Peak(s):  Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
Post Date:  04/08/2013
Date Climbed:   04/06/2013
Posted By:  livetothemax96
Additional Members:   Mikeo

 An Almost for Wetterhorn   

With the recent lack of a lot of snow and the warm temperatures, it was decided that Spring was here. The next thing that needed to happen though was to decide something steep to ski. After reading the older conditions report stating that there were tracks on the face of Wetterhorn, it became the goal. We loaded up the car made the 6 hour drive to Lake City. We passed the winter closure and made it another mile up the road, only leaving a mile-mile and a half to the trailhead. Not too bad, it should be easy to cover at night. Upon arrival, we quickly settled down and went to bed, taking advantage of the 2.5 hours till our alarms went off. And sure enough, at 4:30 am, the alarms rang, the skins went on and we departed. The trailhead quickly came and went, distances seem shorter in the dark, and we were greeted by a lovely view of alpenglow on the summit of Wetterhorn. It was going to be a good day.

Looking on at the alpenglow

Our objective lit up

The skin continued and we soon arrived in Matterhorn Creek, greeted by the expanse of the rolling white basin. The first peak to come into view was Matterhorn, it looked so far away. Never the less, it was still early and things in the Rockies are closer than they appear.

Up the Creek towards Matterhorn

We strolled on up the creek leaving a stark line across the undisturbed snow in the basin as we went.

The track

It had just dusted some snow the night before leaving the landscape was pristine and white.


We continued up the creek, gaining altitude and getting closer to our goal, the distances seemed huge.

The skin up

The hulking mass of Uncompahgre was the next sight along our tour. It looked dry, the snow was not good everywhere. The sun was also coming up, better hurry.


Finally, the East Face, our goal, came into view and we took a moment to plan our attack.

Scouting out the climb to come

The final skin to the base of the face. Definitely less snow than there has been in previous years, especially for this early in the season. Looked like we had picked the right day to ski it!

Almost there

The other views in the creek were spectacular. Looks like another, extended, trip will be needed to set up lines on some of the other faces and features here.

Lines for days!

Matterhorn looking awesome

We arrived at the bottom of the face at about 9:30, not too bad, but it was definitely starting to cook a bit in the direct sun. Only a couple small roller balls and the snow underneath the recent stuff still felt frozen. Time to start booting!


Looking over the San Juans is always a pleasant sight.


We decided to space it out a bit climbing just to be on the safe side. Up up and away!

continuing to boot

My ugly mug

Stairway to Heaven

As we approached the top of the face, we noticed that roller ball activity had increased dramatically and some of our steps coming up the face had triggered small point releases in the top layer of snow deposited the night before. We decided to bail on the summit and get to the skiing ASAP as it was quickly approaching noon.

Getting ready to ski

Getting started over the roll was quite intimidating...

The roll

Committing to the steep stuff!

Getting some steeps in! photo:Mike O

I proceeded to ski the whole face in one go, then it was Mike’s turn to rock it. He cut skiers left and found a pretty killer line.

Getting Exposed

Sending it

Getting adventurous lower on the face

It’s feeling a lot like Spring all of a sudden!

Spring powder!

Getting to ski such an aesthetic face so early in the season completely made up for the lack of a summit. We played it safe, had a blast! The summit will be there for next time!

the face as we left it

This was my first TR, so I hope it didn't suck too bad!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

rookie TR
04/08/2013 23:21
nice work


04/09/2013 02:03
Pics...nicely done!


that pic of you on the steeps
04/09/2013 06:38
wow!!!! i was thinking of you guys on sunday. glad you had fun!


04/09/2013 12:53
Way to get a great line. Looks like you had some nice snow!


Good Stuff
04/09/2013 15:28
Looked like a great trip. What peak is that in pic #15?


04/09/2013 16:08


Picture #15
04/09/2013 19:10
It's a point around 13,200 on the ridge in between Wetterhorn and Matterhorn. And the snow was great! A bit icy on top, but it was nice and soft lower on the face!


Very nice!
04/10/2013 00:46
That face is a beautiful line. Nice job, nice TR.


04/10/2013 01:08
Good TR, but not great.


Nice TR!
04/11/2013 21:30
That face is tough to time correctly for sure, escpecially if you go for the summit. Could be rock hard and cold, you take 30 minutes for the scramble to the top, then return to the top of the face and it's already too hot to ski. I still haven't gotten to ski it. The turns off the top look steep!

Steve Climber

Pic #3!!!
05/09/2014 12:26
That shot is outstanding. Really shows the ”huge distances”. Looks like a great ski.

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