Mount Wilson Solo
The alarm went off at 2:30. I was a little slow at first, but got with it in a few minutes. I was excited the night before and slept little. I pressed some lethal strength coffee and hit the road.
I arrived at the Navajo Lake TH at about 4:15. I made some last minute prep and hit the trail at 4:30 by head lamp. I’ll admit straight away that walking through the woods solo gives me a little anxiety, especially when I can’t hear because of the rushing river.
As I reached the first meadow, I first noticed on set of eyes. Then as I looked around, there were like seventy sets of eyes. I eased up to the first set and confirmed it to be a deer. They seemed to be at ease with me, as I went within a few feet of twenty of them.
I arrived at Navajo Lake in two hours. People were just beginning to stir and I shot some nice photos of lake and reflections. It wasn’t long until I had one set of climbers ahead and one behind. I found the appropriate shoulder of Mount Wilson and left the trail. I dipped water for a refill and headed up. Some fabulous third classing on fairly stable rock developed. I stopped for a refuel bread as soon as I was in the sun.
Onward and upward, more third classing. At the saddle, I shot some photos. I watched the couple I’d met, Al and Patty, negotiate the crux by a direct line. I eased down and left and found the easier line. It was still fairly exposed forth class and very fun. The summit was great, small and had spectacular views.
I had planned on trying the traverse to El Deinte. I was looking for the third class route to the left of the organ pipes. I ended up going too low and this cost me the traverse. I was cliffed out at one point. I continued to traverse and found a low fifth class gully that I down climbed. It was where me and Tom were bailed on our last attempt in the spring. I had thoughts of rejoining the traverse route on the west side of West Wilson. As I approached the saddle, some dark clouds rolled across the ridge. I then committed to a retreat down Kilpacker Basin.
The Kilpacker escape added some extra miles that I really didn’t appreciate, plus it gave me the opportunity to negotiate my favorite scree field. It also had a long stretch through the forest where I was endlessly attacked by flies and mosquitoes. During a river crossing, I had the misfortune of slipping off a rock and getting one foot soaked. Well only five or so miles left. After regaining the Navajo Lake trail it was mostly down hill and smooth sailing.
I was met in the parking lot by my family, which was a pleasant surprise. I rehydrated while my kids played in the river.
Sunrise on Navajo Lake TH
Navajo Lake with Gladstone Peak
Navajo Lake with El Diente's West Ridge
Dolores Peak with upper West Dolores River in Foreground
Upper Stretches of North Slopes Route
Mount Wilson Summit Block
El Deinte and Connecting Ridge
Kilpacker Falls on Descent Route