Peak(s):  Wilson Peak  -  14,017 feet
Date Posted:  09/16/2010
Date Climbed:   09/05/2010
Author:  lackerstef

 Wilson Peak from Bilk Basin  

Quick Note: Be sure to check out Youtube videos attached at the end of this report!

A friend of mine and I returned to the Coast Guard Academy mid-August to start our senior year. We had both spent some time in Colorado this summer (home for me, family for him) and spent most of our time backpacking/climbing. After only a couple weeks of school we both decided we had to get back to that Rocky Mountain High. A friend of mine had Wilson Peak as one of a handful remaining on his list. Seeing that we had a long weekend because of Labor Day, we decided to make the journey from New London, CT to Telluride, CO to make the climb with him and one of his friends. Now, onto the meat of the climb....

Nate and I arrived at DIA at 11pm on 03SEPT2010. My family was out of town so we picked up a rental car and made the quick trek to Monument for a quick night's rest. Woke up at 0700 on Saturday to rendevous with Phil and Greg and left for Telluride around 0800. After a quick stop in Salida and Ridgeway, we arrived at the Bilk Basin trailhead (labeled Lizard Head TH) at about 1600 Image
Bilk Basin (Lizard Head) Trailhead
. See this link for info on getting to the TH: Getting to Bilk TH

Once you arrive at the trailhead start following the easy trail (flat for about 1.5 miles). The trail eventually seems to come to an end before it crosses bilk creek (some flat wood pieces are laid for the crossing and the trail reappears). The elevation begins to increase with switchbacks after the crossing. The scenerey here is amazing! Image
After the crossing Bilk Creek and looking back.
. Continue hiking up until you eventually reach timberline. After the crossing, you will see some old wreckage of a trailer and an option to turn right or left. Stay left and keep climbing up (this intersection is pretty obvious).

After gaining elevation to timberline, you will begin to see more trail high and to your right (North). You have the choice to take it easy on the switchbacks or cut over some loose rock to gain elevation quicker (be sure not to head to Lizard Head). Image
Approaching timberline where it is a must to stay right to get to Bilk Basin.
After about another 1 or 2 miles from this picture you will crest a ridge and be able to look down (about 100ft) at Bilk Basin. Here is a picture of the basin from further up on the trail. Image
Looking back at Bilk Basin

We set up camp just before sunset and we were able to use the lake and creek to refill our water supply. After getting all set up we decided that we would get up at 0530 (a bit later than the usual 0400 wake-ups) and head for the summit. The weather was most excellent and we were even able to start a small fire to examine next day's route exactly.

After a good night's rest, we woke up at 0530 and took our time getting ready and eating breakfast. It's amazing that after so much traveling to get to base camp, I now actually felt the least rushed out of the entire trip. We hit the trail at about 0630 (yes, we REALLY did take our time getting ready) and once again we were delighted with the perfect weather. Once on the trail again, head up towards the loose rock as pictured and eventually head south towards the ridge between Gladstone Peak and Wilson.Image
Leaving Bilk Basin Heading towards the saddle.
You will approach some miner wreckage where you start to go around the mountain on your final approach to the saddle. Image
Some old miner wreckage.
As you get within a couple hundred feet (elevation) of the saddle, you will be able to see an old miners house.Image
Looking at the Miners Cabin before heading to the saddle.
This makes for a great stop before the climb begins to enter Class 3 terrain. If you ever needed to hunker down here, this a great place to do so before getting stuck up high on the Class 3 portion of the mountain. Again, here is a quick look back at the route up from the basin. Image
Another look at the route thus far.

From the cabin, you can look up (West) towards the saddle between Gladstone and Wilson and you should be able to see a Cairn if you look closely. Head to that (it takes about 10 minutes from the cabin). From here, head up the ridge to Wilson (some class 3 moves required here depending on the route you take). Here you can see the top of the saddle (from the ridge leading to the Summit). Image
From the saddle, things start to get a little tricky.
Now, as pictured in the trip report, make this rout to the false summit, (the beginning of the crux). Image
The remaining route (not my picture here).

From the false summit, you can see the remaining route to the summit. Just drop about 50ft to the coulier pictured. Image
A look at the crux of the climb.
After you follow this, you will have a quick scramble left. This is what it looks like climbing down from the false summit. Image
Heading down the false summit enrout to the coulier.
Here is some moves over to the coulier. Image
Climbing over to the coulier.
Here is a quick look up the coulier.Image
Climbing down the coulier.
By now your heart is racing from the exposure and the remaining scramble usually becomes a rock hop sprint.

TOP OUT! Image
Phil and I on the Summit
Group Shot
Nate and I

After climbing back down, it was off to the airport to catch our flight back to school. Won't be back until Christmas.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Definitely Camp
11/05/2010 16:29
My Dad and I tried to do the whole thing all the way from the trailhead. We made it just above the cabin by 11 or so but the weather wasn't cooperating so we turned back. The fog cleared later and we saw how much climbing we would have had....good choice camping at the lake! This is a looong hike from the trailhead


09/17/2010 02:11
Most Excellent report Kyle! I am looking forward to the next Class IV or V!



09/17/2010 23:26
Can't wait!


Looks amazing!
06/29/2011 18:31
I wouldnt be able to do that technical of a hike....but it looks awesome! Thanks for posting! And for the photo too! . I added the credit!

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