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Wheeler Peak (NM) Climber's Log

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Srtaylor1317Great winter hike!  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Mar 8, 2015
We had a great time hiking up via bull of the woods. A few comments and cautions for those considering a winter hike. Yes, it's definitely doable. You need snowshoes, but leave the crampons at home. You definitely need solid route finding skills and a good topo map.

There are quite a few trails in the area, and sticking to the right one was a challenge because most of the signposts were buried in 4 ft of snow. If you get to the meadow, just know you went a little too far! We camped in the trees about a mile after crossing the groomed ski trail, in the last heavily forested section of trail before attaining the ridge. If winter camping, don't try to make it all the way to La Cal Basin. Several sites recommend it for camping, but it's pretty exposed. We liked the protection from the wind the trees offered.

Even though we were mostly following tracks from 2 hikers who summitted the day before, the wind had completely obliterated all traces for long stretches. Once we hit the ridgeline we were frequently traveling over tundra because all the snow had blown away. No avalanche danger, and it seems unlikely any cornices would build up enough along the trail to be a danger. When we got to La Cal, we took the west ridge (off trail). That would be quite the scramble in summer but was easy in the snow. The return trip was straight forward enough, or should have been, but we didn't check the map enough and did briefly get confused about where the trail was supposed to be. Visibility started to deteriorate with an afternoon flurry, but we figured out our mistake soon enough and made it down without a hitch.
Posted Mar 9, 2015 11:15 am

Hiker4lifeWheeler Willies  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 2, 2007


Great hike dodging thunderstorms most of the day.
Posted Feb 28, 2015 10:23 pm

MountainHikerCOwith Walter  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 30, 2014


Started from the ski area. Nice day, a bit windy on top. Added the short side trip to Walter.
Posted Sep 1, 2014 10:15 pm

technicolorNHFrom Williams Lake  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 12, 2014


Two hours and forty five minutes to the summit from the trailhead. Only another thirty minutes to Old Mike. The last hour of the trip back I hiked with Virgil Popescu from California (Romania previously) who was a blast to talk and trade info with.
Posted Aug 28, 2014 9:00 am

jdzahariaUp Bull of the Woods, Down Williams Lake  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 7, 2014


Snow in several places, but hiking shoes and gaiters were sufficient. I feel bad that two of our group had to turn back before Frazer Mountain. Saw bighorn sheep on Frazer and on the ridge east of La Cal Basin. Summited just as the weather was getting pretty bad. I'm guessing we were the last ones to summit that day, leaving the summit at 2:00 pm. Down Williams Lake Trail, got to treeline about the time the lightning, rain, sleet, graupel started. Enjoyed a beer at the Bavarian, a soak in the hot tub at Alpine Village Suites, a great meal at Sabroso, just west of Arroyo Seco, and a peaceful sleep next to the Rio Hondo at Cuchilla campground.
Posted Jun 9, 2014 9:38 am

punchlineFrom Bull of the Woods  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 27, 2014


Camped at the Bull of the Woods/Twining trailhead. Up the Bull of the Woods/Wheeler Peak Summit Trail and down the Williams Lake Trail. Weather turned sort of questionable as we were approaching Mt. Walter but held off and ended up being a decent day. Used snowshoes starting at about mile 6 on the Bull of the Woods trail but met a guy that came up in trail runners from the Williams Lake trail. Just figured there would be too much postholing w/o the snowshoes! State Highpoint #14.
Posted May 30, 2014 9:14 pm

Bluebell08Winter climb  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Mar 12, 2014


Williams Lake trail to the new Wheeler Peak Summit trail, which was covered in snow and difficult to follow on the way up. Some post-holing but not too bad; used crampons although some rocky sections. Tagged Walter as well on the ridge and then descended the switchbacks that were visible and went down the same way to the Lake trail. NO wind at all, temps in the 30's but absolutely beautiful and warm with the sun! Big horn sheep near the summit. Highpoint #21.
Posted Mar 17, 2014 10:42 am

JBR1969Perfect Weather  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 17, 2009


From Williams Lake
Posted Mar 4, 2014 9:53 am

CarvNew Mexico   Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 20, 2012


Standard route solo.
Posted Jan 22, 2014 3:14 pm

iamrwoodWilliams Lake Trail  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 21, 2013


Made it to the top early in the morning, experienced a beautiful sunrise at Williams Lake before summiting!
Posted Jan 14, 2014 2:56 am

Adam Doc FoxHiking wit Cheech  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 21, 2012

Adam Doc Fox

My wife and I kept running into some dude that, even in the Alpine environment, kept da trees going.
Pretty sure he never made it down.
Posted Jan 10, 2014 7:42 pm

KevintheclimberSummit in early season   Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 5, 2012


Was fun, encountered 60 plus mph winds on summit.
Posted Dec 27, 2013 11:34 pm

MadGrad96Wheeler  Sucess!


Bull of the Woods and Williams Lake routes
Posted Nov 1, 2013 8:11 am

tknutilatknutila  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 9, 2013
My son and I climbed by the new Williams Lake trail last Sunday- very good hiking but still a difficult climb that I as a 63 year old irregular hiker should have trained more for, but I made it. Highlight aside from making the summit was getting within 50 yards of a herd of 10 bighorn sheep--amazing. Weather was spectacular. I would recommend this to anyone in reasonable condition- nice views and good hiking challenge plus even someone like me can make it up and back in 6-7 hours.
Posted Sep 12, 2013 8:41 pm

yadahzoemtnGreat Fun  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 2, 2012


Part of a great road trip to capture high points.
Posted Sep 3, 2013 8:29 pm

cullman1988Beautiful!  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 15, 2012


MY first above 12,000'. Loved it. Met David Clark and Hugh Wilson here and we hiked Mt.Elbert in August 2013 together. Amazing how hiking can change you and bring you out of your shell!
Posted Aug 30, 2013 11:02 am

ZeeJayNice hike  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 16, 2013


Nice hike via the Lake Williams trail.
Posted Aug 18, 2013 6:35 pm

mebo1126#7 State High Point!  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 12, 2013


Hiked this in conjunction with Mt. Walter via the new William's Lake trail. The views were beautiful, although the weather was a bit sketch. I really enjoyed seeing all the chubby marmots along the way!
Posted Aug 12, 2013 9:07 pm

mcmurdosoundgreat hike  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 11, 2013


started early but thunderstorms rolled in about 8 am. we drove out from CA to do wheeler peak so we decided to wait the storm out. about an hour later we finished the hike to the summit and loved it. i'll be the blasphemous dude who thought Wheeler and Walter were more impressive than Mt. Elbert! We took the new Williams Lake Trail which was very well marked. I thought it was pretty strenuous, but it was a nice relatively short hike. Saw lots of big horn sheep, massive marmots, and some sort of guinea hen looking bird. this was actually probably the highlight of my hiking trip to Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.
Posted Aug 12, 2013 8:44 pm

Zachary Andrew5 peaks  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 3, 2013

Zachary Andrew

Got to Williams Lake Trailhead at about midnight and hiked to the lake in the pitch black. Arrived at the lake at about 2am. Woke up to stunning scenery and summited at about noon. While you are there you might as well get in Old mike, Simpson, Walter, and Frazer peaks for a 5 peak day. Camped in the La Cal Basin 2nd night. Made the mistake of trying to bushwhack my way down a super steep (70% Grade at max) valley next to Frazer, to avoid the boring and long bull-of-woods trail. Don't do it... I fell 16 times, and with a 20kg backpack you'll be somersaulting down the mountain. Certainly a quick, but not pleasant way to get down.
Posted Aug 12, 2013 1:54 pm

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