|Peak:||San Luis Peak (14er)|
|Route:||South Ridge from West Willow Creek|
|Date of Information:||06/02/2012|
The easiest way to reach the West Willow Creek TH is currently blocked because of a movie production. To get there, take the SOUTH access to Bachelor Loop Road (follow orange detour signs) and stay on FR 504. You‘ll pass a left turn for the West Willow Creek 4WD road, but stay straight. Continue until a junction where you must go right or left; there are signs stating the right branch is closed. Go left and continue until you can see the Equity Mine. Shortly before the mine there is a signed turnoff for FR 503, the West Willow Creek 4WD Loop. Take it, cross the creek several times, and reach the TH after about 1.3-1.6 miles. It‘s not signed, but there are two posts denoting trail 882. If the road takes a sharp left and you start climbing steeply, you‘ve gone too far. 4WD probably isn‘t needed to get to the TH, but high-clearance is a must.
We didn‘t need traction, ice axes or snowshoes. The Class 1 summer trail is easy to follow from the TH all the way to the summit. Gaiters were helpful for about a half-dozen short, mellow snow crossings, but I made the trek in trail runners just fine. The snow can be circumvented if you really want to, though it‘s a bit more of a hassle than simply trudging through with gaiters. The ascent took three hours. If you‘re looking for isolation on an already isolated mountain, try this non-standard route...we didn‘t see another party until the summit all day, but at least eight people came up from the Stewart Creek side.
(photos by tmathews -- and thanks again for letting me borrow your spare camera! I ordered a new one last night so my days of mooching photos are over)
Photo 1 - The West Willow Creek TH
Photo 2 - The ups-and-downs of the trail to reach San Luis proper
Photo 3 - Upper South Ridge
Photo 4 - Natalie hiking out as a brooding San Luis throws graupel, wind and thunder at us
Photos (click for slideshow):