is the way to go! While still steep and loose it was way better than I anticipated after hearing horror stories from climber's on the North Slopes. Forget Navajo, go with Kilpacker
I have two 14er finisher friends who said they CRIED on only one 14er... and this one was it. I had also read some nasty trip reports about it. SO, needless to say, I was NERVOUS about this one (I almost backed out). HOWEVER, I have GOOD news- I LOVED it! We climbed this one from Kilpacker basin... not near as loose as I hear the Navajo basin trail is! After some very fun climbing, we had the summit to ourselves (for a bit), then began the long descent back to our jeep at the trailhead, and the near 7 hour drive back to the Springs!
Soloed this very early in the morning, so the little remaining snow was a bit crusty. Very rotten at the top of the couloir...be very careful if their are climbers below you!
Climbed the North Slopes from high camp at Navajo Lake. Not really enough snow to make for a fun snow climb. Leave the crampons at home for this route this time of year. The rock was very rotten and loose, do not trust anything you step on or pull on here. Storms came in around 2 or so in the afternoon like clockwork the 4 days we spent in the basin. Mornings were glorious. Afternoons and evenings were full of rain rain rain...
Long dayhike in a beautiful vally. Lots of loose rock everywhere!
Very fun snow climb up to the top, and an incredible traverse to Mt. Wilson
A short summit visit with static crackling in the air. I risked standing up for a moment to snap a photo, but that was too scary!
I didn't really know how long the Wilson - El Diente ridge would take and I ended up hiking the last hour to my tent after the sun was well below the horizon. This was a great route and I enjoyed every minute of the climbing.
Took over 5 hrs one way from Navajo Lake with an afternoon start as the weather broke temporarily. Took north slopes route which is the loosest, most dangerous rock I have been on. I would highly recommend NOT descending this route!
12 hours roundtrip from Navajo Lake TH. Trip Report
Started w/ El Diente from Navajo Basin, traversed to Mt. Wilson, then traversed in talus below Gladstone up to Gladstone-Wilson Peak saddle and then on to Wilson Peak. Descended and left camp. 15 hr day camp to TH
2x and counting
soloed the south buttress from kilpacker basin. it's a class 5.0-5.2 route going through some questionable rock. being early in the season with no one for miles, just throw the bad rock aside and keep going. a scary yet exhilirating route! do this one.
Inexperienced climbers might want a rope in a couple of places just below the summit ... mostly for the exposure.
Snow was mostly melted out, with it being a steep dirt climb, with a few patches of ice. I came in from Silver Pick basin.
See the trip-report here: http://distantpeak.com/web/mountains/n-america/mount_wilson
Surprised with how many wild flowers there were and how lush the grass was. It was great to be there after Labor Day since there was only 1 other person on the mountain that day .
Started early. Solo ascent. Off Mtn by 9:30am
Summited with ColoradoScott. Traverse was solid and fun, took 3 hours. The descent off El Diente into Navajo Basin is loose and steep. Take this mountain seriously!
The ridge traverse IS a classic, but not as difficult as I imagined. The downclimbs and scrambles are exiting and the exposure along parts of the ridge are exhilarating (or terrifying to some, probably)!!! The traverse took three hours. On the descent, We scrambled down rocks to reach the main snow couloir and found the top of the snow to be thin (18" over rock) and I took a nasty fall, despite my crampons and axe. After immediately attemping self-arrest, which only slowed my progress on the 55 degree slope, due to the rotten snow conditions, I flipped onto my back when my crampons caught a rock hidding under the shallow snow. Immediately I returned into the arrest positon, finally coming to a stop after a 100 foot slide (and only ten feet above a ten foot drop onto rocks. Fortunately, my quick reactions and equipment prevented any injuries other than scraped knuckles and some soreness.
My partner carefully downclimbed this section w/o incident, although he was shaken to watch my accident. Because of the steepness and soft snow, we downclimbed rock ribs until the slope angle eased back to about 35-40 degrees, where we tested the snow, and began glissading to the bottom, carefully avoiding and rock outcrops below. I finally hobbled into camp 13 hours after our day began.
The moral of the story is: 1)wear a helmet (like I did), 2) have an axe and crampons and know how to used them (it could save your life), 3) climb these with partners, and 4) do not take them lightly...they are difficult climbs with dangerous potential, even if the weather is perfect.