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Wheeler Peak (NM) Climber's Log

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Foxy Long BottomsRainy  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 5, 2009

Foxy Long Bottoms

Climbed Jemez Valley, Walter and Wheeler Peaks.
Posted Sep 6, 2009 11:32 pm

MothSigns and Maps needed  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 1, 2009
Climbed Wheeler Peak on a September Tuesday. Never saw another hiker. SummitPost said trails were well marked. Links to printing maps weren't working, so I took off up from Williams Trailhead (no map on the sign) without a map. Mistake.

There is parking at the trailhead but the signs say not to park overnight. I parked along the road and slept in the car since it poured in the afternoon. Didn't feel like dealing with soggy everything in the morning.

The trail is beautiful, never lost it in spite of a talent for losing the trail. The scree slope isn't as bad going up as it sounds like it would be going down.

Beautiful weather at the top, mountain sheep, lots of time to climb and read the cool placques. Brought what I thought was too heavy rain gear but ended up using all of it because...

There are three trails at the top. The sign at the intersection lost its paint decades ago. One goes from peak to peak. Bull in the Woods angles off. There is a no trespassing sign to continue in one direction but there are trails along the West side of that mountain and no sign to say where they lead.

Since there was plenty of time I took what seemed like Bull-of-the-Woods trail down. It is probably is easy to follow going up but going down well-maintained trails split off with little indication of what goes where. I'll assume the cairns marked the Bull-of-the-Woods trail but I don't know.

A sign at Horseshoe Lake would be helpful. You know you have to go down to get back to TSV, so down it was. Mistake. The cairns go up.

The woods were beautiful. The marmots weren't begging. No snakes. Trail was clear.

First sign. East Fork Red River, by a river. Hand done sign says HE, Higher Elevation? Third direction says nothing. Red River is a river and a town. I don't know the name of the river that runs along Taos Ski Valley, but the trail is well-maintained so I follow it. Mistake.

Long trail. Mostly heading North and East. Sometimes South. I don't know where the heck it's going. Historic markers. Entering Wheeler Peak Wilderness. That's right. Elizabethtown Ditch. Um. Where's Elizabethtown? Never heard of it. Rain and Hail.

East Fork Trailhead sign map has almost no correlation to the names on the roads you come to. Like it says you come to 503 but that road says 579. Hunter gives me a ride to Red River (the town, yeah). Hot Shots Firefighter gives me a ride to Questa. Artist gives me a ride back to TSV before dark, so see, it all worked out fine. But lessons learned. Always bring a map. A sign in crucial spots or even at the top, and a trail map at the Trailhead sure would have been helpful.

Posted Sep 3, 2009 8:03 am

BadgerSummitSeekerState HP # 15  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 30, 2009


Had an unsuccessful attempt around Memorial day due to a snow/ice storm above La Cal basin and losing the trail numerous times. This time in August had no trouble though. Didn't see too many people out on the trail today. Went up BOTW trail and descended via Williams Lake trail (which I regret). The Williams Lake trail was an awful descent down a scree slope. Slow going! Maybe it wouldn't have been as bad going up as it is coming down. Overall it was a great hike with awesome scenery and was my first 13er and highest elevation so far. Loved it!
Posted Sep 2, 2009 1:07 pm

ericwillhiteNo map but I found the way  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 15, 1998


Went up on a whim in 1995 after a driving Mexico trip fell apart near Mazatlan (another story). Info at my site http://www.willhiteweb.com/state_highpoint/new_mexico/wheeler_peak_166.htm
Posted Aug 18, 2009 2:36 am

tdawsonWe Made It!  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 15, 2009
My husband and I climbed to the summit last year early in August. It was our first "real" hike. It was warm and beautiful. This year we decided that our kids (7, 15) could make it. They did great, but the weather was very cold. We weren't well prepared. We should have had gloves and jackets. Youngest said at Williams Lake, looking up, I am going to catch a cloud. He did it, but catching a cloud wasn't as fun since it was so cold and windy! I was proud of my kids!
Posted Aug 17, 2009 9:50 pm

Bark EaterCold, rainy day  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 14, 2009

Bark Eater

Round trip via Williams Lake with old TOC buddies Linda, Fernando, and Paul. The weather left a bit to be desired. Light to moderate rain in the woods turned to a wind-driven gale above tree line with wind chills in the 20s on the ridge. The trek up from the lake was easier than I expected..it's really a pretty good trail, not a scree climb. Made it to the top in 2h30m without a lot of effort.

Stuck around the next day for the Taos Mtn. Music Festival at the ski area....perfect weather for that. Hope to come back some time and enjoy the views from the top.
Posted Aug 17, 2009 12:41 pm

SDRFirst major climb  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 3, 2009
My plan was to wait at Williams lake with our 6 yr old son while dad went to the summit. It didn't work out that way, we decided that all three of us would give it a try. Our son and myself in our sneakers, made it to the top. A few times I wanted to quit but perseverance prevailed. It took a lot longer than it should of, but for the toughest hike I have ever done I really didn't care. My son was a real trooper and was congratulated on the way down, I am so proud of him. No regrets it was magnificent and I would do it again in a heart beat (as long as I have better footwear) We saw 4 big horn sheep and a few other critters that my son was amazed by. Bring on the next one!
Posted Aug 10, 2009 4:28 pm

truth1117111st 13K+  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Aug 8, 2009


