2009 22:00
Yup, just winding up the ”traditional” list. Of course, I still have to go back and tag that damn block on Sunlight (not the top of the slab - the block that you have to jump over to.) And then there are the other 7: West Wilson, South Wilson, East La Plata, North Snowmass, Northeast Crestone, Southeast Longs and Massive Green, to finish the whole ”75” List. Next year...

If it were up to me, that Gerry Roach dude would get off his duff and find a new unranked 14er for us every year... ”Finisher” sounds too much like ”Finished” for my taste :-)


Congrats, Susan
01/19/2011 03:38
You've done so much besides ranked 14ers that this may just be another feather in your cap, but it seems South Wilson gave you the slip once again... We can finish lists, but squelching that drive to get out there isn't about to happen, is it? I can‘t see you ever being finished
Thumbs up!!!! Aren't county highpoints fun?


Well Done!
08/06/2009 17:46

Jim Davies

Nice finisher!
08/06/2009 19:39
Congratulations, Susan, on finishing ”the” list! (if not the only list). If you need a longer list, try here; there are at least 20 more 14er sub-peaks to keep you busy.


08/10/2009 19:05
You just keep mowing them down. Awesome!
Queen of the Mountain Top!
Finished? Hardly, you are just beginning!

Brian C

Great job
08/23/2010 14:48
Great trip report on a great climb!


08/19/2009 16:05
Matt, Piper, Jim (I think :-), Uwe and Sax...

Yup Matt, the county highpoints sure keep things interesting :-) A nice alternative to the more popular lists - heck, I may just do another one this week!

Sax - after meeting you and your buddies on Castle/Conundrum, I checked out all your TRs here, and lo and behold, ended up on Elephant Butte shortly after that. Your report on that one was pretty helpful, and the photos had me pretty excited about it. So now I‘m adding ”National Park Highpoints” to my list-o-lists... and congrats on the Elks! I am sooo behind on my TR reading!

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