El Diente Peak  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: West Ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-04, By: Marshall
Info: The West Ridge is quite spicy, but there is no snow. I'll probably do a trip report soon. I started at Navajo Lake TH, West Ridge up ED, traverse to Mt Wilson, Wilson's North Slopes down, then did Wilson Peak. I tried to follow Wentzl's report (thanks a lot!) on the ridge and found the time splits to be accurate. Link below. Do not take this ridge lightly. I'd recommend studying up on it as much as you can before going and giving yourself plenty of time. The traverse has a little snow, but I never threw spikes on. Wilson's North Slope has a good amount of snow. Times: 5:15 start, 7:15 trail flattens, 7:30 cross stream, 9:00 false summit, 11:45 ED, 12:30 start traverse, 2:15 Mt Wilson, 2:25 depart, 4:15 Navajo Lake trail, 4:45 ROA saddle, 5:40 Wilson Pk, 5:55 start back, watched sunset on Gladstone ridge and ate, 11:35 car. https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=19069 Photos 1-3 are West Ridge, 4 is North Slope 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2020-10-09, By: mikec
Info: The south slopes are free of snow but the north side doesn't get the sun due to the sun now being more south in the ski. I tried the north buttress the day before but ran into snow/ice. I did summit Diente 10/01 but there is ice not snow on the north side near the summit. Plus I didn't want to go down the class 4 so I skirted around the second to last climb on the north side and broke some ice away to get around. I just wanted to write my report because people are talking about snow but it was ice. Don't mess around bring some gear. I used my ice axe and put on my crampons. I guess u could risk it because it was a flat section on the north side but ur call! It was from the snow fall on Sept 1 and it was thick probably still there.(pic north buttress) 
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Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-26, By: zwags0406
Info: Ascending the north slopes via the couloir is pretty unsafe right now. We didn't have any snow gear with us and the couloir didn't appear to have much snow in it so we went for it. The snow was deeper and more unstable than expected. I'm not even sure crampons would have helped very much with how soft the snow was. We got too high in the couloir to turn around by the time we realized it was too sketchy. We ended up making it up to the ridgeline after about 4-5 hours in the couloir, and be both had mild frostbite on our fingers from clawing through the snow. At this point we were too exhausted to continue to the summit and we were scared of finding more snow. We made the hard decision to descend El Diente on the south side despite our camp being at Navajo Lake. It was much better and I'd definitely recommend the south side for anyone not ready for a hard snow climb. I'm not sure the snow on the north side will melt before more snow falls, so it might be closed for the season. I heard a similar nightmare story from a pair that tried climbing the north side of Mount Wilson on the same day, so beware and be careful! 
 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 2020-09-18, By: zootloopz
Info: The south side of the traverse is basically snow free - patchy snow but mostly avoidable. The north side is clogged with up to ~36" of snow. This is split literally perfectly along the traverse ridge. Went up from kilpacker on the south slope routes - Diente is great up until the last 0.25 miles when you turn onto the north side of the peak - where there is some legitimate snow/ice - but it is doable with microspikes. The traverse is definitely far from perfect - the crux wall from Photo 22 is perfectly fine, but there is patchy snow on the narrows which takes a bit longer to navigate, and there is a second crux to the route with the snow - Photo 26 with the steep downclimb on the north side of the traverse - it is very steep and covered with fresh untouched snow - we went off route to the right at this point on a narrow ledge which connects back to the gully leading up to Mt. Wilson. Be prepared to choose multiple times between going off route a bit to stay on the south side or choosing snow travel. Microspikes and poles required. The descent from Wilson south slopes is also completely snow covered down to 13k. Overall time: 11.5 hours. 
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Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-06, By: alpinenut
Info: You did not need traction to deal with the snow that was up there on Sat. 
 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-06, By: James2015
Info: Pretty straightforward -- beautiful day which made a late start possible. Route made sense, basically following the weak points in the cliff bands, although I found it hard to match up the route pics with the terrain (maybe because there's a fair amount of snow in pics?). Regardless, knowing the general directions of the route it was easy to see where to go up, maybe only point that made me think a bit was when you zag back up a grey-green gulch section (it seemed like people were sometimes going too far south into red rock area). There was a little snow/ice on the north side of the ridge (final 100 yards) that made it slick in places, but not bad. It is a talus-fest, which got old on the way down. 
 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2020-09-02, By: henryclimber
Info: The route had a light dusting of snow from overnight. It was not an issue until after crossing to the north side of the ridge. The last small gully close to the summit was a risky challenge since I couldn't asses the stability of the loose rocks under the snow. I used a hiking pole to dust off some snow here and there and carefully crossed over. Other hikers on the route decided not to take the risk which I think was wiser. Think about this and plan ahead unless the next few days are sunny. 
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Route: North Buttress
Posted On: 2020-08-24, By: SummitStormer
Info: Absolutely North Buttress is the route to take on El Diente. It was an absolutely enjoyable climb to the top. Top 5 route of my 50+ 14er routes! The entire route is Class 2 and Class 3, there were no Class 4 moves that the 6 of us could remember. There is a 40 foot section of looser rock, but otherwise solid all the way to the top It did take 4.25 hours. **Note: go RIGHT on Photo #14. The class 3 slabs and the chimneys are avoidable, if you choose. You will quickly stall out if you do not go right: Our group ascended the chimney (Photo #16) which is more 3rd class and stalled out at the next section of chimney options which was estimated at 5.6 or 5.8. Much easier to simply go right. We did the traverse to Mount Wilson and did not descend El Diente via the North Buttress route, and would not recommend it to descend. We did hear 3 rockfalls on the slopes and were thankful we were not in the gully 
 
