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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Mount Wilcox

Updated: May 12, 2023

August 11, 2021

Mount Wilcox (13,408 feet)

Route: N/A, created myself on CalTopo

5.35 miles; 2455 feet elevation gain

Total time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Another front range 13er and the last one we needed to climb to complete the 13ers in this area. Many people combine with this peak with others but since we had done the rest of them we did this one on it's own. The others, that we have already completed: Argentine Peak, Square Top Mountain, Mount Edwards and McClellan Mountain. This was also the first time I had created my own route on CalTopo. I had a friend's route to help me out but I pushed myself to create one myself before looking for guidance. It was fun and I'm excited to create more routes in the future. You can see a screenshot of our route below.

I had Kane and Brittany had Gryff. With perfect weather we didn't stress about starting super early. We started on the designated trail to Silver Dollar Lake and Murray Lake. We completed the first two miles in 50 minutes, arriving at Murray Lake around 2.2 miles. From here the trail ends and it becomes route finding time. We passed the lake and headed off trail. We first climbed a short gully, up onto the first visible ridgeline. From here there is a little bushwhacking required before heading up the steep grassy slope to the ridgeline. The next mile is very steep on a mixture of loose rock and grassy tundra. This mile took us an hour. When you reach the ridgeline it turns to class two rocky climbing. You navigate over rocks of all sizes with some serious exposure to your left all the way to the summit. The views from the summit are absolutely stunning with so many mountains in the area. It was clear blue skies towards Grays and Torrey but hazy towards Bierstadt and Sawtooth.

From the summit you can either head back the way you came making it an out and back or you can head directly down the grassy slope from the summit to make it a loop. With my route planning and talking to a friend we opted to make it a loop, which is the shorter route distance wise. However, it involves off trail hiking in the dense forest for about a mile. There was bushwacking, lots of downed trees, steep slopes and no path at all. We followed the map I created and ended up popping out right by the car as planned. If you aren't comfortable with this, doing it as an out and back would be very straightforward. Overall, it was great hike with some solid elevation gain and it is close to home!

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