Welcome to Paradise!
Wetterhorn Peak has been very high on my 'Must Do' list for quite some time. Fortunately I was able to secure a few days off from work this summer, and my wife and I jumped at the opportunity for an extended weekend in the San Juans. We decided on a three day backpack up Matterhorn Creek followed by a couple days of R&R in Crested Butte. This would give us enough time to hike Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn, and hopefully Matterhorn. I was expecting there would be a good chance of rain during this trip considering the time of year, and the weather forecasts earlier in the week seemed to confirm this. We left Westminster on Wednesday morning and pulled into a rainy Lake City around three in the afternoon. We feared this was a preview of the weather we would encounter over the next few days, but it was short lived and turned out to be the only significant rain we would see the entire weekend. We parked the car and fled the ravenous mosquitoes at the lower Matterhorn Creek Trailhead and set up camp near treeline, just inside the wilderness boundary.
Matterhorn Creek and Peak
We woke up at 4:15 on Thursday morning to this beautiful moonlit scene just outside our tent.
Matterhorn by Moonlight
Daylight slowly began to break as we made our way up the Ridge Stock Driveway toward Uncompahgre.
I had hiked Uncompahgre eleven years earlier on a backpacking trip, and looked forward to revisiting the old friend. My wife decided she wasn't feeling well enough to hike Uncompahgre with me, so she spent the day frolicking in the meadows at the base of Matterhorn Peak.
Wetterhorn and Matterhorn
The Ridge Stock Driveway meanders up and down along the base of Uncompahgre before finally meeting up with the Uncompahgre Peak Trail (standard route).
Heading up the Uncompahgre Peak Trail
The weather looked promising after summiting Uncompahgre and I felt pretty good, so I set my sights on Matterhorn.
Matterhorn, Wetterhorn, Sneffels Progression
View of 13,158 on descent from Uncompahgre
Matterhorn is a bit deceptive. The gentle green south slopes make the summit appear close, but it's a thousand foot elevation gain to the summit.
Return to Matterhorn
The south slopes were blanketed with these Alpine Sunflowers.
Flower covered South Slopes
The last bit to the summit requires a little minor scrambling.
Approaching Matterhorn's Summit
The views of Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre make Matterhorn well worth the extra effort. This would be an amazing place to be at sunrise.
Wetterhorn from Matterhorn
Uncompahgre from Matterhorn
View of Wetterhorn from the South Slopes
I made my way back down to camp and stuffed my face with ramen in preparation for Wetterhorn in the morning....