Mount Wilson (Colorado)
Mount Wilson is the peak in the far left background of this photo. (Wilson Peak is in the center foreground.)
|Elevation||14,252 ft (4,344 m) NAVD 88|
|Prominence||4,024 ft (1,227 m)|
|Location||Dolores County, Colorado, U.S.|
|Range||San Miguel Mountains|
|Topo map||USGS Mount Wilson|
|First ascent||September 13, 1874, by A. D. Wilson, Franklin Rhoda, and others (Hayden Survey party)|
|Easiest route||North Face (hike/snow climb/scramble)|
Mount Wilson is a fourteen thousand foot mountain peak in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is located in the Lizard Head Wilderness in Dolores County approximately 10 miles (16 km) north of Rico and 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Telluride. It is the highest peak in the San Miguel Mountains, a subrange of the San Juan Mountains. It is not to be confused with the lower, nearby Wilson Peak.
The peak was named for A. D. Wilson, a topographer with the Hayden Survey. He was in the first ascent party, which climbed the peak on September 13, 1874, via the south ridge (a difficult route, not often climbed today).
Mount Wilson is ranked among the top ten hardest of the Colorado fourteeners to climb. 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, with ice axe and crampons recommended. Scrambling on rock then leads to the summit.
A popular, though long, outing for expert climbers is the mile-long ridge connecting Mount Wilson to El Diente Peak. The ridge is sharp and rocky, and requires difficult scrambling and often a small amount of rappelling.
Geology and history
The Mount Wilson region became the site of intense mining activity, particularly for silver, in the early 1880s. The most famous of these mines was the Silver Pick Mine, which gave its name to Silver Pick Basin, just north of Navajo Basin.
Glaciers and permafrost
Mount Wilson contains four small glaciers on its summit, these being the southernmost modern glaciers in the Rocky Mountains and indeed the most southerly in the contiguous US outside the Sierra Nevada in California. These descend to 3,887 metres (12,753 ft). None of the glaciers have ever been named, and it has never been investigated whether they are presently active. At least nine rock glaciers, composed of alpine permafrost, exist on the northern slope of the mountain, extending down to around 10,000 feet (3,050 m), although the lower limit of permafrost is more typically around 11,500 feet (3,500 m).
During the Pleistocene glaciers were much more extensive than today, covering the whole summit plateau In glaciations previous to the Winsconsinian, it is generally thought that summit ice caps were even more extensive and joined to form the “San Miguel Glacier” with icecaps in the San Juan Mountains.
- Outline of Colorado
- Index of Colorado-related articles
- Geology of the Rocky Mountains
- Mountain ranges of the world
- Mountain peaks of North America
- "Mount Wilson, Colorado". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved 2013-06-07.
- "Mount Wilson". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- Louis W. Dawson, Dawson's Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners, Vol. 2, Blue Clover Press, 1996, ISBN 0-9628867-2-6, pp. 160-165.
- Walter R. Borneman and Lyndon J. Lampert, A Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners (3rd ed.), Pruett Publishing, 1994, ISBN 0-87108-850-9, pp. 231-239.
- Halka Chronic, Roadside Geology of Colorado, Mountain Press, 1980, ISBN 0-87842-105-X, p. 245.
- Glaciers of Colorado
- See Péwé, Troy L.; “Alpine permafrost in the United States: A Review”; in Arctic and Alpine Research; vol. 15, no. 2 (May 1983); pp. 145-156
- Atwood, Wallace Walter and Mather, Kirtley Fletcher; Physiography and quaternary geology of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado; p. 74
- Atwood and Mather; Physiography and quaternary geology of the San Juan Mountains; p. 72