El Diente - Wilson Ridge Report

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Trip Report
Colorado, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jul 9, 2004
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Created On: Jul 11, 2004
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Day 1 - Backpacked in 2 hours on Thursday and set up camp.
Started at 5 am Friday which I thought was too late judging
from group speed on the backpack in. I am not a particularly fast walker
myself but I have endurance and these folks were behind me. I also knew
how long and far we had to go so i was just praying for good weather.

Day 2 - Hiked up the Rock of Ages Saddle then dropped down all the way down into
the Navajo Basin. At that point you have Wilson on the left and El Diente
on the right. Went to base of El Diente and just started straight up
the side a little left of the actual summit. Personally I would rather
put my crampons on and climbed up the snow - but I go with where the guide goes.

Reached the ridge at 10:10 am which worried me because I would rather be 1/2 way
across the ridge at this point. Dropped our packs and climbed 10 minutes over to
El Diente summit. Took quick rest and started the famous traverse. About 1/2 way
across the traverse, two folks were tired and started slowing quite a bit which made
for slow progress. Unlike my Capitol climb, I was rarely roped and never
put my helmet on. At one point, the guide started roping the other lady
to just to help keep her going. I was concerned about making time and getting
off the ridge that I hardly took any photos. Lots of climbing on the ridge and
I thought it was tougher than capitol. Took 4 hours to hit the summit of Wilson
which by that time was 3 pm exactly - against my rule book being on summit that
late but there is no other quick way down and once you are up there, might
as well summit the two and keep going as fast as you can.
The last 5-10 minutes to summit of Wilson we did rope up.
For some reason, I was having a great day on the mountain. I could have just cruised
that traverse (following the guide of course).

Then we traversed and descended slowly forever coming down between Wilson and Gladstone
down into Navajo Basin. I wanted so bad to down climb some of the snowfields and do
some glissades but I know the guide was deciding not to because two people were just
getting too exhausted and wobbly. The other woman was just exhausted and then one of the
guys was tired and something went out in his back. But we kept on pushing and the
teamwork was great. The guide was more forceful and the other guy who felt good was nuturing
and supportive. The balance was good.

After all this you get to the bottom and the cruel thing is you must climb back over
the Rock of Ages saddle. At the saddle, We all made calls with my cell phone as we knew
we were not getting out of the mountains tonight. Got to camp about 8:10 pm - a little
over 15 hours of hiking. I wanted to pack up camp and get out as I had a motel reservation I was looking forward to. If we stayed we would surely have to rest and then we would be hiking out in the dark. The other lady said she could not go on. Anyway we all decided we should stay together and
we should spend the night. Turned out to be best decision because it began raining shortly
after we cooked dinner.

Packed up next day and headed out - nice leisurely enjoyable morning. Well, I thought so anyway.
The sky had cleared and the columbines were all out. Gorgeous day!
I almost cancelled this trip cause I was worried that I would be tired. I had just done 13.5 hours
on Capitol on Tuesday so I was not sure I was ready for another long day only two days later.
Not sure what happened, but I felt great all day and could have easily hiked a few more hours.
The altitide was not bugging me at all. And although one knee was starting to get a bit sore, my quads felt great. It may have helped that I just got off capitol. Sometimes, I think we get
stronger when you know others need support. Who knows.

The team was good with each other and although slow, everyone knew we had to keep going on matter what. We made both summits and no one got hurt.

=== The End ===


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