| 5 San Juans in 2 days Solo
Peaks Climbed: Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn, Handies, Redcloud, Sunshine
Total Elevation Gain: 17,000+ feet
Total Mileage: 32+ Miles
Ascent Party: Mountainmicah83, Baz Agastus (the dog)
Mid last week, I noticed the weather forecast for the weekend looking really good. I was originally planning on doing Ellingwood Aręte on Crestone Needle but my partner had a family emergency and had to back out. Now, with no real solid plans, I started researching the possibility of nabbing the Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn combo. After thinking harder about it, I figured I could at least get something else so I decided I would see how that went, and if I had energy, I would go for Redcloud and Sunshine also. With one partner out for the family emergency and my other normal partner out of town, the only thing left to do was to talk my wife into letting me solo. I knew I could talk her into it. It was giving her that feeling that I would more or less be safe. I packed my gear in the car Thursday evening and researched all of the routes one last time. In the past, I haven’t been to big on stats for my TR’s but I was so intrigued on what I accomplished this weekend that this report talks more about them than normal. The intent of this is not to brag but just to give a reference on time, elevation, and distance as well as another numbers for people to add to their thoughts when researching climbs to prepare themselves.
After getting off of work a little early Friday, I loaded up the dog left home around 3 PM from Colorado Springs. My goal was to make the Matterhorn Creek Trailhead before dark to avoid the last .6 miles of 4WD in the Dark. I rolled in at about 8:45 PM. The road was dry and easy driving until the last .6 miles of 4WD. A Honda Civic should be able to make it to that point. From there, the 4WD isn’t horrible. My guess is that a Subaru Forester or Outback could make it there with a little care. It was an easy bumble and jumble in my jeep. With my few minutes of daylight to spare, I hastily setup the tent and readied my gear for a 2:30 AM wake up time. At 10:15, I was out for the night.
Peaks Climbed: Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn, and Handies!
Total Elevation Gain: 12,000+ feet
Total Mileage: 20+ Miles
(I don’t usually measure elevation gain and mileage exact but this trip I decided to keep the GPS on while climbing)
Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn
2:30 AM both of my alarms go off waking me up after a few short hours of sleep. That is… if I even actually slept. Maybe a little! I hastily packed up the tent, heated up some coffee and had a few quick bites to eat. At this point, I debated the sanity of such an early start and almost went back to sleep for another hour in the Jeep. I then reasoned that the earlier the better for the sake of softening snow through the day. I felt like I was carrying too much weight so last minute, I dropped the snowshoes and decided to risk not bringing them (which turned out to be fine). By 5:15 I was standing atop the 12,200-12,400’ pass underneath Matterhorn peak staring up at Uncompahgre. I remembered reading in Gerry Roach’s book that if the gulleys had snow in them on the peak that they would make a decent snow climb and avoid going all of the way around. Fifteen Minutes later, I was under the base of the climb putting on crampons and axe and stepping off. By this time, it wasn’t quite light enough for pictures. I will show pics of my route later on in the report. At about 5:45 to 6, it was finally light enough out to snap a pic of Wetterhorn in the twilight.
for the remainder of the report see my blog HERE
See you at the Top!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):