Mount Wilson

Southwest Slopes
Difficulty Class 3 
Risk FactorsExposure: High
Rockfall Potential: Considerable  
Route-Finding: Considerable  
Commitment: Considerable  
Start10,100 feet
Summit14,256 feet
Total Gain4,400 feet
RT Length12.50 miles
Last UpdatedOct 2022
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From Telluride, drive south on Colorado 145 to Lizard Head Pass. Continue south for 5.2 miles and turn right onto Forest Road (FR) 535. Drive 5 miles on the 2WD dirt road to reach the signed, Kilpacker trailhead on the right.


Follow the Kilpacker Approach to reach 12,600' and junction for El Diente Peak's south slopes route - 1. The rocky Kilpacker "trail" pretty much ends here and this junction is no more than a couple of cairns so don't expect anything super obvious.

For Mt. Wilson's southwest slopes route, look for small cairns and continue east along the north side of the basin - 2. Near the end of the basin, angle northeast into a drainage which leads to Mt. Wilson - 3. Continue up the drainage ( 4) to 13,200', where you get a better look at the remaining route - 5. Hike to a large talus pile and a turn left before continuing up to 13,700' - 6. The remaining route is straight ahead but avoid ugly terrain by climbing left onto some rocks, just below the El Diente-Mt. Wilson connecting ridge - 7.

Taken from the El Diente-Mt. Wilson traverse, 8 shows the remaining route. In short, you want to ascend partway up a gully, cross over a rock rib and ascend another gully to a notch and then up to the summit. After ascending the rocks in 7, turn right to see the remaining route - 9. Now near 13,800', traverse under the cliffs on some loose rock and enter the gully - 10. Ascend it for a short distance and locate the rib crossover location seen in 11. Turn right, make a few Class 3 moves to gain the rib ( 12 and 13) and step over to see the southern gully. Drop a few feet into this gully and begin climbing along its side - 14 and 15. Before you get too much higher, be sure to make a mental note of the crossover if you plan to descend via this route - 16 and 17. Climb the gully to reach a notch in Mt. Wilson's south ridge and turn left to climb the final, 150-foot pitch - 18, 19, 20 and 21. This is the crux of the route but it's easy to keep the difficult at Class 3. 22 shows the beautiful view of Wilson Peak and Gladstone Peak (13,913').


IMPORTANT: This route enters the Lizard Head Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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Caution: The information contained in this route description may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this route description provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the route description author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

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