Ascent to Mount Wilson-Mount Wilson south summit on 2012-05-01

Climber: Roger Roots

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Point Reached:Mount Wilson - Mount Wilson south summit
    Elevation:6778 ft / 2065 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was at least my 7th attempt to bag Mount Wilson. I had previously failed due to bad routefinding, whiny friends that insisted on turning back, lateness and lack of food and water. I had previously tried it with rope and other gear, but this time I decided to go with nothing but a t-shirt, a hat, and a pair of shorts. No food, now water, nothing. I was in Vegas attending the Libertarian National Convention.
I prehydrated at McDonalds on Charleston Blvd by drinking several large Cokes. I parked at First Creek trailhead and jogged up the brushy trail until breaking off to the right before reaching the notch. Tough slog up to a point I'd reached several times before. On previous tries, I had aimed for the second crack from the left. I don't know the name of the crack.
Early on after reaching the actual climbing, there is a sort of rock edifice that offers split routes either to the left or the right. I had previously tried and failed at the right and had always made it further up the left. This time I climbed and scrambled up the left but then veered right directly above the plateau.
Upon reaching the huge "red stripe" (which can be seen when looking at the mountain from the road) I reached a point where I had to chimney crawl down a long (100 feet) crack into a sandy trail at the bottom. This time I decided to head right and scramble around some exposed sandstone. It was there that I found a cairn.
The cairn indicated that others had been here, and that this was a likely route. From here it was a long series of steep climbes up a brush-filled crack. This was the route! (Maybe this is a recognized, published route up the front face.) There were other cairns periodically.
Past the red stripe and was back into white sandstone. I had never been this high before on the front face. Continued up a series of brushy crags. Finally reached the "ridge" but was far from the summit. It was here that I found it was easier to work around the back (west) of the cliffs near the top. From this position you can see that a much easier route exists from the jeep road behind the mountain (which I had been on before). Upon reaching what I thought was the summit, I found it was a false summit and that a higher point existed to the north, separated by a large chasm.
As I was at this point getting quite dehydrated, I wisely opted to head back down instead of bagging the main summit. Even this was not easy, as I worked downward on the backside of the mountain, toward the First Creek canyon. The route to the actual creek was difficult, however, as a 200 foot cliff had to be navigated at the bottom. At one time I tried to chimney down a thin crack, but quickly found it was too tight (or I was too fat). This was a dangerous situation, and I had a terrible fear of getting stuck in this crack and never being seen again. I painfully clawed back up and looked for another way over this cliff.
A cairn saved my life. It was positioned at the top of another crack which was climbable. From the creekbed it was a series of hops over large boulders until reaching the sandy brushy trail and then the parking lot. I paused to drink some water directly from the creek as I was so dry.
It was dark when I walked the last mile. I had seen no one on the mountain all day, but a handful of people on the flat trail in the morning.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Weather:hot and windy at the top
Ascent Statistics
    Route:front face, by a series of cracks toward the left
Descent Statistics

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