Thanks to Sarah and Ron (who we met on the trail), we all summited. Pretty long for a dayhike from the Coyote parking lot. Seeing the bighorn sheep was an added bonus.
Went with a guy I met in Flagstaff a couple of days earlier while doing Humphreys Peak. He said he would like to come along when I said my plans, and I said sure, why not. It would be good to have a partner. I wasn't sure what to expect as far as snow, and how steep it would actually be, we were taking the Williams Lake route. There was snow, but nothing that needed special equipment. It was really pretty once we got up high on the mountain. Lost our way going through those woods after Williams Lake on the way up and on the way down. Figured it out though. I really like this mountain, and how the route just goes straight up it. It was such a good time. One of my favorites of all time so far.
During a brief visit to Taos went up via Williams Lake starting before 6am in the morning. Took leisurely 2.5h to the summit carrying a lot of camera gear to photograph wildlife and wildflowers, which were blooming profusely. By late morning thunderstorms were already building (with lots of people still ascending!). After meeting up with my wife at Williams Lake we got rained and snowed on on our way back to the TH.
Went up Bull-of-the-Woods; down the west slope and Williams Lake Trail; then 2 miles on the road from the Williams Lake Trailhead to the Bull-of-the-Woods Trailhead. Ended up being about 13 miles and 4,200 feet of gain. Took us about 6 hours and 45 minutes.
No snow until the trail skirted below Bull-of-the-Woods Mountain. It wasn’t bad, though. Portions and edges of the trail poked through. No special equipment needed, although gaiters were nice to have.
We encountered our first snowfield on the side of Point 11,762. The trail was completely covered in snow. While it could be crossed without an ice axe, I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing so, and I was glad I brought mine. We crossed half of the snowfield and then skirted along the edge until we met back up with the dry trail. At this time, I suppose you could bypass all the snow by bushwhacking around it and over Point 11,762’s summit. From there, the trail was dry until La Cal Basin.
La Cal Basin was completely full of snow at/below treeline. We descended into the snowy forest to 11,800’, crossed the point where a couple creeks merge, then climbed directly up. Fortunately, it was early enough so the snow was mostly packed; we only postholed a few times.
On the descent to Williams Lake via Wheeler’s west slope, there were a few small snowfields, but nothing major. Made a few short glissades.
The crowded Williams Lake Trail was slushy and sloppy. Plastic pink ribbons marked the route, as the trail was buried under snow and mud. The last mile or so was dry.
Climbed Wheeler Peak twice, both times in October. The first with a friend. We hiked into Willams Lake, spent the night and summited the next day. Weather was nice but a cold wind blew on top. Next year my wife and her brother spent the night in Taos and got an early start the next morning and did the whole climb in one day from Williams Lake again.It was about the same weather just colder wind on top.
Did the whole Wheeler/Old Mike/Simpson/Walter circuit. Great day & great companions.
Drove straight up there after returning from a business trip. Spent the night at TSV campground, summited the next day via Bull of the Woods. Beautiful summit day!
I'm thinking about hiking Wheeler Peak last week of March. Should I plan on using snowshoes and crampons.
I'm a pretty strong hiker, but not a technical climber by any stretch, so I'm not ready to risk life or limb.
SOLOED WILLIAMS LK TRAIL AND NEARLY PASSED BY SUMMIT ON FINE TRAIL ON E FLANKS HEADED FOR DISTANT GOOD LOOKING PEAK FREEZING WIND CHILL WHILE TRYING TO SIGN REGISTER
Beautiful hike up Wheeler Peak, highly recommended.
We got a late start and trudged through knee deep snow to Williams Lake. I cut my break there short, which made all the difference. I was able to summit and glissade back down to the tree line before an approaching storm arrived. My climbing partner lingered too long at Williams Lake and was turned back by a blizzard just shy of the summit. We both enjoyed the beer and food at The Bavarian before returning to camp.
Bushwhacked up to approach to Mt. Walters from Lake Fork Creek. Followed ridge to Mt. Wheeler. Lots of snow made it lots of fun. Played all the way there. Bright sunshine all day. Cold sometimes, very warm at other times. Great trip even though I was miserably out of shape.
The first peak I went up in New Mexico. Wildflower blooming.
Woke up at 7:30am to 32F at the hiker parking lot. Started up at 8:10am. A local dog followed me all the way to the summit which we reached just before 10am. Stayed at the summit for 1/2 hr. Windy & cold along the summit ridge. Tagged Mount Walter on the way down. Back at the trailhead by 11:40am (3.5 hrs car-to-car).
Bright sun and spectacular views. After a short bushwack, we rose above treeline and picked up the bull of the woods trail, and made the summit around 11:30am. We completed the climb in recognition of those lost on 09-11, on behalf of Cops on Top.
Starting in the early morning, there were beautiful weather conditions... *until* I climbed halfway up the saddle-slope between Wheeler Peak & Mount Walter. Then, suddenly, a solid cloud blanket covered over both peaks. The wind picked up, and it quickly felt like the temperature dropped to below freezing. When I reached Wheeler Peak's summit, the cloud/fog was so thick that I couldn't see 2-3 feet in front of me, so I jogged over to Mount Walter's summit to hopefully find more suitable conditions... only to find much of the same thick cloud cover there. It was too bad, as I bet that the views from the summits would have been spectacular. Thank goodness for my GPS & general pathfinding skills. The Williams Lake Trail is very nice!!!
Thunderstorm above the treeline, at 13000ft. In retrospect, not so smart. Camping on top in a lightning storm, well, stupid. We made it though, I think I'll wait for a clear day to do it again.
A bighorn sheep was there to welcome us near the summit. Didn't see much of the view due to clouds that put down a couple inches of snow.
Hiked via Williams Lake and the steep slog to the saddle. Bagged Walter en route down and fought off marmots trying to make off with everything not tied down. Saw 15 or 20 bighorn on the way down and got some decent photos but headed for the hills quick as thunderheads started building (and this was 1000am) It started to rain and hail by the time I got back to the trailhead. Start early in summer for sure.