Peak(s):  Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
Matterhorn Pk  -  13,590 feet
Post Date:  06/24/2009
Date Climbed:   06/22/2009
Posted By:  Pappy

 Wetterhorn & Matterhorn via Matterhorn Creek   

Peaks: Wetterhorn (14,015)
Matterhorn (13,590)

Date climbed: 6-22-09

Trailhead: Matterhorn Creek

Elevation Gained: 4,850 feet

Total Mileage: 9 miles

Trip Summary:

6-21-09: Jake and I arrived late in the afternoon at the upper 4WD Matterhorn Creek trailhead. Having hiked to the summit of San Luis earlier in the day, we decided to camp just below the parking area in a little pullout. The road up was dry and void of snow.

6-22-09: At 5:00am after the usual morning ritual we set out for Wetterhorn and Matterhorn. There was just enough light to see without a headlamp.

Before entering Matterhorn basin we took about a mile side trip into Wetterhorn Basin.

After checking out Wetterhorn Basin we traversed around Wetterhorn SE ridge into Matterhorn Basin

First view of Matterhorn as we entered Matterhorn Basin (13,590 feet)

First view if Wetterhorn from Matterhorn Basin.

Once in the basin we hiked straight up the middle of the basin. Once it became much steeper, we picked our way up the ridges to the left to the saddle of Wetterhorn's SE ridge.

Wetterhorn's east face and connecting ridge to Matterhorn.

Wettherhorn's east face and SE ridge.

SE ridge.

Heading up the snowfield to SE ridge. As we headed up to the saddle we crossed or went up several snow fields that were well hardened from the night's freeze.

Once reaching the ridge the wind once again began howling. In anticipation of this we had already put another layer on before we reached the ridgeline.

SE ridge to Wetterhorn.

Jake trying to fly.

Picking our way through the rocks.

After hiking up the SE ridge a ways following the main thoroughfair, we came across a couple of snow shoots on the western side. After crossing one and coming across another we decided to climb to the top of the ridge and onto the eastern side to continue. We didn't want to hastle with crampons for such a short stretch of steep snow and ice.

East side. Good scrambling, lots of loose rock though.

We continued up the east side until reaching the ship's prow. At the ship's prow we stopped for a bite to eat and drink. Before heading on we discarded our packs, which were loaded with gear for all conditions, especially since we didn't know for sure what the conditions would be.

After going through the keyhole we headed up the short stretch of class 3 climbing up the gully. The gully was free of snow, but did have a little ice in places. Nothing that you couldn't step around though.

Jake climbing up the gully.


About halfway up the gully there's a pronounced ledge or walkway.

Sooner than you expect you're abruptly at the summit. The view of Matterhorn and Wetterhorn Basins were marvelous!

Looking down on the ship's prow from the summit.

Summit view of SE ridge.

Jake climbing down from summit.

Once making it down the gully we climbed around on ship's prow for a while.

We descended the top of SE ridge to the saddle. Staying on top of the ridge was much easier and quicker than the way we ascended. Once making it to the saddle we glacaded down various snow fields to the flats of Matterhorn Basin. From the basin I headed up the south ridge of Matterhorn.

View of Uncompahgre while hiking up the south ridge. The ridge is much steeper than the picture leads one to believe. Most of the way up the ridge was grassy with few rocks.

Once nearing the top of the ridge, there is a quick transition from grass to a pile of loose rock. I followed the ridge line for most of the way. Just below the summit I traversed around the NE side and up to the summit.

From the basin the summit of Matterhorn took me just under an hour. Having spent the past couple of days in the windy alpine country, it was refreshing to find Matterhorns summit calm and warm. Needless to say a siesta was in order. For the next 30 minutes I shared the summit with a curious marmont peeking over the rocks at me as I basked in the sun.

Summit view to Wetterhorn.

Knowing that we had a long journey back home, I pried myself from my sunning rock and made my way back down to the basin the same way I ascended.

Wetterhorn and Matterhorn are both spectacular peaks that rank as some of my favorites.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Nice weekend!     06/24/2009 22:59
You got some bagging done. Good work. Liking the pics.


Duplicate photo     06/24/2009 23:02
Thanks for posting, I will be attempting both in the near future. You have 2 photos with the route in red.

George Kaplan

Excellent job!     06/25/2009 13:16
I got chased off Wetterhorn by the ”wetter” last year and would like to give these another go soon. Thanks for the good condition photos!


Muy bueno     06/25/2009 14:49
Nice work! Thanks for posting! Just the beta I needed to see as we are headed down there this weekend.


Nice Day!     06/26/2009 12:53
Looks like you got great weather for your day on Wetterhorn and Matterhorn - glad the gulley was dry for you. We ran in to you on San Luis the day before as we were coming up right near the summit. Good luck on the few peaks you‘ve got left to finish!


Faster way to get from Stewart Creek to Lake City     06/26/2009 16:45
A couple of people have asked how I got from Stewart Creek (San Luis) to Lake City. Here‘s a much quicker route than going all the way back to Gunnison and back down to Lake City: From Stewart Creek travel north on FR794 --> take left at first main intersection onto FR794.2B --> after a couple miles take another left onto FR790 --> after a few more miles take a left onto FR788 --> you‘ll go over Slumgullion Pass (awesome view of Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn, and Matterhorn)(one of those views that makes the average mountaineer drool a bit.)---> at HWY 149 take a right to Lake City. Once in Lake City take the first road left after crossing the bridge. This will take you to the Hensen or Alpine loop Road. The roads were all in great condition, no snow, passible with 2WD. Happy trails!

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