14er Ski Descents – Mount Wilson – May 19, 2004
Route: North Face
Team: Ted, Dirk Bockelmann
After descending El Diente, we traversed as far as we could towards Mount Wilson and began climbing. Switching off trail breaking duty in regular intervals, we made pretty good time up the very direct North Face.
This peak, like El Diente, warranted another visit. At the top of the snowy north face exists a thumb of exposed rock about 50 feet high that I’ve always considered to be un-skiable. On prior summer trips I’ve witnessed groups with ropes and protection in place to complete the airy moves. When Dirk and I were here in 2004 the primary other documented descent we knew of and hoped to repeat was that by Lou Dawson, who skied from the highest snow rather than the exact summit. That was right where we were standing. So the skis were put down and we climbed to the summit in our ski boots. Upon return to our skis we clicked in and high-fived over the two peaks we skied this day and subsequent checking off the list.
It wouldn’t be until several dozen turns later that Dirk would realize he left his ice axe up at the top of the snow and would have to climb back up to retreive it. He always tells me how he wishes I would just forget that kind of stuff. Sorry Dirk.
Again like El Diente, Davenport and others would return two years later and improve on our day. According to Chris, the peak is quite skiable. From what I saw from photos, while the true summit ski descent is somewhat contrived, provided a generous snowpack exists, he’s right.
So again like El Diente, the descent Dirk and I completed kept in the standards of Lou Dawson which by 2004 standards was sufficient. We matched the style of the predecessor. Years later, and after the improvement by Davenport and others, I returned to improve on the descent myself, but for the purposes of this day back in ’04, I considered Mount Wilson to have been skied.
Back to camp, tomorrow we would go to Wilson Peak.