Added by Jennifer Broome
Crack a Coors on the Coors PeakBag a CO 14erLesser traveled 14,000 foot peak11 mile roundtrip hikeElevation Gain: 5300 feetClass 3-4 scramblingIncredible viewsOld mining ruins
The mountain peak that turns blue when Coors and Coors Light bottles and cans are ice cold is real. No, it is not called Coors Peak. But it is in Colorado, where Coors was born. The snow-capped mountain in the Coors logo is really Wilson Peak near Telluride, Colorado.
If you want to crack a Coors on the Coors Peak, be prepared for an intense, long haul. It is a no-joke hike. Roundtrip to summit Wilson Peak is 11 miles including Class 3 to 4 scramble. Wilson Peak is one of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks, commonly called 14ers. It is one of the less traveled 14ers because of its remoteness and difficulty.
As a first-timer on Wilson Peak, I did Hotel Telluride’s “Crack A Coors” package including hotel stay, gourmet lunch for hike, massage post hike, and a professional guide from San Juan Outdoor Adventures/Telluride Adventures.
As with any 14er in Colorado, you should begin your journey in the pre-dawn hours so you can summit before noon and beat afternoon storms. Especially with an 11-miler, an early start is critical.
We started in darkness at the Rock of Ages Trailhead. Elevation is 10,383 feet. With headlamps to light the trail, we hike to the steady sound of our trekking poles hitting rocks breaking the silence through Elk Creek Basin.
Watching sunrise on a hike is always beautiful, but seeing one from 11,500 feet standing a scree field was stunning as we hiked into the Silver Pick Basin. At 12,100 feet is a crumbling stone house from the Silver Pick Mine. From the mid-1800s to early 1900s, miners hunted for gold and silver in the rocky cliffs surrounding the basin.
From 12,100’ to the Rock of Ages Saddle at 13,000’ there are some snow fields even in late summer. By late July you can usually traverse though these with no crampons. However, we did take ice axes just in case. The hiking up to 13,000’ is Class 1 to 2. Technically this part is not difficult, but it is long with the bulk of the mileage from trailhead to saddle.
As you reach the Rock of Ages Saddle, you get incredible views of Gladstone, Mount Wilson, and El Diente peaks. At the saddle is where you should harness up if using ropes. You traverse the saddle then climb a rocky slope up to a ridge at 13,550’. A climber comfortable with exposure could do the slope without ropes.
You get a breather on the ridge up to the false summit at 13,900’. As you crest the false summit, you see the most difficult part of the climb. From the false summit to real summit is Class 3 to 4 climbing. You have to down climb about 50’ from the false summit, cross some difficult rock below the ridge, and then climb up the final stretch to reach the summit at 14,017’ high.
The panoramic views from the summit are breathtaking as you can see for miles on a sunny day, even all the way to the La Sals in Utah. In addition to helmet, ropes, and trekking poles, don’t forget to put a Coors in your pack. You can’t climb the peak on Coors and not Crack A Coors on the summit of Wilson Peak!
- Enough water for a tough 10 mile hike
- Trekking poles
- Gloves and hat
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