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Peak(s):  Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
Post Date:  09/20/2006
Modified:  09/25/2006
Date Climbed:   09/09/2006
Posted By:  Iguru


 Wetterhorn, teamwork gets it done!   

Arrived at the trailhead around 8:00 AM, happy to see other climbers preparing to summit Wetterhorn, as I did not want to be the only climber that day. The weather conditions were a concern, with lots of low clouds and mountaintops not visible because of them. I decided to start hiking anyway, and would see how far I could get before being either turned back due to conditions, or make the summit. It had snowed some at the higher elevations the night before. The temp. was above freezing however, and it was just slushy, not frozen, at least at the trailhead. There were two climbers ahead of me, and two behind me. The two ahead were moving fast, so they disappeared. The two behind me were at about the same pace, and I was saying to myself, don't turn back guys, keep coming. Little did I know, they were saying to themselves, as long as that guy ahead of us keeps going, so will we. When I got to the ridge where the hiking becomes more difficult, I waited for the two behind me to catch up. We became acquainted, (Jim and Wally) and decided to prod further. This is where I thought the hiking was most difficult, as route finding now becomes part of the climb. We worked together to find trail markers, and using the 14ers.com trailguide, we found our way to the "notch". This area was well sheltered and I felt very secure here, thinking what a great place this would be to camp. After taking a short break, I climbed through the notch first. The snow at this point was still not frozen, and the rock was wet, not especially slippery. If the surface was frozen, this is where I would have turned back.
Coming through the notch onto the slab, I was down on all fives,
(both hands and feet, and butt). I moved slowly down the slab making sure it was not frozen before taking the next shuffle towards the shelf.
Once on the shelf, my hiking cohorts did the same. Now that we are all in the same place, (with no room to spare,) the only way to go is up. We all left our packs on the shelf, and proceeded to climb the last summit pitch. While exposure is significant, this climbing I found not that difficult, and in a short time, we were all three proudly standing on the summit
As we were standing on the summit celebrating, the clouds lifted some and gave the best view of Uncompahgre I will ever see.
I have concluded that Wetterhorn is the pinnacle of viewpoints for Uncompahgre. (My favorite 14er.) The climb down was easier, because route finding was not as big an issue. We descended backwards carefully through the notch, the same way as ascending, on all five‘s. After the climb, we had Mexican food at the Blue Iguana in Lake City. Sorry for the "hero" shot, but this is once in a lifetime for me. P.S. anyone staying in Lake City should check out Alex and his Five Fourteeners Gallery 8)
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"Hero" Shot

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Matterhorn with Wetterhorn to the left and summit in the clouds.

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Ridge just ahead.
Too busy route finding and nursing frozen fingers to take photos of hard section, so..........

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Coming down



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