BETA PHOTO: Mt. Wilson in early morning light. Photo taken Oc...
The big boy of the Red Rocks. Mt. Wilson is an arduous adventure in desert big wall rockaneering. There are many high quality trad routes and a few bolted lines. Be forewarned, however, that this is not the Calico Hills; approach and return are real efforts. You are on your own out there so don't expect help.
Attention: THERE IS NO WALK UP WILLY'S COULOIR ANYMORE
SCOPE: Mt. Wilson is a huge mountain with complicated terrain. This section addresses the main eastern side of the peak, from the mouth of First Creek Canyon along the main face to the Aeolian Wall. Cactus Flower Tower, the smaller sub-peak just north of Wilson is listed in a separate section.
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Mt. Wilson:
Cactus Connection is located on the far right side of the Aeolian Wall, about 100 feet below the notch between Cactus Flower Tower and Mt. Wilson. It is the rightmost route on Mt. Wilson. As the name implies, it's a spectacular finish to any summit route on Cactus Flower Tower. The crux second pitch is superb and easily makes this route worth doing.From the summit of Cactus Flower Tower scramble and downclimb to the notch between CFT and Mt. Wilson. The final move involves a leap across a chasm ...[more]Browse More Classics in NV
I highly recommend Joanne Urioste's new book, Red Rock Canyon the Red Book Supplement. Beautiful pictures and descriptions of twenty six classic trad routes. It just came out last year and isn't easy to find. So ask your local shops to order it in and consider yourself lucky if you get a hold of one. These will probably end up being coveted like the original "Red Cover" Red Books are. Really nice work Joanne!
Went up to Willy's Couloir on Monday. The step across at the bottom of white rot gully looks really sketchy. However going up WRG 300 feet or so to where it opens up on the left and then going back down about half that got us back on track in 20-30 minutes or so. Definitely a bit faster on the way out as we had it wired.
By Brad G From: Yosemite and else where Feb 15, 2008
Dose anybody know the descent information off Mount Wilson? I plan to climb the Woman of Mountain Dreams route in a month. Iím a little confused on the approach but I cant find any info on the descent.
My partner Andy and I climbed Resolution Arete a day or two ago. All we knew about the descent was hike towards the back of oak creek canyon and go down the third gully. We went down what we thuoght was the third gully, but in hindsight i think it was probably the second. It was the big gully that cuts accros the side of the mountain. Anyways... After our fate was sealed by a couple raps off slung chockstones, we found our selves in a narrow-cliffed out gully/corridor. As the light was fading, and the canyon floor was still quite far below us, we continued rapping, and fixed shit kept appearing. After seven or eight hair-raising rappels, a stuck rope and a wade through 20' of knee-deep water, we found our selves in fourth-class terrain. I would definitely avoid this descent option, as it has the potential for being a major epic. 16hrs car to car-five or six hours on the descent. Anyone know where we went wrong?
M-earle You were indeed in the desperate and often mistakenly taken 2nd gully. It really does look inviting doesn't it. Newberry almost died descending the 2nd gully in a freezing storm. He rapped into a frozen pond only to have the ice break. The weight of his over stuffed haul bag took him underwater and held him there. He thrashed desperately till Madman could rap to him and haul him drenched and sputtering back to life. You don't want to get caught in those gullies in a storm. You need to keep heading up stream all the way till you are in the limestone then look for the descent gully. It is a long descent but find the right way and it should be rap free.
By far the easiest descent from Mt Wilson is down first creek canyon. From the summit, head back toward the limestone to a saddle in red sand. From here, follow gentle slopes and slabs (trail and cairns), into the top of First Creek canyon. Water can usually be found here into May. Scramble down the drainage to the first creek trailhead on the main road (easy, but long and with endless scrambling around boulders). Walk 0.5 mile up the road back to the pullout at the old Oak Creek Campground, and your car. Takes 3+hrs. Straightforward and absolutely non-technical. Can be done in the dark if need be, but it's best to plan to be in the drainage before dark.
By notmyname From: Salt Lake City, UT Oct 29, 2008
I'm giving my vote for the Oak Creek Canyon descent. It's really quick and easy - only one rap is needed and it's a fixed line already set-up, it's really pretty and FUN (yes it's fun). We did it in 2.5 hours back to the car from the summit. Also, the walk to the car at the oak creek pull-out off the main highway is way shorter than the 1st creek slog. I've done it twice now.
Simple simple beta: 1.From the top, head down the gentle ridge until you are funneled into a gorgeous grove of ancient pine trees nestled in a medium sized ravine boarded by short cliffs on both sides.
2.Walk quite a ways staying near the edge of the cliff above oak creek (but never go down any gullies or anything remotely steep) until the sandstone abruptly turns to limestone. There will be a gully, possibly wet, with a white chossy limestone tower on the left and a gigantic boulder atop a small tower on the right. The boulder resembles a VW van and is almost as big. Go right around this tower and scamper down waterstreaks and slabs, doing one ez rap.
3. when you are almost out of the canyon, take a path right and trace below wilson and behind wilson's pimple, then back to the car.
We climbed Lady Wilson's Cleavage yesterday - I'm sorry that we didn't check here first to see the descent discussion. Amazingly, the day before we ran into the Urioste's at the First Creek pullout and got some descent beta from them. They recommended the Oak Creek Canyon descent and said it was faster but harder to find than the First Creek Canyon descent. They said to go back almost to the limestone to a gully marked with a stand of large ponderosa pines, passing by earlier tempting gullies. We tried to follow their beta, but I think we failed to find the correct gully because the one we choose cliffed-out. We ended up doing a single double-rope rappel - found a slung tree and left another sling & biner. Our descent took about four hours.
I also reccomend the oak creek descent. I've done it twice now and it really is NBD. I'd also add that, if you are fast enough, parking at the oak creek trail head is the way to go. You knock off the hike from the highway and back to it on the way out.
I want to do Pink Tornado and then Gondwanaland (sp?). The Brock book says, park on highway and walk in; others say, park at oak Creek parking and walk across to the base of Willy's (which I think you have to scramble up a bit of to get to the start of P.T.).
Approaching Wilson depends on how much hiking/daylight you need. If you're willing to get up 20 minutes earlier, parking at the pulloff just past the exit of the loop and hiking as the crow flies straight into Oak Creek, then dropping left into and through the wash over to the White Rot Gully area is probably the fastest approach from outside the loop. The hike down the old road is easy, but longer.
From the Oak Creek pulloff in the loop road, its about 20 mins faster, and probably a wash since it'll take you 20 mins on the loop to get there. Nice at the end of the day, though.