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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-09-19||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: weather from 9/18-9/20 great. Clouds hit Wetterhorn Friday morning, but were benign. Sat and Sun totally bluebird. All dry on the peak
|2015-09-03||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Started from upper 4WD Matterhorn Trailhead and climbed Wetterhorn. Driving in, the Aspens were just starting to turn. Still mostly green. More fall colors showing here than near Telluride/Wilson Peak two days before. Free of snow and ice, still dry.
|2015-08-21||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: This is my 30th fourteener summit this summer! My goal is to climb them all this summer. You can read more about this hike and others at sunshineof1985.com. Enjoy! Time started: 7:05am at main trailhead End time: 12:30pm? (GPS died, forgot to look at time- sorry!) Time to Summit: 2 hours and 45 minutes Time to Descent: Around 2 hours *GEAR (to bring): Helmet (I didn‘t bring it, but people new to class 3, could use it), bear spray, GPS, extra socks, phone, SPOT Satellite Tracker, Map, Topo Map from 14ers.com, hiking boots with 2 pairs of socks on, long-sleeve, wind-guard/raincoat, light weight puffy coat (didn‘t need), lightweight gloves (didn‘t need), day pack with water sack (64 oz), snacks. *Road Condition: The road is easy until you make a turn up North Henson Road. Alix stopped here, and I was able to take us to the Matterhorn Creek sign (.7 miles short of trailhead). It gets impossible for sedans past this part. *Trail Condition: The trek through the forest is short. Luckily someone etched into the first junction sign which direction to take towards Wetterhorn. Pay attention to the directions at the junctions. The trail gets really skinny which gets obnoxious, but it‘s easy to follow. Once climbing up the side ridge, there is a really long, steep, slippery section of scree (yellow rock). Once past that, the trail is well marked with cairns, but we still paid attention to the directions given by 14ers.com. The last 150 feet are class 3, it‘s steep and you are doing more vertical climbing here; but it‘s doable and easy if you aren‘t consumed by the exposure below. Those afraid of heights, I recommend a helmet here. Also wait your turn going down to avoid rocks falling on people below you.
|2015-08-04||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Conditions were perfect. Summer standard in full effect. Most enjoyable. Quintessential 14er experience.
|2015-07-24||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Wetterhorn was true to its name today, as grey skies covered the whole area throughout my hike and drizzle fell off and on throughout the day without any thundercloud build-up or thunder. I started at 5:27 AM and finished at 11:50 AM, taking it easy all day as this was my third 14er in as many days and I had hiked Uncompahgre from the Matterhorn TH the previous day and San Louis the day before that. I was pretty sore when I awoke, but the beauty of Wetterhorn called me. What a fantastic peak! Be ware of the zillions of marmots in the rock field below the southeast ridge. A few of them just moved their tails off the trail as I passed. I saw several families of mother, father, and pups. There was even one just before the Class 3 section at about 13,200 feet. He didn‘t even budge when I crossed his path. I‘ve climbed 34 14ers and have never seen so many marmots in one area. This is truly the place for marmotophiles. (I feared encountering a vicous, vicious gatekeeper marmot who might ask me the average flight speed of a swallow to allow me to pass. Certainly they wouldn‘t expect you to answer with a European or African swallow... maybe a Violet-Green Swallow, which is the common one at elevation in Colorado?) The Class 3 portion of the climb was a joy to climb. It‘s well marked with cairns. I felt no need at all for a rope. The rock was solid. I could see using a rope for a group of teens or boy scouts, but if you‘ve done any technical climbing, Wetterhorn will seem like an approach route rather than a 5+ climb. It was really fun. Unfortunately, with the weather socked in, I tagged the summit and descended quickly. Be sure to notice the notch in the ridge rib you need to pass through. I found it easily enough on the ascent, but descended below it on the descent, and had to climb a bit back up to find it. If you haven‘t climbed Wetterhorn, put it on your shortlist. (I wouldn‘t recommend climbing this peak in sneakers, which I saw some late-morning hikers attempting. With the rock slick with drizzle, I was very glad to have stiff Vibram soles.)
|2015-07-18||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Great conditions up there. Two small snowfields that were enjoyable slides on the way down. No ice on rocks up high and no trouble with stream crossings down low. About 3.5 easy hours to the summit and under 2 hours down, parked at the 4wd turnoff and walked the last section of road. Watch out for the marmot and handful of chipmunks preying on innocent snack food at the summit
|2015-07-04||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: It was my 30th bday and wanted to start my year with a bang. Wetterhorn was my 21st peak and by far my favorite. We started super late around 7:30 because when we drove to the trailhead at 4:00 AM there was a lot of lightening in the distance. The sky was covered in clouds but it never rained on us. I drove up the 4WD road with my 2012 Subaru outback and it did well. We made the mistake of turning left at the first junction to follow the Matterhorn cutoff and stumbled upon a bear which was rad! Mistake well worth it! Toward the saddle there were still some snow patches but it was well tracked and no need for gaiters or snowshoes. The Class 3 rock scramble was a blast but I wouldn‘t recommend it for someone afraid of heights. This was my 1st class 3 but I thought there were plenty of hand holds and the rock was solid. I never worried about slipping. I didn‘t wear a helmet but it‘s not a bad idea for the fellow hikers above who may accidentally knock a rock loose. Just be sure to yell "ROCK" if that‘s you. I LOVED it! We finished the route by 12:30, clear of all thunderstorms.
