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 Peak(s):  Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
 Post Date:  09/06/2011
 Date Climbed:   09/03/2011
 Posted By:  talusman

 Wetterhorn - My New Favorite 14er   

Disclaimer: The YouTube videos linked from here are unedited and raw. Just trying to share my experiences with friends and family.

This picture was taken after our attempts on Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre Peaks, but I thought I’d start out with it since it gives a nice flavor of what we were up against. This was taken at the Windy Point Outlook east of Lake City on the way to Slumgullion Pass Summit. Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre Peaks were on our radar for this trip. Is it just me or does this look like something from a Harry Potter novel/movie?

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Wetterhorn (left of Middle) and Uncompahgre (right) from Windy Point Overlook


My wife, Karren, and I headed out to Lake City Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, we didn’t hit the road until almost 7 PM which put us in Lake City around 11:30. We stayed at the Matterhorn Motel. It was a quaint place to stay in a quiet, small mountain town. I would definitely stay again. Wanting to get started early for an attempt at Wetterhorn Peak, we hit the sack almost as soon as we pulled up.

At 6:30 AM we got up and hit the road. 12 miles to Matterhorn Creek trailhead from the hotel. Of course, it was all gravel and dirt road, but mostly well-maintained. We arrived at the Matterhorn Creek 4WD road a little after 7 and decided to hike the extra .7 miles to the trailhead. Henson Creek Road and North Henson Creek Road accounted for a scenic drive in the San Juans. We arrived at the Matterhorn Creek trailhead and started our journey.

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Canyon Walls on Henson Creek Road

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Is This a Class 4 Chimney?


We saw Matterhorn early from the road, but the view of Wetterhorn took a little longer. But when it arrived, it was worth the wait. As we climbed, the views of both Wetterhorn and Matterhorn only got better.

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Matterhorn from the Road

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Wetterhorn Comes Into View

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Wetthorn and Matterhorn in Full View

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Matterhorn and Uncompahgre

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That's Our Destination - Looks Easy, Huh?




Along the way, we saw plenty of high-altitude wildlife.

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Marmot

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Lots of Marmots, Actually


After a bit of hiking, we finally gained the ridge and the trail got tougher. The first bit, climbing the “yellow dirt” was IMO the toughest part of the trail. It was steep and the dirt was loose and covered in small pebbles. Actually, descending this was the toughest part. I saw 2 people fall on their rumps on the way down this (my wife included). I also saw a few people run/surf down it. That seemed to be the way to go. Forget the traction because it’s not going to happen.

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Yellow Dirt Sucks!

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It's All Uphill From Here

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You Gotta Be Kidding Me...

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I See a Rib Obstacle

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Away With the Poles - Hands Are More Useful Now

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Exposure isn't for Sissies


A few weeks back Karren and I had hiked up to attempt Kelso Ridge (a class 3 climb). After reaching the first class 3 section, Karren decided that she wasn’t ready for class 3 so we split up. She took the standard route and I climbed Torrey’s Peak via Kelso Ridge. We knew that the standard route up Wetterhorn Peak was a Class 3 climb, but Karren wanted to attempt it and was prepared to stop when the route got tough. It turned out that this happened once we reached the class 3 gully that followed the rib obstacle. Karren found a rock to sit this one out on and I headed to the top.

The rest of the route was nothing short of amazing. The exposure was huge, but the rock was solid and the climbing was a blast. The pictures of this will never do it justice. You’ll just have to do the route if you want to know what it was like. I will say that if you are okay with the exposure, the route is actually pretty easy. There is a little route-finding, but if you’ve read the route description on this site and looked at the pictures, you’ll find it a piece of cake. It was by far the most fun I’ve had on a 14er yet. I guess since Karren didn’t make it I’ll have to go back. Darn

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Not Far - I Can See People on Top

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The Prow and The Notch

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The Staircase

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Looking Down the Staircase

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The Ledge Near the Summit

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Matterhorn and Uncompahgre from the Summit

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Coxcomb and Redcliff

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Another View From the Summit

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I Have to Descend That?

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A Final Look at the Prow






In my rush to get back down to my wife, I forgot all about my summit shot . But I got these to suffice.

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Me and the Wetterhorn

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Karren and Me


I had hoped on attempting Matterhorn Peak on the same day, but once we got down Wetterhorn, the clouds had started to roll in and we could see rain to the south. Furthermore, we had decided to try to get another night at the Matterhorn Hotel instead of camping. We got lucky on that once since someone had cancelled for the night. So we went back to the hotel, got a room, ate a bite at the Restless Spirits Saloon (the food was okay, but the drinks were cheap) and went to bed early. For tomorrow held another fun day in the San Juans with an attempt at Uncompahgre Peak.

To be continued…



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (1)
djkest


Nice pictures!     2012-05-08 09:36:28
I like your pictures of the difficulties of the upper sections- it's a nice perspective! Thanks for posting this trip report.



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