The Wilsons

We are still catching up on posting pictures from our adventures this summer.  About two days after I got back from Washington  we set out to continue our conquest of the Colorado 14ers. Since I was still concerned about how much stress my knee could handle we had a pretty relaxed itinerary.  We drove down to the San Juan Mountains just south and west of Telluride on Saturday, July 13th. We set off from the Silver Pick/Rock of Ages trailhead in the early afternoon.  Dave was great and carried all the extra gear and let me set my own (very slow) pace. It had been cloudy but no serious storms so our goal was to make it over a 13,000 foot saddle and into Navajo Basin for the night. The hike in was pleasant and before my lungs that had been at sea level for the last month gave out we made it to the saddle. Since the weather was holding we dropped our packs at the Rock of Ages saddle and made for Wilson Peak.  It turned out to be a fun scramble across some ledges and along a ridge line.


 

We enjoyed the solitude of an evening summit and the interesting but not threatening clouds.  Thank you Wilson Peak for the gentle reintroduction to Colorado and the elevation.  I was glad I had brought along trekking poles but was pleasantly surprised by how much my knee could handle.  Looking across the valley at Mt. Wilson and El Diente I knew this was just the warm up.

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We didn’t have time to linger since we still had to drop down into Navajo Basin and set up camp before dark so we scrambled down the ridge, passed some great mine debris and went in search of a campsite. Unfortunately it was a poor judgement call to leave Dave’s pack at the saddle since there are apparently some verocious marmots in the area that made a nice meal of part of his pack. Thankfully they only went for foam including his sleeping pad but didn’t damage anything structural. We found a great spot near the source of the creek and set up camp. I know the photo shows me in Dave’s new camp chair but in reality he relaxed in it much more than I did. We entertained ourselves trying to figure out where another climber was who decided to do Mt. Wilson and El Diente that same evening.  He ended up coming down El Diente in the dark.  We watched his headlamp bob around for awhile and were thankful that we didn’t have to initiate any search and rescue for him.


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Early the next morning on July 14th, we set off up Mt. Wilson. It was grey and cloudy and we were concerned that if it rained the rocks could be treacherous but decided to give it a shot.  Luckily the clouds lifted and we had a great climb.  The scrambling at the top and the crux move were no trouble and with careful route finding we were on the summit.




 
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The weather was holding but I didn’t think I was up for attempting the traverse to El Diente. So we headed back down to camp.  It was eerie how well the tent blended in with the rocks below.  After a nap we packed up and headed back out.  There did end up being some rain showers and thunder later in the day but we were safely off and out. After a couple of days of hiking and a night at elevation I was starting to adjust to the elevation.  We then headed in to Telluride.  After a quick stop in town we drove out to Alta Lakes and found a great campsite for the night.  Luckily we have 4wd and could make it around to the backside of the lake away from the crowds.  Dave even got a chance to fish the lakes the next morning before we met Sharon, Kevin and family.