Ascent of Wheeler Peak on 2010-04-18

Climber: James Barlow

Date:Sunday, April 18, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Wheeler Peak
    Location:USA-New Mexico
    Elevation:13161 ft / 4011 m

Ascent Trip Report

What a great hike. I started early from the Williams Lake Trailhead as I had stayed at a hostel/commune near Taos the night before to facilitate a short drive to the trailhead. Near Willliams Lake I encountered a beautiful bird that did not fly away as I moved in close for a few pictures. It is nice when the wildlife are so photogenic. I snapped a few shots and left the bird alone to enjoy his/her day in the mountains. The snow was solid all the way up to the summit as the sun didn't even hit the ground where I was hiking until after I left the Williams Lake area. The scree field would be terrible to go up and down if there wasn't any snow. In the summer, I would recommend the longer trail route up. As I neared the summit, I ran into 7 bighorn sheep. I was pretty excited because I have never been so close to bighorn sheep in the wild. I got a few pics and a video as they ran off. Bighorn sheep are probably my favorite mountain animal, though my wild sightings of them are few and far between. They made this ascent more special with their presence. The summit register is inside of a metal pipe that just would not open for me, not that my name would be immortalized on this very popular peak. I had lunch and lounged on the summit for a while before heading down. I saw something on the next bump over. Apparently it is a memorial to the hiker that gave his name to the next peak over - Mt Walter. I returned to the saddle for the descent. Another solo hiker was ascending as I prepared to descend. We bid each other a quick hello and he told me that he hikes this peak a lot. Not a bad backyard bump in my opinion! The best way down to Williams Lake was sliding on my butt, so down I went...
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2961 ft / 902 m
    Route:Williams Lake Trail
    Trailhead:10200 ft / 3108 m
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe
Ascent Part of Trip: Wheeler 4/10

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Wheeler Peak2010-04-18 a2961 ft / 903 m
2Mount Walter2010-04-18 b113 ft / 34 m
Total Trip Gain: 3074 ft / 937 m    Total Trip Loss: 3074 ft / 937 m

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