Daughter Vanessa and I climbed a week or two after the ski area closed in 1993. There was a nice set of steps up from the gully, evidently set by a couple of backcountry skiers the previous day. The summit ridge was socked in, and we couldn't see a thing. In fact at one point we got disoriented in a spot where the ridge flattened out a lot, and had to pull out the compass to figure out which direction to continue on the ridge. That problem solved, just kept on the ridge until we found the plaque! Wheeler was number 40 of my 49 state high points, and number 39 for my daughter Vanessa, the last of the SHPs we did together.
Slept on top Oct, 1982. 10F, but at least there was no thunder & lightning!
On honeymoon in Taos. Wife and I hiked from Phoenix Restaurant up to Williams Lake, where she stopped and enjoyed the sun and scenery. I continued up from lake to saddle and over to summit. The route from the lake is steep but short and can be accomplished quickly if you are in great shape (not me) OR don't mind gasping (me). Started from lake at 1135am and back at 145pm with 10 mins on top. Late but luckily beat thunder, which held off until 400pm (when we were down eating chili in the valley). Around the basin there seem to be many mountains with more challenging routes, but this is a great option if time is limited and you are looking for a straightforward route. (Note: only occasional [avoidable] small snow patches were left; summer conditions.)
It was a nice summer day for this stroll. This is a nice state highpoint achieved with little effort. Recommended.
Started out around 10pm and reached the fork past Bull of the Woods. Spent a frigid night, due more to the wind chill then the actual temperature, watching the tent shudder in the wind. At the crack of light we broke camp and continued our hike, reached several large snow packs, that made us break out the axes. As we approached La Cal Basin, thought it would be quicker to traverse the ridgeline. This made for a much shorter direct route. However we did encounter a very slippery scree/talus slope near the top of La Cal Basin. Was a crystal clear day, we could see for miles once we reached Wheeler Peak. Glissaded on our behinds all the way down Williams Lake slope. Stopped to eat underneath the tree line. Is a quick hike from Williams Lake. Great hike.
I climbed Wheeler back in the 1960's . At that time we had the ability to drive to Bull of the Woods , before you enter the wilderness area. Then Nixon declared it all a wilderness area. He also gave the land South of Wheeler back to the Indians. No gripe here about that. I just miss going to see the beautiful area of Blue Lake.
We went up Bull of the Woods, but went back almost straight down the side to the lake.
55th birthday climb.
This is a long hike. Make sure to leave enough time to get down before the thunderstorms roll in.
We climbed on a cool clear day as a warm-up for the Enchanted Circle Century ride which we completed the next day. It was the Tour de Wheeler from all angles. Climbed with Dr. David Brown.
A nice, thoguh icy & long winter climb up the Bull Of The Woods trail. Route-finding was interesting around La Cal Basin trying to avoid the deep snow, however, the summit was truly rewarding!
I suppose that I became a highpointer when I stood atop Mt Whitney five years earlier and thought to myself; "HUM, I've been to the highest mountain in Arizona and California, as well as Mt Mitchell and Clingmans Dome. Wouldn't it be neat to do all fifty states?" This thought was just a random idea.
After our 4 day trip to the Chicago Basin, Brian and I drove over for a 2 day hike up Wheeler to bag my third western highpoint. We backed in and camped in the La Cal Basin, summited the next day. Nice clear day, though cold and windy. I tried to pick out peaks at Philmont Scout Ranch that I visited so long before. Peaceful and we had the mountain to ourselves.
Beautiful day on the top but super windy by the basin. The lower trail was covered by ice. The trail above the pasture had few feet of snow on it. The snow was pretty hard (it stayed below freezing all day) so snowshoes were not needed. Only saw one other group on the mountain. 22nd HP.
It' s about a two hour hike straight up. I used to ski at Taos quite a bit, so wanted to to do wheeler because I looked at it all the time.
All I remember from this hike was the heavy construction taking place at the trailhead and the fields of grasshoppers near the summit. I think we made the right decision in going down the steep route.
We climbed Bull of the woods to La Cal Basin on the 3rd and camped for the night. On the 4th we went for the summit. The mountain was fogged in with no views and falling ice. Wind gusts were impressive especially on the exposed high ridges. We actually walked past the summit marker and had to backtrack due to almost no visibility. A tough hike due to the conditions on that day.
Climbed Wheeler enroute to other peaks. The 6th was nice day that turned wet, the 26th was a perfect day.
Gorgeous day, but very windy on the summit ridge. Climbed with Duane Gilliland on our Ultra-prominence trip, although Wheeler is not an Ultra.
I thought the standard trail was a waste of time, distance, and energy and a testament to the shame of private property amid spectacular settings; even in the wilderness, though, the trail takes an unnecessary dip into a basin when it could follow a mostly level ridge. The descent to Williams Lake was better for its brevity and encounters with bighorn sheep.
Fun hike - and watch out for the marmots - they'll eat anything you've sweated in (hats, shirts, etc.)!