Mount Wilson SoloThe alarm went off at 2:30. I was a little slow at first, but got with it in a few minutes. I was excited the night before and slept little. I pressed some lethal strength coffee and hit the road.
I arrived at the Navajo Lake TH at about 4:15. I made some last minute prep and hit the trail at 4:30 by head lamp. I’ll admit straight away that walking through the woods solo gives me a little anxiety, especially when I can’t hear because of the rushing river.
As I reached the first meadow, I first noticed on set of eyes. Then as I looked around, there were like seventy sets of eyes. I eased up to the first set and confirmed it to be a deer. They seemed to be at ease with me, as I went within a few feet of twenty of them.
I arrived at Navajo Lake in two hours. People were just beginning to stir and I shot some nice photos of lake and reflections. It wasn’t long until I had one set of climbers ahead and one behind. I found the appropriate shoulder of Mount Wilson and left the trail. I dipped water for a refill and headed up. Some fabulous third classing on fairly stable rock developed. I stopped for a refuel bread as soon as I was in the sun.
Onward and upward, more third classing. At the saddle, I shot some photos. I watched the couple I’d met, Al and Patty, negotiate the crux by a direct line. I eased down and left and found the easier line. It was still fairly exposed forth class and very fun. The summit was great, small and had spectacular views.
I had planned on trying the traverse to El Deinte. I was looking for the third class route to the left of the organ pipes. I ended up going too low and this cost me the traverse. I was cliffed out at one point. I continued to traverse and found a low fifth class gully that I down climbed. It was where me and Tom were bailed on our last attempt in the spring. I had thoughts of rejoining the traverse route on the west side of West Wilson. As I approached the saddle, some dark clouds rolled across the ridge. I then committed to a retreat down Kilpacker Basin.
The Kilpacker escape added some extra miles that I really didn’t appreciate, plus it gave me the opportunity to negotiate my favorite scree field. It also had a long stretch through the forest where I was endlessly attacked by flies and mosquitoes. During a river crossing, I had the misfortune of slipping off a rock and getting one foot soaked. Well only five or so miles left. After regaining the Navajo Lake trail it was mostly down hill and smooth sailing.
I was met in the parking lot by my family, which was a pleasant surprise. I rehydrated while my kids played in the river.