Came up Bull-of-the-Woods trail and returned via Williams Lake trail. Overcast and windy on top, but it was nice to get New Mexico's high point. Lots of others seemed to have the same idea that day (after a couple of days of rain).
Killer peak. Fun times
Hiked into Bull of the Woods pasture and setup camp Saturday night. Only a few scattered dry spots to pitch a tent, otherwise snowy.
With some recent snow and freeze thaw, I could not locate the new summit trail. Then I Lost Bull of the Woods trail after the Red River overlook and ended up on a set of cross country trails until I hit Fraser Peak Road. From the 'top of the world' I was able to scramble up Fraser Peak off trail to get above treeline and rejoin the trail.
Easy snow travel until ~11am when it started to soften up. I used microspikes and it was plenty, snow shoes maybe useful for afternoon, but overkill for AM. Crossed some big snowfields- not technical but lots of work with the switchbacks covered in snow.
Extreme windchill on the ridge and summit of Wheeler Peak! Also, amazing views of big snowy mountains all around.
Glissaded ~1000 ft down Williams trail. Was nice to have the iceaxe for sliding-on-butt self arrest and when looking down the east face of the ridge, but definitely not needed.
Quite slushy below the lake, but tracked out and easy to find trail.
Awesome blue sky day with lots of snow travel and hourly sunscreen application.
Bull-of-the-Woods up and Williams Lake down. Lots of wind. Lots of snow in the lower reaches of the mountains but not much above treeline. Great hike.
Nice straightforward hike on a great day
Climbed Wheeler Peak with a friend in 2009. Went up via the steep slope near the lake and then descended via the trail along the ridge since my friend and I had separate cars. It was a great loop hike.
Started from the Hikers parking lot at 8:30 and summited with my sister at 11:00. Easy hiking but a bit harder due to the sleet and rain. No views from the summit due to heavy cloud cover. The descent was mellow and we were back before 1pm.
Definitely harder than Humphreys. Took Bull of the Woods up and Williams Lake down. Combined with Fraser and Bull of the Woods. Total of 14 miles
Rachael and I started from Bull-of-the-Woods trailhead, summited Walter, Wheeler, Simpson, Old Mike, "Fairchild", Lake Fork and Kachina and then descended the ski area back to the car. Some fun scrambly sections between Simpson and "Fairchild" and again to get up Lake Fork. Long loop, not sure the mileage of vert but we took about 9 hours to complete it.
Fun hike. Started early and made it to the summit before the crowd and the heat. Started walking at 6:20 a.m. Cool to start but perfect temperature the rest of the way. Also summited Mt. Walter (about a 10 min walk from the summit) along with about 20 girl Scouts from Texas coming from the other direction. My 15th state high point, Chris's #5. Temperature reached mid 90's in Taos when we got back to town.
Strava says 8.3mi RT from the lot with just over 3K of gain. Aside from the altitude and my lungs being uncooperative from my recent bout with pneumonia, it was a really nice day out.
Pretty enjoyable but challenging due to still too much snow on the ground that made it hard to find the trail few times.
Lots of bighorn sheep, gorgeous improved trail, Taos is super cool
Trip report https://summitsofthestates.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/new-mexico/
Summit number 5
Climbed this with a friend from my high school days before I started my first year of college.
I enjoyed an early morning cruise across frozen snow to Williams Lake and then hiked up the chute just west of the snowline that covered the new Forest Service trail. We had a great view of snow-covered peaks throughout the range. I couldn't believe how ravenous the marmots, chipmunks, and pikas were up there. Can we blame Texans for this?
Loved this hike. It was a popular route on a Saturday and it looked almost like a train going up the switchbacks. Lots of bighorn sheep. This was the third of 4 in a row, OK, Arizona, NM, and Colorado. Elbert left to do on the 21st.
I'm looking to do a solo hike up Wheeler Peak on June 16th, any comments/suggestions about the trail or conditions? Would Bull of The Woods be a better option, or is Williams Lake route OK, even with the current snow conditions? Mark Landis
conditions on the mountain were perfect for crampons, although I was definitely wishing I had brought snowshoes for the lower portion of the trail up to the lake as there were sections where i was breaking through. trail is extremely well marked and so there were no issues there. once on the flank it is basically a straight shot to the top. Was feeling a bit out of shape, took me 4 hours to the summit, 1.5 back to the car. plenty of opportunities for glissading... approx 3000' and 7 miles.
We had a great time hiking up via bull of the woods. A few comments and cautions for those considering a winter hike. Yes, it's definitely doable. You need snowshoes, but leave the crampons at home. You definitely need solid route finding skills and a good topo map.
There are quite a few trails in the area, and sticking to the right one was a challenge because most of the signposts were buried in 4 ft of snow. If you get to the meadow, just know you went a little too far! We camped in the trees about a mile after crossing the groomed ski trail, in the last heavily forested section of trail before attaining the ridge. If winter camping, don't try to make it all the way to La Cal Basin. Several sites recommend it for camping, but it's pretty exposed. We liked the protection from the wind the trees offered.
Even though we were mostly following tracks from 2 hikers who summitted the day before, the wind had completely obliterated all traces for long stretches. Once we hit the ridgeline we were frequently traveling over tundra because all the snow had blown away. No avalanche danger, and it seems unlikely any cornices would build up enough along the trail to be a danger. When we got to La Cal, we took the west ridge (off trail). That would be quite the scramble in summer but was easy in the snow. The return trip was straight forward enough, or should have been, but we didn't check the map enough and did briefly get confused about where the trail was supposed to be. Visibility started to deteriorate with an afternoon flurry, but we figured out our mistake soon enough and made it down without a hitch.