East Wilson is a three sided pyramid that sits .65 miles SE of Wilson Peak
in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. As the crow flies it is 11.3 miles north of the Center Park Trailhead
. Kings Peak, the highpoint of Utah, lies 4.15 miles to the east, across upper Yellowstone Basin.
At 12779 feet, East Wilson with prominence of only 439 feet, ranks 31 on Scott's list of Utah 12,000+ Foot Peaks with 200+ Feet Prominence
. There are no short routes to the summit. The two that are mentioned here are both about 30 miles round trip. Most people would want to take 3 days to climb it and get some other peaks while they are at it. The best months to climb are July, August, and September.
East Wilson viewed from Paul Benchmark
From the summit one can see Mount Wilson to the NW, Mount Powell to the NE, Kings and South Kings Peak to the East, and Mount Emmons to the South East. Much of the Kings Peak to Mount Emmons ridge is visible. To the west lies Garfield Basin and Porcupine Peak (12892).
Kings Peak and S Kings Peak
Access from the south is via the Center Park Trailhead
Group size is limited as per wilderness area rules. Many lakes have proximity restrictions. These restrictions change from time to time so check the sign board at the trailhead to see what restrictions are currently in place.
There are 5 established campgrounds near the Center Park Trailhead as descriped in the trailhead page
. There are numerous places to camp in Garfield Basin.
From Center Park on the south
Start at the Center Park Trailhead
and head north on the trail to Garfield Basin. After about 12 miles, leave the trail at N40 44.051 W110 27.856 and head cross country to the saddle between Wilson and East Wilson and then ascend East Wilson's NW ridge.
Alternatively, you could take the Garfield Basin Trail all the way to the Highline Trail to just southwest of Tungsten Lake and then turn left/northwest on the Highline Trail. Follow the Highline Trail until you see a convenient spot to turn off for the Wilson-East Wilson saddle. This would add another 1-2 miles each way.
From the saddle you mostly follow East Wilson's NW ridge. The cliffs on the ridge might look intimidating from below, but they are easily skirted to the west. It is at most easy class 3 with no exposure, but you need to be careful because the rock is loose in a few places. Mostly following the trail but going cross country in Upper Garfield Basin as shown on the map it is 30 miles round trip with 4000 feet of elevation gain on the way in and 1685 feet of gain on the way out. But, why go all that distance for just one peak. All seven of the peaks above 12000 feet ringing Garfield Basin can be done in one trip and if you're going to get one you might just as well get them all. See Garfield Basin Rim Loop
Skirting the cliffs of East Wilson
To descend, it is probably easiest to not go all the way back to the saddle, but to just go straight down the southwest side at a convenient place, ideally one where you can see the bottom so that you know you can avoid the cliff bands lower down. The side consists mostly of soft shaley dirt on which it is easy to make fast downwards progress. Towards the bottom, there are some very short cliff bands that you'll need to find chutes through. You need to be careful through the chutes as you will encounter loose rock in addition to the dirt.
Southwest face of East Wilson
The SSE ridge of East Wilson looked interesting and doable. One could most likely descend this way to Tungsten Pass and then follow the trail back to Center Park.
SSE ridge of East Wilson
From China Meadows on the north
Another route is to start at the China Meadows Trailhead and follow the trail to Smiths Fork Pass. Contour around the upper basin and then climb steeply SW to the Wilson-East Wilson saddle. The total distance on this route is about the same as the route from Center Park, about 30 miles RT. The total elevation gain on the way in is about the same too at about 3900 feet. However, there are less ups and downs on this route so on the way out you only gain 450 feet vs 1685. But, I haven't actually ever gone this way so I can't say too much about it.