|2015-06-30||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Route is close to summer conditions with some scattered mud and snow. We read the report from last week and we were hoping for a snow climb but the hard freeze is over and snow too soft and wet - there was plenty of wet slough activity in the high basin. High alpine meadows are starting to bloom and are really beautiful. I am not sure which flower it is that is so fragrant, but this route really smells great too! Met Mindy and Chris up there, as well as several aggro marmots. The summit scramble wall is solid and fun, but as all this just thawed out in the past few weeks, take care on the entire class 3 section below. We found several loose boulders and rocks. We actually had a close call with a boulder about the size of a cooler - all my husband did was touch it with his hand as he passed by. He injured his hand trying to deflect it to keep it from running him over, which luckily gave me a second to jump to the side and take cover as I was directly below. We also witnessed a massive rock slide from a distance on one of the lesser area peaks the next day while climbing Uncompagre. The 2 mile 4WD trail to the TH does require 4WD, but is not anything out of the ordinary if you have that available.
|2015-06-30||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: We hiked the Southeast Ridge of Wetterhorn 6/30/15 with absolutely perfect weather. We were able to drive our Camry to the "lower" trailhead at 10,300 which is 0.7miles from the official trailhead. There are a few slushy snowfields along the trail just below the ridge that caused us to posthole ~10 times. We found gaiters to be helpful but neither snowshoes nor crampons/ice axe were needed. We brought helmets but didn‘t use them as there were few other climbers and we were never climbing below them. The ridge itself and the class 3 sections up higher were completely snow free and the rock was very stable. We carried our drone with us and filmed a few sections of the route. We met a few fellow climbers that wanted to see the footage and we promised to share the videos on a trip/conditions report here. So, as promised, you can see the videos which have nice shots of the conditions at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMjyQ3OsCfM or youtube search "Wetterhorn Drone" and see 5 videos posted by MTS Drone.
|Chris and Mindy||2015-07-01||4||5|
|2015-06-27||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: The Wetterhorn trail is quickly approaching summer conditions. The trail is maybe 80% snow free at this point, although there is still lots of snow in the basin the trail avoids most snowfields pretty well; snowshoes are not necessary. Since the last report, the steep snowfield higher up on the ridge has melted, the only snowfield we found along the scrambling portion was just below the prow. We did not feel the need to use our ice axes for this portion as it was neither very steep nor long. It would still be wise to bring your axe, as some folks may not feel as comfortable as we did. You can also get a couple great glissades on the descent! Get out there and enjoy it, the flowers are really starting to bloom now.
|2015-06-21||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Climbed Wetterhorn and Matterhorn on the summer solstice - and our 1st wedding anniversary (!). Intermittent snow - with a very wet and muddy trail in between - begins around 11,800‘, then continuous from about 12,500‘ to the saddle (Photo 1). We took a more direct line to the saddle than the summer trail, following a low-angled, snow-filled gulch from about 12,400‘ to 13,000‘ (Photo 2), re-joining the summer route for the last 100‘ or so to the saddle. Other than a couple spots at the very top, snow in this gulch was pretty consolidated and supportive even after solar heating. Once on the ridge, we ditches our snowshoes to cut weight, though it did mean a bit of postholing on the couple of short snow sections on the lower ridge (Photo 4). For those interested in climbing Wetterhorn in its current state, and are newer to this type of mountaineering, the following is important. The standard route, as described in the peak page on this site, and marked with cairns, currently requires traversing a rather steep - up to 45 degrees - snowfield with a not very good runout (Photo 5), for about 150-200 feet. Crossing this slope requires, at a minimum, an ice axe and ability to self-arrest, and possibly crampons if going very early (we didn‘t need them, but we only went this way on the way down). It IS possible to bypass this snowfield by climbing straight up to the top of the ridge, and then skirting around/over several towers, but this requires a few moves of 4th class with some loose rock and quite a bit of exposure. We did this on the way up, and did not love the idea of repeating it going back, hence we elected crossing back on the snow. Point being, if doing Wetterhorn in the next week or two, either be comfortable on steep snow, or be prepared for a slightly more difficult scramble with more "no-fall" sections than usual. On the plus side, the final short traverse and steep 3rd class section were totally free of snow and ice. As a final note, the west face of Uncompaghre no longer has continuous snow lines from the summit (Photo 6). Amazing mountain, and an awesome mountaineering adventure right now!
