Book Lodging

Climbing the 14er, Wilson Peak

Wednesday • August 31, 2011

Out of all of the mountains surrounding Telluride, Wilson Peak has taunted us the most. Part of it probably has to do with our unsuccessful attempt to ski its north face in May, while the fact that it has starred in numerous Coors commercials definitely added fuel to the fire. Either way, there was no way to conclude our first summer in the box canyon without climbing Wilson Peak.

Now, the 14er can easily be conquered in one day, especially since the USFS reopened the Rock of Ages Trail via Silver Pick Basin at the beginning of August. Nevertheless, we wanted to get our camping on, so we cruised up the straightforward, roughly 5-mile Kilpacker Trail to Navajo Lake, passing lush forest and wildflowers galore. Once there, we set up camp, got the fishing rods out and dined in front of towering, jagged peaks before getting some rest for the day ahead.

Tackling the peak from the rear, however, was a bit longer than anticipated, mainly because the entire route consists of rock fields and scree. At one point, on the peak’s south face, the trail completely disappeared – scrambling and “billy goating” became the only way to push on. But, after arriving to the false summit, the best and final part lay ahead: a somewhat sketchy, almost vertical climb up the last hundred-or-so feet.

Once at the summit, after signing the “I made it” papers and checking out the gorgeous views, the only thing left to do was scream “tap the Rockies motherf#$%er!” Sure, it was a bit cheesy, but so are all of those Wilson Peak, Coors commercials, right?