San Juan Mountains – Photo Essay

wilson peak, lizard head wilderness

Climbing Wilson Peak : Prints Available

 Annie Goodwin leads Marla and Mike Goodwin through a section of class 3 climbing (with some class 4 thrown in) in a notch near Wilson Peak's summit. Wilson Peak (14,017) is one of three 14ers in the Lizard Head Wilderness. 

Our annual group 14er trip was a small gathering in the Lizard Head Wilderness this year. We had a great time with Annie and Mike Goodwin – others had excuses – Chris Park was in New Zealand, Jack and Claudia are getting ready for three months in S. America, Tim and Amelia Poppe are having a baby. Really? We made the trip anyway, beginning in Telluride, where we all bought new climbing helmets to take the place of helmets that were safely tucked away in the garage at home. Part one was a backpack into the very popular Navajo Basin, staging area for climbs of Wilson Peak and Mount Wilson. We successfully climbed class 3 Wilson Peak on day two.

gladstone peak, mount wilson, rock of ages saddle

Rock of Ages Morning : Prints Available

 Morning light breaks through clouds just after sunrise and grazes the flank of Gladstone Peak (13,913') and Mount Wilson's summit. (14,246') The vantage point is Rock of Ages Saddle, on a climb of Wilson Peak.

dolores peak, wilson peak

Dolores Peak View : Prints Available

 The view to Dolores Peak (13,290') from the summit of Wilson Peak (14,017').

After climbing Wilson Peak, we hiked around to Kilpacker Basin to ponder a possible climb of El Diente, “the tooth”. E.D. is considered class 3, but with the notoriously rotten rock and exposure, I’ll go ahead and give it a class 4 rating. We camped with in a high meadow in Kilpacker Basin, where we marveled at E.D’s vertical rock face. Mike and Annie had to head back the next day, so Marla and I gave it a shot on El Diente. We started at 4 am and climbed to 13,700′, where we chose to descend and try another day.

sunset, kilpacker basin

Kilpacker Sunset : Prints Available

 Sunset from a high meadow in the Kilpacker Basin.

el diente peak, gendarme

El Diente Gendarmes : Prints Available

 Gendarmes guard El Diente Peak's (14,159') summit and catch warm sunset light. El Diente, which means "the tooth" is Colorado's most western 14er, with nothing to block the setting sun.

Happy Campers, L to R: Mike Goodwin, Annie Goodwin, Marla, and me, backed by the mighty El Diente.

After some long days on the trail, we chilled in Telluride for a couple of nights, then set out for our first ever trip to Ice lakes Basin, in the San Juan National Forest. What a great place to just go wander around!

golden horn, pilot knob, ice lakes

Ice Lakes Sunrise : Prints Available

 The Golden Horn (13,765') and Pilot Knob (13,738') cast a brilliant sunrise reflection in one of the Ice Lakes. 

I think Marla is laughing because I asked her to take just one more step forward. The pointy mountain in the background is Fuller Peak (13,761′).

6 thoughts on “San Juan Mountains – Photo Essay

  1. Looks like a fun trip, Dave! That Kilpacker Sunset is gorgeous… I’m bummed we couldn’t meet up with you guys for either of those hikes. We’ve got four more days here and I hope to do something up high before we leave!

    1. Thanks Jack! I flushed 5 blue grouse while running across the meadow to photograph that sunset. I was justy chillin’ out, thinking the light was done and the sky exploded! It’s pretty crazy being that far west in the San Miguel’s. We’ll meet up with you guys one day, but you don’t seem to stay in one place for very long. Maybe next summer we’ll do something close to Ouray…

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