Wheeler Peak, New Mexico (13,161 feet)

Wheeler Peak, New Mexico (13,161 feet)

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

July 26th, 2002, 5:17 pm #1

Post your reports to New Mexico's highest point.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/nm.shtml
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Anonymous
Anonymous

August 1st, 2002, 4:22 am #2

A change in the approach to Wheeler from Williams Lake was posted at:
http://www.network54.com/Hide/Forum/mes ... 1028160734
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Anonymous
Anonymous

August 14th, 2002, 4:06 am #3

Post your reports to New Mexico's highest point.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/nm.shtml
Adam Roddy (7/5/99)
http://www.adamroddy.com/

Mike Sawyer (5/27/97)
http://americasroof.com/nm2.html

Scott Surgent 8/15/94
http://www.surgent.net/highpoints/
Last edited by dipper on March 17th, 2004, 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Hojo
Hojo

September 19th, 2002, 5:11 am #4

Post your reports to New Mexico's highest point.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/nm.shtml
Not a cloud in the sky.

We started at 7 am at Williams Lake Trailhead. Freezing cold
Arrived at Williams Lake at 8:25
Arrived at Wheeler Peak shortly after 11 am
Left the ridge at 11:45 am
Got down to Williams Lake at 1 pm and got back to our car at 3. One of us was in pain from blisters and the other had knee problems once we hit the Lake area.

There was a lot of highpointers hanging out at the top. Nice bunch of people and had a great time chatting with them all.

John & Howard
Arlington TX
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Rex
Rex

September 26th, 2002, 5:51 pm #5

Post your reports to New Mexico's highest point.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/nm.shtml
Hike short summary:
Left trailhead @ 6:30 a.m.
Williams Lake @ 7:15 a.m.
Wheeler summit @ 8:45 a.m.
Back to Lake @ 10:00 a.m.
Back to trailhead @ 10:30 a.m.

A more detailed trip report and good photos of the route can be found at the link below. Peak was covered with snow but made the hike quite enjoyable. Great highpoint and I was done early enough to drive over and hike Black Mesa the same day.

http://www.geocities.com/rexhighpoints/ ... /trip.html
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Olivier Kozlowski
Olivier Kozlowski

June 8th, 2003, 5:28 am #6

Post your reports to New Mexico's highest point.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/nm.shtml
We started up the Bull of the Woods route early Monday morning in perfect weather. BOTW is the way to go at this point. There are only a few places where you'll hit snow. One of the first is just past the fence above BOTW pasture. You'll see the trail curve to the right ahead of you heading into the trees and disappearing under snow. DON'T follow the trail here. Instead, go straight up the grassy, virtually treeless, side of the hill right in front of you. We tried to follow the trail and postholed our way through, following the apparent trail, only to emerge at the top of that hill & look down at the grassy incline. There are a few other snowfields you can skirt around and some (particularly above La Cal Basin, which we did not dip down into to follow the trail) where you'll have to cross and may posthole some, but it's not even worth lugging up snowshoes anymore for those short stretches. As we approached the summit, it was rather disturbing to watch a SAR helicopter making repeated passes overhead. I’m still not sure what they were looking for; let’s hope it was a training run.

On the way down, we chose to try the Williams Lake route. Conditions were worse here, but snowshoes probably wouldn’t have helped much, since you’d be putting them on and taking them off repeatedly. After the scree & snowfields, I found some really nice glissading down some snow patches, while Andy chose not to engage in the fun. Eventually I found myself looking steeply down towards Williams Lake with Andy nowhere in sight. The route seemed to follow a roughly 60 degree snow filled chute down towards the lake. I did my best to stay along the sides of the tree-lined route, but had to traverse it at one point. I postholed, recovered and began an involuntary 30-40 foot glissade. Not fun. Anyway, I called Andy on the radio to warn him and was disturbed to hear him admit to being lost. I understand there isn’t much of a trail to follow up past Williams Lake, but with snow on the ground, route finding was more difficult. Andy eventually spotted other climbers descending and I waited for him at Williams Lake. The route out from the lake is where you hit the most annoying snow, postholing in several stretches. We crossed an avalanche debris field en route to the trailhead. In retrospect, Andy regrets advocating the Williams Lake route back to save 4 miles. I, on the other hand, was glad to have the chance to see both routes.
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Clark W.
Clark W.

August 4th, 2003, 8:29 pm #7

Post your reports to New Mexico's highest point.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/nm.shtml
This was my second time to summit Wheeler Peak. My first trip was from the Red River side past Horseshoe Lake several years ago. I left the Twining trailhead at 6:00 a.m. and I reached the summit at 9:10 a.m. It took me right at 1 hour to reach the Bull-of-the-Woods Pasture. This was the worst part of the hike IMO. It was a constant uphill climb. It took me another hour to reach the Lo-Cal basin and a little over an hour to reach the summit from there. The views were outstanding for these last two segments. Several bighorn sheep were grazing along the trail.
After spending about 45 minutes at the summit I returned by the same route. My return hike took just over 3 hours so my total hike time was right at 7 hours.
If I ever do this hike again, I am going to attempt to avoid the elevation loss into the basin by contouring around it to the west.
All in all it was a great hike.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 8:13 pm

September 2nd, 2003, 2:36 am #8

Post your reports to New Mexico's highest point.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/nm.shtml
Nathan and I climbed Wheeler Peak via the Williams Lake trail as part of our CO/NM/OK trifecta. Please see my trip report for details.
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Joined: March 1st, 2004, 12:02 am

March 13th, 2004, 11:23 pm #9

Post your reports to New Mexico's highest point.

