OverviewThe El Diente/Mount Wilson Traverse is, according to Gerry Roach, one of the four great Colorado traverses. It is considered the easiest of the four. The other three in order of increasing difficulty are: Crestone Peak/Crestone Needle, Little Bear/Blanca and North Maroon Peak/Maroon Peak.
El Diente/Mount Wilson Traverse from the North. Credit: xskier77One can approach the traverse from either the Rock of Ages Saddle or the Navajo Lake Trailhead. The traverse can be done in either direction, but is described from El Diente to Mount Wilson here. El Diente/Mount Wilson Traverse from Mount Wilson. Credit: Peter Eliassen
Getting ThereFrom Lizard Head Pass, drive west on Highway 145 5.4 miles to a well-signed Dunton Road. Dunton Road is not plowed until May 15. Snowmobile travel is practical prior to snow removal. Drive Dunton Road 7.1 miles. The Navajo Lake Trailhead (9350') is 0.25 miles up a well signed spur road off Dunton Road. Any vehicle can make it to the trailhead.
El Diente/Mount Wilson Traverse form the Navajo Lake TH
Route DescriptionFrom the trailhead follow El Diente's West Ridge Route to El Diente's summit. Follow the ridge while avoiding difficultues to the north. Avoid the Organ Pipe gendarmes and another group of gendarmes by staying to the south. Regain the ridge, passing over a false summit ("West Wilson") at the approximate halfway point, then descend to a saddle at 13,980'. Descend slightly to a cleft on the south then reascend the ridge on class 3 rock to another saddle at 14,070'. Traverse to the north side of Mount Wilson's north ridge and follow it to the summit. There are many cairns, but are not distributed equally along the route. In some places there is a plethora and in some places none.
El Diente/Mount Wilson Traverse from El Diente. Credit: Ryan Schilling
Essential GearShoes. Rope and rack if uncomfortable on steep, exposed, fourth class rock.
Guide BookDawson's Guide to Colorado Fourteeners Vol. 2: The Southern Peaks