|2015-06-14||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Climbed on sunday 6/14/15 via the SE ridge. A hard freeze on Saturday night made the snow conditions perfect for the ascent. I did not need crampons or snowshoes the entire way up. The ridge was pretty clear as well. Only a few rocks had black ice. We summited by 6:30 am. On the descent, we needed snowshoes once we were off the saddle as the sun started to strengthen. The snow is melting very fast and the line is about 11.2k. Clear all the way to upper 4WD trailhead.
|2015-06-09||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Great morning for climbing! I was able to climb Wetterhorn and Matterhorn without trouble. Snow is deep above 11,500 and snow shoes are advisable. I brought crampons but didn‘t need them. The class three areas were a little icey but easy to negotiate. Get an early start and have a great time!
|2015-05-17||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: We actually climbed the Matterhorn but I did want to put this report under Wetterhorn as I think it will help show folks what it‘s looking like up there. As other reports indicate, a down tree in the road makes for a longer walk. We started skinning about a mile after the TH. The skinning was good and we make it up to about 13,350 before we bootpacked to the summit. As you can see, it‘s REAL snowy up there! Good luck to anyone headed to the San Juans.
|2015-05-15||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Tree fall still there on the Matterhorn Creek 2WD road. Drivable 9.8 miles from the milage start. A few snow drifts from 9.8 to the summer TH. Quickly melting snow covered the lower route. Firm surface layer in the basin. Low visibility of Wetterhorn and Matterhorn. A few cornices and loaded slopes were seen on Wetterhorn and up high on the ridge connecting to Matterhorn. Still waiting to consolidate.
|2015-05-09||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: I didn‘t make it to the top today because a large snow storm rolled in right as I was about to hit the ridge. There is a lot of snow from about 1/2 mile past the 4WD TH to the very top (see picture). Also the ridge looks to have a pretty unstable looking cornice that is probably best avoided and there were three recent slides that might come close to intersecting the trail, you can‘t really tell in the picture sadly but trust me, they are there. All-in-all the snow pack seems unstable which is why I diverted to Matterhorn in stead.
|2015-02-05||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: From the Hanson Creek road closure to the summer 4X4 trailhead at Matterhorn creek, the road is snowmobile packed. My partner was able to boot the road except for the last 1/2 mile to the summer trailhead. A good trench now leads to treeline and conditions for the approach are PRIME. The class 3 section on Wetterhorn is snow covered with icy spots due to melt but is very manageable (still harder than in the summer). We didn‘t use crampons or micro spikes. On a side note, Uncompahgre‘s upper slopes are wind blown and are good. No trench that I know of up Nellie Creek, however. 1 - Looking up Wettherhorn 2 - Snow covered class 3 on Wetterhorn 3 - Wind blown slopes on Uncompahgre.
|2014-10-26||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: What a difference a few weeks makes, reading the previous report I felt inclined to add this update because things are dramatically different. First of all, Wetterhorn is 90% dry, including all areas that require any scrambling. Trail approach: Completely dry until you start to get into the part that goes through the boulders, then some patchy snow that that makes a couple of spots hard to follow, but its easy enough to get back on track. The majority of the snow on the entire route is actually in the bowl just below the summit ridge. That is the only section that would even require gaitors, but I didn‘t bother. (Photo 1) Summit Ridge: Almost no snow, a couple of very short patches that were not even deep enough to worry about as the foot prints go all the way to the dirt, trail is easy to follow (Photo 2) Lower Crux: Dry. Braided trails and misleading cairns, but its like that in the summer so I would call it summer condition. There is one patch of snow on the east side of Ships Prow, but its at a flat section and nothing to be concerned about (Photo 3) Summit Gully: Completely dry and so is the step up to get on the ramp, and the ramp. Summer condition, dry and snow free! (Photo 4) In summary, Wetterhorn has melted out from the early October storms and is more of a September condition. There is some weather forecast for Monday 10/27, but if it doesn‘t produce much and the rest of the week dries out, take advantage and go get that elusive November grid slot ;) PS - Most south and west aspects in the northern SJs are dry, but Uncompahgre‘s SE face is holding snow.
|2014-10-02||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Attempted Wetterhorn yesterday (Thursday). With all the new snow Wednesday and then all this sunshine the conditions are probably much better than when I was up there. No issues getting to the lower TH even with snow on the road, hiked the 0.7 to the upper TH. Broke trail the entire day so you are welcome for whoever was there today Lots of post-holing, waist deep in some places along the ridge. Was a battle along the ridge and then decided to turn back and descend once I reached the prow. I am not very experienced on snow and I was climbing solo and there was nobody else out there that day so I was being very conservative, but don‘t underestimate the danger on the ridge with all that loose snow. Ice axe was a necessity. Tried to post a bunch of pics but the files are too large and I don‘t feel like messing around re-sizing them sorry.
|2014-09-24||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Climbing conditions were perfect, no snow or ice on the mountain. Very few climbers a group of 4 and another single climber. We took it slow and enjoyed the climb.