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 Peak(s):  Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
 Post Date:  08/18/2009
 Date Climbed:   08/13/2009
 Posted By:  Trailrunner

 Wetterhorn - our 1st class 3   

A trip up Wetterhorn – my first class 3!
Started at 5:15 a.m. on 8/13 with Tornadoman and NetJetsHiker. Our going was slow thanks to me; Poker Alice pizza from the night before was not sitting well, and I even had concerns about being able to make the trip. Alas, I plodded on.
Once out of the trees, we were all treated to a view of the Matterhorn.

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And it didn't take long after that for Wetterhorn to pop up around the bend. I did find myself a big trigger happy with the camera from this point on.

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Soon enough we were zig-zagging through a rock field – picas and marmots galore! (That said, here's a token pica pic).

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Me among the rocks, with Matterhorn over my shoulder.

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Even though we're moving fairly slow (thanks to my pedestrian pace), the yellow dirt and Wetterhorn are coming up fast. I continually admire the craggy peak, but at the same time am just a tad nervous for the exposure to come.

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To get up to the yellow dirt, we had to climb a steep dirt slope. It seems to be my habit to fall down on the loose stuff, but alas, I made it up (and down) without falling. Hooray me!

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Our first real close look towards the class 3 fun:

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I'm glad I captured a couple other hikers in this shot; gives good perspective.
And the fun really begins! Lots of rock scrambling through this section. I did have slight concerns over the loose stuff, but I never felt insecure. However, there were ample handholds. (Yes, I know, where are my gloves? In my pack – this being my first class 3, I wanted to make sure I could truly feel my grip on the rock. Oh yeah, and I was too lazy to pull them out.)

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I must say, we did get a little confused over route finding, and ended up taking a rather circuitous route to get to the prow, but get there we did. And at this point I'm getting a bit more nervous about the legendary final pitch. Will it scare me to death?
No! When I climb up on the slab, I am overwhelmingly relieved. I laugh in the face of rock staircases! Truly, the final pitch looked nothing but fun. I felt not an ounce of exposure, and this comes from someone who has a slight-to-moderate case of fear of heights.

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We zipped right on up the pitch, and it was over just like that. Too fast, as far as we were concerned. After enjoying some time on the summit, and watching a little weather rolling in to neighboring peaks we headed back down. All of us opted to face out. And I proclaim myself to be the new master of the 5-point decent.

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We followed the "proper" route on the way down, thanks to the help of our new climbing companion.
This was a fantastic hike (my new favorite!), and I found myself eager to do it again before we were even down off the yellow dirt. Thanks to my climbing companions, I was able to feel confident enough to tackle the class 3.
Thanks for viewing my TR!



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
fleetmack


route finding     2011-02-04 17:22:16
glad you had fun! FYI - most everyone I‘ve spoke to lost the route on the way up (myself included).... likely to the climber‘s right of the true route. Not sure why, but everyone seems to miss this!


saragiguere


Congrats & great report!     2009-08-18 12:55:25
Nice work! This was also my first class 3 and I had a blast as well. Great report and photos that will definitely help anyone who is contemplating this fabulous hike.


dcbates80911


Congrats on...     2009-08-18 12:38:33
...your first class three. This one was mine a couple weeks earlier. Wasn‘t as bad as I thought it would be. We had trouble finding the route on the way up as well, but this seems to happen often. The route is so much clearer on the way down.


Trailrunner


Thanks....     2009-08-18 17:00:20
for the comments. Looks like we were in good company re: route finding! I think it made the trip even more interesting. It was good experience, at any rate!


d_baker


congratulations!     2009-08-18 18:02:02
Yeah...Wetterhorn sure is a great peak!
What will be your next class 3?


Trailrunner


Next class 3     2009-08-20 08:27:00
Hmmm...thinking Kit Carson or Torreys via Kelso.


saragiguere


Re: Next Class 3     2009-08-20 11:28:01
I haven‘t done Kit Carson, but Kelso Ridge is so much fun and so different from Wetterhorn. Same skills, totally different climb. Enjoy!


Middle aged mom

Route finding     2009-08-20 13:57:36
Your pictures are awesome! I also had some difficulty with the route. By the time I got to the last 150 yards, it seemed pretty simple compared to what I had just climbed. We went on to Uncompahgre that day. A beautiful hike, but LONG.


Roald


Pics     2009-08-31 10:51:55
Great pics and excellent report. This will also be my first class 3 in 2 weeks. Everyone says the pictures make it look worse than what it is. Do you agree?


Tornadoman


re: Pics     2009-08-31 13:31:57
The pictures are indeed scarier than reality. There are some angles where you can really make the summit pitch appear near vertical and really exposed, but it isn‘t NEARLY that bad. Enjoy the climb, it is an excellent one!


Trailrunner


re: Pics     2010-11-30 10:28:48
I think the pictures are scarier than the reality. It was a relief to me to see that the final pitch wasn't as menacing as pictures had led me to believe.


RackoWacko

Thank you for the Wetterhorn report     2009-09-17 07:01:26
I am hiking Wetterhorn on 09.19. I was a little apprehensive regarding any Class 3 sections. Your pictures and narration have eased my mind. Some. I am better prepared mentally thanks to your report. Thank You!


rockchalker


Whetterhorn     2010-06-07 11:31:40
Trailrunner, Congrats on your first class 3. We plan to do Whetterhorn this September. I think we met you and Tornadoman 2 years ago on Belford on a very nasty day. You were both from KS and a seem to remember a Red Sox cap.



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