El Diente Peak isn’t technically a ranked fourteener, as it doesn’t rise at least 300 feet above its saddle with its taller neighbor, Mount Wilson. However the peak is officially named for historical reasons, and it’s a tough but exciting class 3 climb to reach the summit. For these reasons, many people include the El Diente Peak route on their fourteener to-do list. The standard route using the Rock of Ages approach is best used in early summer when the north face gully is still filled with snow. A crampons and ice axe are a good idea for this ascent, along with the skills to use them both.
Climbing El Diente Peak: Fast Facts
CAUTION: This Route is Hazardous!
You are responsible for your personal safety in the backcountry.
These peaks can be unpredictable and dangerous. Help is often hours or days away: your safety is primarily your responsibility. Prepare for your trek, understand your limits, be aware of the risks, and equip yourself with the necessary skills and gear.
El Diente Peak Route Guide - North Slopes
Climbing El Diente Peak? Plan your ascent with this fantastic route description from 14ers.com. It’s highly detailed with lots of specifics about the North Slopes route. You should review it thoroughly before attempting to climb this tough 14er.
This topographical map of the El Diente Peak route is a handy resource for your climb. I recommend downloading a digital copy on your phone and printing out a spare paper copy in case anything happens to your electronics along the way.
Use these two sources to check the weather conditions before your trip. Consider the temperature high and low, wind speed, precipitation, and whether there are any storm systems on the horizon to be aware of in the area.
Below is the complete National Weather Service forecast for the El Diente Peak region. I recommend thoroughly reading it before you leave and attempt to climb El Diente Peak.
Climbing El Diente Peak is a serious undertaking, requiring special gear to help you succeed and stay safe along the way. Here are some of my top recommendations.
First, you will need a good pair of hiking boots. I recommend one of these boots specifically. They have good traction to grip slick rock and snow, and their ankle support reduces your chances of spraining or twisting your ankle. Make sure you take time to break in your boots before climbing Mount Wilson.
You will also need a backpack to carry food, water, and the other ten essentials with you on your journey. These backpacks have the right capacity and quality to help you reach the summit without breaking your back. Don’t forget to fill your bag with the ten essentials.
Climbing El Diente Peak involves a serious risk of rockfall, making a climbing helmet essential for your safety. There are many good options on the market, but I recommend one of these four helmets for 14ers like this one.
Lastly, you need to bring a map with you to help navigate. While many people just print out a map online, I recommend investing in something better. These maps and route guides are sturdier and show more info than a printed map. Even better, you can buy a personal locator beacon, GPS unit, or satellite messenger, which are the best navigation and emergency device of them all.
Camping near El Diente Peak:
There are also many dispersed camping opportunities along forest roads near the trailhead ideal for those climbing El Diente Peak. Learn more about dispersed camping near 14ers here.
Lodging near El Diente Peak:
There are many cabins available via Airbnb and other services in Telluride and Ridgway, perfect for those climbing El Diente Peak.
The area around El Diente Peak is beautiful, one of the most spectacular regions in the entire state. Practicing Leave No Trace ethics while climbing El Diente Peak will help you preserve this mountain for future generations. These practices include:
- Plan ahead, review the route and pick a weekday or day in September to hike.
- Stay on the trail, and keep dogs leashed on and off-trail to reduce trampling of alpine grass.
- Leave your Bluetooth speaker at home and let nature’s sound reign.
- Urinate off trail, and pack out your waste – a cathole won’t work at high altitude.
- Give wildlife a wide berth – 100 meters if possible. If they approach, back up to keep space.
- Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints.
Safe travels, and good luck climbing El Diente Peak!
El Diente is not technically ranked by the USGS as it does not have at least 300 feet of prominence above the saddle between Mount Wilson and it. However it is named anyways for historic reasons so many people choose to climb it anyways.
Hiking & climbing 14ers is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.
- Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
- Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
- Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
- Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
- Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
- Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.
Climbing El Diente Peak and other mountains, scrambling and climbing up Colorado’s high peaks are inherently high-risk, dangerous activities. There is a significant risk of injury or death, even with proper planning and experience. Those using my guide accept all risks associated with climbing 14ers and do not hold this website or any information they obtain from it liable for any accidents or injuries that occur while engaging in these activities on Colorado’s high peaks. It is each hiker or climber’s responsibility to research their route carefully, bring the ten essentials, and practice other safe practices, though even these precautions do not eliminate risk and danger. Visit these summits at your own risk.