Route: North Buttress
Posted On: 2020-08-10, By: little_castaldo
Info: I do believe we made the right choice in picking the buttress to ascend El Diente. The buttress itself was...85% solid. There are loose rocks and boulders, but we managed to get to the top without pulling or kicking any rocks down. However, there were several close calls that might have been very serious. We made sure to climb one at a time, or side-by-side. It took us about 4 hours from Navajo Lake (much longer than anticipated). A couple was ascending the North slopes at the same time, and we heard several rockfalls, which they confirmed at the summit. The next day, as we were hiking up to Wilson Peak, we saw two parties ascend the North slope of El Diente, and there were at least two major rockfalls lasting 1-2 minutes. 
 
Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-19, By: Scott P
Info: Witnessed several large rock falls down this route today. I'd recommend avoiding this route at this time. 
 
Route: South Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-19, By: joeygoat9
Info: The snowfields between Kilpacker basin and the ridge were soft enough at 6 AM to walk up in just boots. You could walk around them if you wanted to. The Mt. Wilson turnoff isn't really distinguishable unless you're watching the route description closely. We overshot and ended up backtracking across the slope. On the north side of the ridge right below the summit, the gully is still filled with snow. Our moves around it were class 4 but not too bad. Only saw occasional cairns on the way up but the route description makes it clear where you need to go. Traverse to Mt. Wilson is snowfree. If you need to bail like we did, the gully about 80% of the way across worked well for this - just loose and steep class 2. 
 
Route: North Buttress
Posted On: 2020-07-19, By: abreibart
Info: El Diente-Mt Wilson Traverse Navajo Basin T.H. First: Kudos to the USFS San Juan NF for maintaining that trail in such awesome condition!! They did an incredible job clearing avalanche debris from the 2019 slides at the switchbacks (R3-D3 slide path). Thanks. Also, trail is not cupped or eroding like a lot of wilderness trails. Way to go!! Trailhead and hiking trail conditions: Friday-two overnight vehicles in parking lot and saw two campers in the Basin. At around 1 mile from the bridge, saw bright eyes in forest looking at us around 3:30 AM. We think it's a bear. Overall 5 cars in lot and one truck in parking area 0.1 miles from the T.H. Saturday: 25 backpackers and 20+ day hikers. Main lot still had capacity. We saw a few more tents. Route: Took north buttress, which Sonja navigated from the terminal moraine up valley of the lake. Solid rock and fun. We ended at El Diente, which has no register inside the tube. No rockfall to worry about and we were the only ones on the route. Ridge was fun and solid. No snow and no people. Sonja navigated the entire way and we made it to the saddle to Mt. Wilson, where we saw a young man and dog from Moab. Fun rock to top. The cap on register needs replacing if anyone is up there (see pic). The fun began from the saddle to the basin. The descent is the hardest part. We went straight down from the saddle. Rock scree is miserable and loose. Snow is at least 35 degrees and an ice axe likely won't stop you on a glissade. If you use snow field, you need crampons. We knocked some rock off but we kept out of each other's path. We heard rockfall from the northern slopes but saw no climbers. Awesome route and climb. Recommend: Navajo T.H in one day and the North Buttress. Be prepared for miserable downhill which is worse than Vestal gully between it and Arrow. Bring ice axe and crampons if you plan to hike snowfields. 
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Route: North Buttress
Posted On: 2020-07-11, By: CaptCO
Info: Buttress is dry and traverse is mostly summer conditions minus a few sections that can be avoided 
 
Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 2020-07-06, By: Trotter
Info: Went up El Diente south slopes, traversed, then down Mt Wilson southwest slopes. El Diente south slopes almost entirely summer conditions, a few flat snowfields down low, no problem crossing in trail runners. Right below the summit block is very sketchy snow, but you can bypass it with a couple class 4 moves. Traverse is mostly snow free, but the few patches of snow remaining are very sketchy. Slip on them, and you fall and probably die. Recommend spikes or ice axe. Mt Wilson southwest slopes is a mixture of very loose talus and scree, and then steep snow. No easy way to bypass the steep snow. Its getting too suncupped for glissading, but remained very icy and slippery. Need ice axe to descend safely. 
 
Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-06, By: CO_Wolfe
Info: Snow is present in most of couloir. It's icy in spots and climbable in others, but it's hard to know which is which. We stayed on the right (west) side of the couloir on the way up, scrambling on rock and putting crampons on for parts where we had to cross snow. The ramp at the top where you turn right is also 90% snow covered and is just as steep as the couloir, so use caution. Once you get to the ridge, the route becomes 10 times more enjoyable. The rock is solid, snow patches are few and small. Near the very summit, I chose to do an easy class 4 move to avoid snow in the final 100 feet. Weather and time weren't on our side for the traverse to Wilson, so we descended the north slopes as well, hugging the rock on the opposite (east) side. This is some of the loosest rock I've ever climbed. Lots of rockfall, both from our group and natural. We took turns descending each section so that two of us could hide out and avoid rockfall from the third person. Add me to the list of people who can confidently say that you shouldn't climb this route. Photo 1: View of the route from the bottom showing the extent of the snow coverage Photo 2: The only snow we crossed on the route above the couloir. Might be able to cross below it, but there was more exposure there. Photo 3: Mt. Wilson and El Diente from the Gladstone-Wilson Peak saddle. You can see there is still snow to cross on the Mt. Wilson north slopes route as well. 
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Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 2020-06-29, By: austinpavlas
Info: Climbed El Diente via the North Slopes (snow climb) on Saturday. Started from the Rock of Ages trailhead (climbed the whole group). There were not snow until about 11,500. From 11,500 to the RoA saddle there is a few snow patches that are no more that 200 ft across. Avoiding them would not be worth it. We started at 3:30 am, so all of the snow patches were rock hard and I would not have felt safe crossing them without some form of traction. There was minimal snow from the RoA saddle to the base of the North slopes of ED. Snow was fantastic until around 8:30 when it started to soften up. 
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Route: North Slopes
Posted On: 2020-07-02, By: jmcguire1969
Info: The North Slopes route is in great shape. This is a snow climb. You can remain on snow almost the entire climb, for 1500+ vertical. We climbed the lower apron with microspikes then switched to crampons for the upper couloir. We were on the snow at 5am and it was nice and hard, ice axe and crampons are a must! As we neared the top, the snow became softer and kick stepping became the norm. Route finding to the summit was pretty straight forward. There are a couple patches of snow to navigate on the final summit push but we were able to walk through them. This is a long and committing route but way better than hiking talus. Enjoy! 
 
Route: North Buttress
Posted On: 2020-06-26, By: Christensenje
Info: Pretty dry all the way up. My partner and I are not extremely cautious climbers but we did feel the need to put crampons and have an ice axe for one small snow crossing after the catwalk, before the crux. I'm glad we had them. We also took the alternative class 3 as another person said as there was still snow around the class 4 chimneys. Very doable and fun route if you have mountain experience but do not underestimate the exposure at times! 
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Route: Mt. Wilson and El Diente Traverse
Posted On: 2020-06-26, By: Christensenje
Info: Needed crampons and axe on the initial gully crossing into the notch and a small down climb right after. Maybe didn't need for down climb but it was nice insurance to have. After that you can go without. We pulled them out one more time near Wilson right before the climb up the final gully at the saddle. Some nice boot pack but again extra insurance is always nice. 
 
Route: North Buttress
Posted On: 2020-06-22, By: yeshecanney
Info: Completely dry on Navajo Lake approach and entire north buttress. Need to cross short (30') snow section 200' beneath summit at the top of buttress where it meets couloir to the west. Axe is helpful here for security. Slab traverse at top of buttress is still snow covered, we took route up and right (photo 19 in route description). 
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