World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Mount Wilson (Colorado)

Mount Wilson
Mount Wilson is the peak in the far left background of this photo. (Wilson Peak is in the center foreground.)
Elevation 14,252 ft (4,344 m)[1][2]
Prominence 4,024 ft (1,227 m)[2]
Isolation 33.01 mi (53.12 km)[2]
Listing Colorado Fourteener
Colorado 4000 meter summits
Colorado range high points
Colorado county high points
Mount Wilson is located in Colorado
Mount Wilson
Location High point of Dolores County, Colorado, United States[2]
Range Highest summit of the
San Miguel Mountains[2]
Coordinates [3]
Topo map USGS 7.5' topographic map
Mount Wilson, Colorado[3]
First ascent September 13, 1874, by A. D. Wilson, Franklin Rhoda, and others (Hayden Survey party)
Easiest route North Face (hike/snow climb/scramble)[4]

Mount Wilson is the highest summit of the San Miguel Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 14,252-foot (4,344 m) fourteener is located in the Lizard Head Wilderness of San Juan National Forest, 10.6 miles (17.1 km) north by east (bearing 12°) of the Town of Rico in Dolores County, Colorado, United States.[1][2][3] Mount Wilson should not to be confused with the lower Wilson Peak nearby.

The peak was named for A.D. Wilson, a topographer with the Hayden Survey. He was in the first ascent party, which climbed the peak on September 13, 1874, via the south ridge (a difficult route, not often climbed today).[5]


  • Climbing 1
  • Geology and history 2
    • Glaciers and permafrost 2.1
  • Historical names 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Mount Wilson is ranked among the top ten hardest of the Colorado fourteeners to climb.[4][5] The standard climbing route ascends the North Face from Navajo Basin. Some permanent snowfields exist high in the basin (sometimes termed "Navajo Glacier") and the climb usually involves snow travel, with ice axe and crampons recommended. Scrambling on rock then leads to the summit.

A popular, though long, outing for expert climbers is the mile-long ridge connecting Mount Wilson to El Diente Peak. The ridge is sharp and rocky, and requires difficult scrambling and often a small amount of rappelling.

Geology and history

Mount Wilson, and the rest of the San Miguel Mountains, are made up of a large, irregular tertiary igneous intrusion.[6]

The Mount Wilson region became the site of intense mining activity, particularly for silver, in the early 1880s. The most famous of these mines was the Silver Pick Mine, which gave its name to Silver Pick Basin, just north of Navajo Basin.

Glaciers and permafrost

Mount Wilson contains four small glaciers on its summit, these being the southernmost modern glaciers in the Rocky Mountains and indeed the most southerly in the contiguous US outside the Sierra Nevada in California. These descend to 3,887 metres (12,753 ft). None of the glaciers have ever been named, and it has never been investigated whether they are presently active.[7] At least nine rock glaciers, composed of alpine permafrost, exist on the northern slope of the mountain, extending down to around 10,000 feet (3,050 m), although the lower limit of permafrost is more typically around 11,500 feet (3,500 m).[8]

During the Pleistocene glaciers were much more extensive than today, covering the whole summit plateau[9] In glaciations previous to the Wisconsinian, it is generally thought that summit ice caps were even more extensive and joined to form the “San Miguel Glacier” with icecaps in the San Juan Mountains.[10]

Historical names

  • Glacier Mountain
  • Mount Wilson – 1906 [3]

See also


  1. ^ a b The elevation of Mount Wilson includes an adjustment of +1.899 m (+6.23 ft) from NGVD 29 to NAVD 88.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Mount Wilson, Colorado". Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Mount Wilson".  
  4. ^ a b Louis W. Dawson, Dawson's Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners, Vol. 2, Blue Clover Press, 1996, ISBN 0-9628867-2-6, pp. 160–165.
  5. ^ a b Walter R. Borneman and Lyndon J. Lampert, A Climbing Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners (3rd ed.), Pruett Publishing, 1994, ISBN 0-87108-850-9, pp. 231–239.
  6. ^ Halka Chronic, Roadside Geology of Colorado, Mountain Press, 1980, ISBN 0-87842-105-X, p. 245.
  7. ^ Glaciers of Colorado
  8. ^ See Péwé, Troy L.; “Alpine permafrost in the United States: A Review”; in Arctic and Alpine Research; vol. 15, no. 2 (May 1983); pp. 145–156
  9. ^ Atwood, Wallace Walter and Mather, Kirtley Fletcher; Physiography and quaternary geology of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado; p. 74
  10. ^ Atwood and Mather; Physiography and quaternary geology of the San Juan Mountains; p. 72

External links

  • Mt. Wilson on
  • Photo Journal from a trip up Mount Wilson and El Diente
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.