Read about the summit:
http://americasroof.com/nm.shtml
I climbed Wheeler Peak, the Highpoint of New Mexico at 13,161 feet, on Saturday September 6th, 2003. It was my 8th state highpoint.
I wanted to climb Wheeler Peak on my way to Vail, CO after spending a week in Ruidoso hiking and getting acclimated to altitude. I left Ruidoso on Friday morning and spent Friday night in a motel in Taos. Scattered T-Storms were predicted for Saturday. After watching the lightening in the mountains on my drive north on Friday evening I had my doubts as to whether I could make the climb as planned. I decided to go to the Williams Lake trailhead early and play it by ear. I would have liked to go up the Bull-of-the-Woods Wheeler Peak Trail and down the Williams Lake Trail, or vice versa, but because of the potential severe weather and also because I had a non climbing friend waiting in the car I thought it best to take the quickest route. My friend had joined me on some shorter, easier, hikes but he, like my wife, is not fond of steep climbs. At the hikers parking lot I met six brothers from Texas and a friend of theirs from Colorado. They said I could join them and we started our hike at about 7:30AM. We reached Williams Lake at about 9:00AM and spent the next two hours slowly struggling our way to the summit. I’m in fairly good shape. I workout and jog regularly. My cardio fitness was good and I seemed to handle the altitude OK but jogging 30 to 40 minutes each day, weight training, and occasionally doing 20 to 30 minutes on the Stairmaster doesn’t quite prepare the leg muscles for this. The lactic acid in my legs built up and my thighs would burn so bad I had to stop every few minutes to rest. I didn’t feel too bad because everybody else, who was at least 20 to 30 years younger than me, were doing the same. As we got closer to the summit it got cold, foggy and misty. I’m glad I had my gloves in my pack because I had to scramble on the cold rocks for the last hundred yards and my hands were getting cold. It was sleeting when we first reached the summit but then it cleared and the skies turned blue and we had spectacular views in all directions. I saw approximately 25 people on the mountain that day and there were about 15 at the summit while I was there. It turned out that a couple that was gaining on my group and caught us at the summit were members of the Highpointers Club. They live in Colorado and are originally from Illinois but I didn’t catch their names. They were not dressed very warm and didn’t stay at the summit very long. The brothers and friend decided to go on further and were planning on going down the Bull-of-the-Woods Wheeler Peak Trail so I said goodbye. I ate my lunch, signed the register and enjoyed the views while having the mountain all to myself. It didn’t take long for the summit to go from slightly congested to complete quiet and solitude with no one else in sight.
I went down the same way I went up. Actually I kind of skied down in the loose rocks most of the first half way down. It was easier on my cardio system but seemed harder on my knees and thighs and I had to stop about as frequently as on the way up. By the time I reached Williams Lake my legs felt like jello and I was exhausted. I don’t know if it was because my legs were so tired and I was walking like “Rubber Man”, or because I was carrying my old military pack and wearing military trousers and hat, but I noticed some people looking at me kind of strange, more so than usual. Maybe I looked like a crazed militiaman who had been living in the mountains and had come down to terrorize the women and children. It turned out to be a warm, sunny day and there were lots of families and dogs hiking around Williams Lake. At least the dogs liked me.
When I got back to my car my friend, Curt, was talking to a former Marine from Phoenix who was planning on climbing Wheeler Peak the following day. He was another non-member of the Highpointers club who was interested in doing as many highpoints as possible. When we told him that I would be in Colorado for the next week he asked if I would be interested in climbing Mt. Elbert with him. I told him that I did it 20 years ago but would like to do it again. I gave him my number at the timeshare resort that I would be staying at in Vail but I never heard from him. He may have tried to call and not been able to get through to me. My wife said when she first called me it took 10 minutes for the desk to figure out which condo I was in and put the call through.
According to Blake Murphy, who I met climbing Guadalupe Peak, Texas last Tuesday, a Forest Service Ranger told him that they were considering putting switchbacks on the trail from Williams Lake to the summit of Wheeler Peak possibly in the near future. Blake had attempted Wheeler Peak a few days before I met him in Texas. He didn’t make it because he got headaches from altitude sickness at the 12,000-foot level. He had not spent any time getting acclimated to the altitude. He may try again before heading back to Georgia.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

March 17th, 2004, 4:39 pm #10

Adam Roddy (7/5/99)
http://www.adamroddy.com/

Mike Sawyer (5/27/97)
http://americasroof.com/nm2.html

Scott Surgent 8/15/94
http://www.surgent.net/highpoints/
Adam Roddy (7/5/99)
http://www.adamroddy.com/

Mike Sawyer (5/27/97)
http://americasroof.com/nm2.html

Scott Surgent 8/15/94
http://www.surgent.net/highpoints/
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