| WETterhorn - SE Ridge
As a teacher, I have the luxury of time off over the summer. This summer, I have made full use of said time, and decided a while back to plan a big 14er-centric trip in late July:
Day 1: Wetterhorn
Day 2: Sneffels and Chicago Basin approach
Day 3: Eolus Group
Day 4: Pack out and hike in to Horn Fork Basin
Day 5: Harvard and Columbia
Day 6: Ride Monarch Crest
My hope was to kill a bunch of birds with one stone: bag some peaks, enjoy some of the scenery, and put in some solid altitude training in preparation for the Pikes Peak Ascent in August.
On Sunday morning, I had a nice run with the Incline Club in Colorado Springs, going most of the way to Barr Camp and back before embarking on my week-long journey. Left COS at 7:00 PM, pulled into the Matterhorn Creek TH around 11:30 and crashed in my car.
During the night, I was awakened twice by storms - lots of rain, but minimal thunder and lightning. Still, this did not bode well. My alarm went off at 5:00, and I was grunting up the Matterhorn Creek trail in an intermittent drizzle by 5:20.
Sunrise was funky with all the moisture in the air.
One of many mini-storms that blew through with Wetterhorn in the distance.
Uncompahgre in the distance. Uncompahgre from Matterhorn Creek is a HIKE compared to Wetterhorn.
I found the upper part of the approach to the ridge to be quite pleasant and fairly unique. As a matter of fact, nearly ALL of the Wetterhorn route is aesthetically pleasing.
Gaining the SE ridge. Only one small snow crossing to deal with.
A closer look at some of the class 3 rock before the 'notch'. It reminded me of Crestone rock as it was more solid than I anticipated.
A look down at one of the steeper sections...still nothing too intense. Many people say Wetterhorn is a great peak to cut your class 3 teeth on, and I couldn't agree more. The true climbing isn't very sustained, and the rock for the most part is in good shape.
The 'notch' that dumps you out on the west side of the ridge. It kind of jumps out at you.
Summit shot, 7:15 AM. Unompahgre in the background. I was trailhead-to-summit in 1h45min - the quickest I've ever run across. Granted I do tend to move pretty quickly, but the route itself is delightful in it's brevity - you don't dilly-dally around; instead, you get right to the good stuff!
A look down the SE ridge from near the summit. The pictures make it look scarier than it really is.
I was back at the car by 8:30 AM and had plenty of time to kill before tackling Sneffels on Tuesday. I knew my 2WD Maxima couldn't make it over Engineer Pass, but I thought I'd drive up that way for as long as I could just for kicks. I actually made it to some crazy house right at the summit before turning around. Nice drive.
A substantial waterfall (it has a name, but I've since forgotten it) between Engineer Pass and the Matterhorn Creek TH.
I had a pretty good latte at an internet coffee house in Lake City before the arduous drive around the San Juans to Ouray on Monday afternoon.
Round trip time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):