My buddy Tom had told me over the winter that he had wanted to do Uncompaghre and Wetterhorn together when he got the chance to get down that way. So when my sister and I were planning our summer mountains I decided to include this combo. I mentioned it to Tom and he said he would like to come along. We left Evergreen around 4pm and met my sister in Buena Vista and headed to Lake City from there. Checked into the Silver Spur around 9 and headed to bed. We knew we had weather to deal with in the afternoon so we wanted to get an early start. The alarm went off at 3:15 and we were off, by the time we got to the trailhead and were all geared up it was 4:30. I had planned on doing Wetterhorn first and then Uncompaghre, do the more difficult first.
Tom not pleased with being an early riser
Heading up the trail Since we knew we might have to deal with weather Tom and Jean convinced me to do Uncompaghre first so that we would have at least gotten 1 of the 2 if the weather rolled in. So as the sun came up we approached Uncompaghre.
Sunrise in the San Juans
Uncompaghre during sunrise
Before we knew it we were at the summit at 6:05.
More pictures getting to the summit
Looking over the edge once you reach the cliffs
Summit and the weather still looks good
We reached the summit and decided the weather was still amazing. As are the views. So we continued on towards Wetterhorn we decided to take the third chute (as suggested by Roach) into the valley. As we hiked at high speed across the valley I had remembered reading a few trip reports where some people had skirted the base of Matterhorn and met up with the trail on the other side. So we sort of just started of across the valley under Matterhorn and stopped about halfway across because we could see no trail and were unsure of which way to head up Wetterhon.
Wetterhorn across the valley I suggested we work our way the valley between two large boulder fields to try to get higher up to see if we could make out a trail. Well we sort just started heading across the boulder field when we spotted the trail going up the ridge, so off we went a bouldering...
A bit of off track bouldering
The trail going up the ridge
I have always said that I don't like switchbacks and I would rather just go straight up. Well Wetterhorn did not disappoint this trail went straight up the ridge.
Straight up the ridge
Looking down to the off track boulder field
Then the fun began, there was some nice class 3 scrambling which made Jean kind of nervous, if you had read my last trip report you know she broke her hand on Crestone Needle, and she thought the descent might cause her a bit of trouble only being able to use her right hand. Just before we reached the top she thought she might want to turn around instead scaling another section of fairly steep fairly exposed rock. Then we look up and Tom is standing about 20 feet above us looking down and saying, "Hey guys, this is the summit." Well with that good news we were up in a flash to summit at 10:40.
Views from the top
Mountains in the distance
Uncompaghre from across the valley
At this point it was starting to look like the weather might be coming in so after a nice easy summit time (it must have been 65 degrees up there with no wind) we headed back down. From the summit of Wetterhorn to the Nellie Creek TH is kind of a haul and going back around Uncompaghre instead of up the gully added two extra ridges and quite a bit of a hike. Although it rained a bit around us and we got a touch of snow on the way down for the most part it held off until we were in the car and headed back down the 4 wheel drive road.
A look back at Matterhorn and Wetterhorn
The winding trail if you don't go back up the gully
We were right here
Back at TH at 3:05
RT a between 16 - 17 miles
The San Juans are beautiful this was as much a sightseeing adventure as it was a peak completion.