Route: Wilson Group Grand Slam (CO)

Colorado, US
18 mi

Gregory Wagner posted the link-up:

The Wilson Massif, which might also be known as the San Miguel Range, is a compact subrange of the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. The range is remote and steep and one of the most southerly and westerly ranges containing peaks over 14,000 feet in the state.

The "Grand Slam" consists of climbing the four highest peaks in the range: Mount Wilson (14,252'), El Diente (14,159'), Wilson Peak (14,017'), and Gladstone Peak (13,913'). The peaks are steep and rugged and ascending them all requires climbing at least a little bit of Class 4 rock, plenty of route finding, and some care in occasionally loose and dangerous terrain.  Some views from the approximate half-way (or a little before half-way) point:

El Diente from Mount Wilson... 


Gladstone Peak and Wilson Peak from Mount Wilson...


I think a sensible FKT for this beautiful group of peaks should exist for the round trip climbing all four peaks by any route. The exact route each party takes may differ somewhat depending on the strengths of the party or route conditions.

NOTE:  No doubt some very fast times have been done for linking Mt Wilson, Wilson Peak & El Diente by people chasing the Colorado 14ers FKT, but they exclude Gladstone.

GPS Track


Ran this yesterday.  Meant to do a recon route and then give her a faster attempt, but about half way through i realized how much i underestimated this route and realized i didnt want to do it again in the next few days, so my recon route turned into my one and only attempt.  

I started at Navajo Lake, ran up Mt. wilson, then took the neverending scramble up the ridgeline to Gladstone, fell down a southern couloir and up Wilson, traversed to El Diente, then descended the southern slope of El Diente into Kilpacker Basin aka the El Diente Trail.  I then took a wrong turn and ran out to the wrong trailhead, but was able to find a trail link up back to the Navajo Lake trailhead.  

After all the wrong turns, extra miles, routefinding, and general bafoonery i came in just a few minutes under Bills time at 7:03:42.

I feel a bit silly claiming a new FKT with so many things going wrong but there it is. 

I think I can add to some clarity about the route though.  I like the anyway you can do the 4 summits approach, but the Navajo Lake route is indeed significantly longer than the approach from the north and the mine which is 4wd only.  I think for this route it make sense to standardize starting at Navajo Lake.  I liked what i did after El Diente by descending into Kilpacker Basin.  It provides a MUCH safer descent off El Diente and also allows to see a whole new Basin and a great trail.  It also makes for more of a loop which I believe is always more enjoyable than an out and back.  Minus the wrong turn near the end and running out to the wrong trailhead, I believe this is the ideal route.

Again my plan was to go back and give this an honest speed effort, especially now that I know the route, but maybe ill wait till somebody else sets this very breakable time.