The SummitPost website and the other print guides understate the amount of traffic on Wheeler, particularly on a holiday weekend, thus making the summit experience less than climactic. Is it really necessary to make cell phone calls from the peak?
Having said that, the East Fork route seems to be the lesser used and lesser exposed route. Also, Horseshoe Lake (or "U-Horse Lake", as it is written on a certain sign) is the real gem of the trail. Old Mike would be a more interesting peak to hike on a subsequent trip.
Nice day with incredible views of thunderstorms all around - except where we were! Round trip 5.5 hrs
Steep climb and a very warm day, but Williams Lake was really beautiful. All five of us reached the summit and, for once, didn't get chased off by ominous thunderheads.
Mike and I decided to start the official hiking season by heading south to Taos New Mexico and hike up there highest peak. From the summit the views were excellent. The peak due south is named Old Mike Peak and is 13,100 feet and looked to me to be higher than Wheeler but oh-well we were at the highest point in New Mexico. We were the four and fifth persons to sign the summit log in the past three months.
Back at the car Mike couldn’t find his wallet and thought that he left it on the summit, later I called Alen Ellis a SummitPost Member that was going to hike the summit in two days and asked him to keep his eyes open for the wallet.
Wheeler was an excellent hike in a beautiful area, it is much harder that Elbert when it comes to state highpoints. Taos Ski Area is very nice, not to big and not to commercial, yet. As for Mike finding his wallet, Alen never found it and they took the exact same route as we did, but Mike received a call three days later. A guy was hiking down from a peak that he had skied down and found his wallet. Wow how about that.
Spent the night at William's Lake. Very foggy when we climbed it, but the clouds opened up at the top for a bit so we could see around us...
It was an awesome climb, my first climb above 13.
It was very cool for late August, when we left the parking lot it was 44 degrees. It was an easy, fun trip. My only gripe is how many people were camping out on the summit when I got there. Anyway, it was a good trip.
Started up from the Taos Ski basin, past all the campers. The trail is not technically challenging, but it is long. We got to see varied scenery some very beautiful, some very barren and plain. The view from the top is great. A very satisfying climb.
Excellent weather conditions; had the opportunity to do some glissading on the way down. I'm happy I got the chance to experience both of these routes. Undoubtedly my favorite state high point to date.
Great hike, t-storms drew near but failed to follow through on their threats. Descending the Williams Lake route was fine, although hikers have made quite a mess of the slope, as in places no one trail exists. In the interest of preserving the vegetation, I would recommend not to descend this route. Bull of the Woods route is rather gentle, a fun hike. PICS
Climbed with husband, Alan and son, Andrew, who both beat me to the summit. Still much snow on the trail. We had to do some guessing on our route finding because of the snow, but didn't encounter any real problems. Had to bail from the summit to avoid the thunder storm coming in. Headed towards William's Lake. Had a horrible bushwack around the east side of the lake...class 4 rock climbing moves in wet boots inches from the still, very icy water of the lake. I did learn how to glissade though..weee! Great fun.
Every New Mexico climber/backpacker is required to climb Wheeler Peak at some point in his or her life. I climbed it with Mike Cassissa over labor day, and camped in the last grove of trees before tree line. Excellent weather and great views for miles. Not a technical climb by any means, but the 7 mile trail to the summit can be grueling, especially when carrying a large pack.
simple ascent w my dog on the way to a wedding in taos. 6hrs or so round trip
There's an interesting story behing this one!
I had recently located to Oklahoma and was feeling pretty sour because for the most part, Oklahoma is pretty darn flat. So a friend and I were lounging around, and for gee-whiz purposes, looked up the highest point in Oklahoma. It was the Black Mesa (5,200ft +/-), located in the corner of Oklahoma bear the Colorado border. I jokingly said, you know, being the outstanding mountaineers that we are, we should go there just to say that we've been to the highest point in Oklahoma. My friend looked at me and grinned -- spontanaity took over from there.
The next morning, we hopped in the truck and made the 5 hour drive to the infamous Black Mesa. After a 45 minute walk, we were standing on the highest point in all of Oklahoma! (super-sarcasm here)
He looked at me and said, you know, New Mexico's the next State over...
We were off.
4 1/2 hours later, we found ourselves in Taos, New Mexico....and laughing at the fact that we were on an adventure that had no plans and no agenda.
We scooted up to 9,000ft in the truck and camped out for the night. The next morning we woke up at 5am and hit the Bull of the Woods trail. We trucked right along and once we reached 12,500ft, our lungs reminded us of the fact that we were sea-level creatures, and no longer used to the heights we were once used to.
An hour or so later, we topped out during a beautiful day. We decided to slide down the talus slope to Williams Lake and then back out through the ski area to our truck. A 10 1/2 drive brought us back to Oklahoma City with big stupid grins on our faces -- not a bad weekend for a couple of guys who were sitting around Friday night with beers in hand and nothing to do...
A longish hike, racing T-storms most of the way down.
Summitted in the pouring rain and fog. When I got back down to Williams Lake it had cleared up and I finally got a view of the surrounding mountains. A fun hike.