Peak(s):  Wilson Peak  -  14,017 feet
Date Posted:  08/04/2009
Date Climbed:   08/02/2009
Author:  ronbco
 Wilson Peak from Bilk Basin  

This report is not well organized...but I don‘t have time for that now and want to jot some info down before I forget...

Exposure report:
I‘ll add some emphasis to the route description about the exposure on this mountain.
Often it seems that the trip reports are by those with a lot of experience and therefore are naturally more comfortable with exposure.
Crossing the side after the saddle (to get from the Gladstone ridge to the Wilson SW ridge) I feel is more risk than say Crestone Needle or Longs (loft route) climbing and less than Eolus. There are a few places where you will be relying on your hands to steady yourself... and there is no doubt the result if you slip or the rock gives. But most of the rock there is pretty stable. The climbing between the false summit and summit is perhaps a bit less intimidating, but it is nothing the average hiker will scoff at. But certainly not as "exciting" as Wetterhorn. Most in my party felt helmets were a good choice...for peace of mind (pardon the pun).

On the descent we decided to skip the exposure near the saddle and went down the scree slope. It was not bad for scree, but if you are uncomfortable with rock/dirt surfing then it will be an ordeal.

Approach Report:
The Bilk Basin approach is indeed beautiful. Bigger waterfalls than usual for CO. I‘ve never been in the other 2 basins, but looking down on them it seems they are desolate by comparison.
Even in early august there were wildflowers 6ft high!
It‘s amazing that there was good cell coverage from the trailhead, the lower basin and the summit.

Note that turnoff of 145 is labeled South Fork Rd (and Ilium), but Google maps does not show that. Camp Ilium, where you turn off to go to Sunshine Mesa, is a small place and easy to drive by. The road from 145 can be traveled with a reasonably powered 2wd with good clearance. I went in an Explorer but never even shifted to L2 in 2WD.

We camped at the lower basin (about 11k elev) on a small plateau about 50 ft above the marsh, in the center, on the east end. It has nice places for a few tents and a camp fire ring.

Route finding:
Note that you should count on 3-4 hrs hiking from lower Bilk Basin to the summit. There is no single, obvious route from there (until you see the orange steep path to the saddle). From the upper basin, looking down on the lake ahead of you, we chose to go up the rib in the on the right, at the end of the marshy area.

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