For the next couple of weeks we will introduce to you some of the most legendary peaks of the Mighty San Juan Mountain Range. No two peaks are the same and each provides a unique experience that is catered by San Juan Mountain Guides to ensure you some of the best adventures of your 2015 summer.
Name of Mountain Range: Wilson Peak Range
Location: Near Telluride, Co. It is located in the Lizard Head Wilderness of the Uncompahgre National Forest, in the southern San Juan Mountains. 37.83920°N / 107.9908°W
Skill Set: The “Climber’s Traverse” stays on or very close to the crest the whole way. It offers airy views and lots of 4th class and low 5th class terrain to negotiate. The “Hiker’s Traverse” takes a lower line on the South side of the crest and reduces the amount of exposure.
Peak Name and Description: Both Mount Wilson/El Diente make up one of the most aesthetic ridge traverses in Colorado. This long ridges sits over 13,000 ft for its entirety and offers an amazing way to climb both these classic 14ers in one day. There are 2 variations depending on each climbers skill, exposure acceptance level, and daily conditions. This traverse is one of the Colorado’s “Classic Traverses” which makes it even more appealing for those trying to summit two 14ers in 1 or 2 days.
Mount Wilson | 14,023-foot (4,274 m): Mount Wilson is the highest peak in Dolores County – sometimes it may be confused with the lower peak of called Wilson Peak that sits below it. According to Louie W. Dawson, author of Dawson’s Guide to Climbing Colorado’s Fourteeners, Mount Wilson is ranked among the top ten. The standard climbing route ascends the North Face from Navajo Basin. Some permanent snowfields exist high in the basin (sometimes termed “Navajo Glacier”) and the climb usually involves snow travel.
History: The mountain was named not for President Woodrow Wilson, as some have suggested, but for A.D. Wilson, chief topographer of the U.S. Government’s Hayden Survey of 1873-75 (for whom nearby Wilson Peak was also named). Wilson was one of the foremost geographers and mountaineers of the 19th century. He not only helped to chart the topography of Colorado’s highest mountains, but also made the first ascent of five Colorado 14ers (Uncompahgre, Sneffels, Sunshine, and Mt. Wilson, in 1874 and Handies in 1875.
El Diente: El Diente is not considered its own mountain due to the traverse (in order to be it’s own, it needs to be at least 300 foot rise from the ridge to the next peak) which connects it to Mount Wilson. It definitely has earned it’s name as “El Diente” as the climb to the summit is a bit more committing, which requires technical skills and the possibility of roping up. Many choose to link both Mount Wilson and El Diente via the traverse.
History: El Diente, which is Spanish for the “the tooth,” was named by San Juan mountaineer Dwight Lavender (c. 1911-1934) for its appearance from the south.
Why Climb it?
- Because there are options! There are different options of approaching the mountain depending on your skill set and objectives. These peaks give some of the most aesthetic views of the Southern San Juan Mountains as you are able to see for miles and enjoy the challenging but rewarding journey to the top.
- Because its a challenge! The challenge is there but so is the reward. Hundreds climb Mount Wilson and El Diente and there is a reason for that.
- Because its a short trip! These two very unique peaks provide the option of a traverse in 1 or 2 day span, depending on the objectives of the climbers.
“Because the Mountains are calling and You must Go!”
Common Question: Which approach is best suited for the Wilson/El Diente Traverse?
“For our guests who are only doing Mt. Wilson & El Diente, we recommend the Kilpacker Basin approach, as it offers a relatively short backpack to the camping areas, and provides great access to El Diente’s S. Face route and subsequently the traverse over to Mt. Wilson. Those climbers who would either like to see Navajo Lake, or are combining a climb of Wilson Peak with the other two 14’ers we recommend the Navajo Basin approach.”
How to Book Your Trip: Contact us via e-mail or call our Office 800.642.5389
Just got word from Andrés. He and Chuck flew off the Root Canal to Talkeetna this morning. Great news! So happy they have made it to Talkeetna safely.
Andrés and Chuck doing fine in the Root Canal, they are waiting a good weather window to fly out.
All is well in the Root Canal with Andrés and Chuck. They attempted the Route Shaken Not Stirred on the Moose’s Tooth. Conditions were too warm to complete the climb. Their plan is to fly out of the glacier today. Will update once they are safe and sound in Talkeetna.
Received word from Andrés this evening. He and Chuck had a terrific climb to the summit of the Moose’s Tooth via the Ham n’ Eggs Route today. Full moon ascent. Cheers to them for the great effort. Tomorrow (5/5) they will rest up and decide what’s on tap next.
Here is a photo from an expedition last year to the Moose’s Tooth. Mark Miller guiding Ham n’ Eggs. Tributes to Mark as he dearly loved climbing in Alaska.
Our second expedition of the season to the Moose’s Tooth Formation (10,335 ft.) in the Central Alaska Range kicked off yesterday. Again, led by our senior guide Andrés Marín who is partnered with Chuck. The team flew into the Root Canal Glacier yesterday and established camp. Today (5/4) they will have a skills practice day and check out the route from below. Their main climbing objective is the classic Ham n’ Eggs (V, 5.9, AI 4) mixed, snow & ice route which is the prominent line to the summit of the Moose’s Tooth. The route is 18 pitches and has 2,900 feet of climbing to the glorious summit which has incredible views of Denali, Foraker, Hunter and Huntington. We wish Andrés and Chuck an awesome time in the Root Canal and all the best in their journey on Ham n’ Eggs. Stayed tuned for trip updates.
Gary and Matthew had a great climb of Mt. Barille. They have returned to Talkeetna. Stay tuned for trip report and photos once Gary returns home.
Gary and Matthew are doing excellent in the Ruth Gorge. Yesterday (4/28) they climb the West Ridge of Mt. Dickey. Today (4/29) they had a skills training day around base camp. They are potentially looking towards a climb of Mt. Barille soon. We will keep you posted as we get word. Glad they are having a wonderful time in the Alaska Range.
Andrés, Wolf and Victor had an incredible climb of Ham n’ Eggs on the Moose’s Tooth. The team flew back to Talkeetna this afternoon (4/28). Way to go guys! Time relax and celebrate! We are so happy for you. Recap of the trip to come with photos once Andrés is finished with his season in Alaska.