Started solo at Base of Taos Ski Area about 7:30. Funny thing is that when I got to the trail head and map there were 2 different couples analyzing what way they'd take according to the map. After listening to them a couple minutes and watching them backtrack in a lost fashion, I just started walking. Went up Bull of the Woods trail to Wheeler Peak trail and arrived at peak about 10:30. Great climb up. Met a few people on ascent. Very windy and chilly at top. Spent 15-20 at top before starting back down. Passed and talked to a lot more people on descent, but that 8 miles down about ruined the knees. Would I do it again??? Maybe. But now I'm setting my sights on some 14ers in my home state of CO. Enjoy!
Posted Aug 8, 2009 11:59 pm

395guysecond state highpoint with my son  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 1, 2009


My 10yo son and I hiked the Bull of the Woods trail to the summit. He did awesome. I was very proud of him for doing his longest hike yet. I let him set the pace and I followed. He was upbeat and positive all the way up and down. Second of three state highpoints in a 6-day span (also AZ & CO).
Posted Aug 6, 2009 10:57 pm



Straight from sea level to wheeler peak via williams lake in bad weather. Never again.
Posted Jul 18, 2009 9:44 pm

Dennis PoulinStandard Route  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Sep 29, 2008

Dennis Poulin

Nice climb on a beautiful day. Saw a few sheep on distant ridges.
Posted Jul 15, 2009 12:49 pm

osatrikMy 40th SHP, in 1993  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Apr 14, 1993


Daughter Vanessa and I hiked up through the ski area. We were glad that some backcountry skiiers had kicked steps up to the top of the ridge, but when we got there we found ourselves in a whiteout. Pulled out the compass and made our way out the ridge. Weather cleared a bit before we got to the top, making finding the summit marker easier.
Posted Jul 13, 2009 7:23 pm

Liba KopeckovaNice hike

Liba Kopeckova

Went up via Bull of the Woods, and descended to Lake Williams. Nice snow. No people. My dog had fun.
My 3rd time up.
Posted Jul 8, 2009 9:00 pm

txhiker76Great Hike!  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 22, 2009


Went up on the Bull of the Woods route, came down the Williams lake route. Lost the trail a couple of time on the way up because of the snow. Weather was great all day.
Posted Jul 6, 2009 1:57 pm

Alex Wood9 Peak Day  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jul 2, 2009

Alex Wood

Climbed the ridge from Kachina all the way to Wheeler. We hit Kachina Peak...An unnamed peak, Lake Fork Peak, "Bighorn Peak",Pt 12,728, Simpson, Old Mike, Wheeler, and then Walter. Started at 7:20am and then finished at 5:30. We started at the Williams Lake Trailhead. Amazing day! The weather somehow cooperated with us the whole time. Very fun traverse. Saw lots of Elk, Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goats. SO MUCH FUN!!
Posted Jul 3, 2009 6:04 pm

Alex WoodAwesome Day  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 27, 2009

Alex Wood

Climbed via the Bull of the Woods Trail...went up to Bull of the Woods Peak, Mt. Walter, and then Wheeler...the weather started rolling in so we took the Williams Lake Trail back. Great day. Williams Lake is wayyy cool and so is the water fall behind the lake. Hiked it with Tad and Killeen, both Rangers with me at Philmont.
Posted Jun 27, 2009 9:58 pm

jeffh25Sideways Sleet  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 20, 2009


Went up and back Williams Lake in 5 1/2 hours. It's tougher than I thought though and I wouldn't do it without trekking poles. It was 50-60 degree vertical wet scree near the top. That combined with temps in the mid 30's, rain and sleet blowing sideways and the summit wasn't a fun place but once I was done I appreciated it that much more.
Posted Jun 22, 2009 5:11 pm

TheRootsterBull o' Woods  Sucess!


A great hike with Carla--nice respite being up at the ski area after the holiday-weekend biker rally down in Taos (arrrgh!). Nice easy hike up and back through varied terrain. The only sour note was the guy we met coming down. He was hiking up with his dog, who had just caught and killed a marmot. Ugh. Later we enjoyed post-climb beers at that German restaurant above the resort--nice way to end the day.
Posted Jun 21, 2009 1:52 pm

skinnywhitecomicHP #20  Sucess!
Date Climbed: Jun 16, 2009


Like others before ne, I hiked the Bull of the Woods trail, and descended via the Williams Lake trail. Absolutely beautiful weather, it could not have been any better! It was difficult for me, as I had never hiked a mountain like that before so I had a Rocky moment when I reached the top ("Yo Adrian!!"). It gave me a very good idea of what to expect from mountains out west.
Posted Jun 19, 2009 5:19 pm

Holsti97Williams Lake Trail in May  Sucess!
Date Climbed: May 21, 2009


Left the Williams Lake Trailhead at 5:30 AM and hiked up a snowy trail to Williams Lake. Hiked up the steep trail past the lake on dirt and rock when possible. Saw some Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep on top of the mountain. Reached the summit at 10 AM. We were the first to sign the register since January. Marmots entertained us on the way down. Glissaded down to Williams Lake and reached our vehicle at 1:30. A rewarding climb with Ryan, Ed, and Tom. HP #39.
Posted May 24, 2009 10:45 pm

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