| Uncompahgre Peak from Nellie Creek
Forecast was for a super windy weekend for each location I checked. Thought about staying home, but then decided to go out and at least give it a try. The weather looked really nice other than the winds. Drove to Lake City Friday night and was able to drive up Nellie Creek to within 1.5 miles of summer TH. Given the forecast for winds increasing throughout the day, we opted for an early start of 3:30 am. Did the headlamp bubble thing for a couple of hours, and then were treated to a beautiful sunrise.
We used the Roach variation (heading west up the slope at 12,700 ft) to shave some mileage off the standard route. At the steep slope below the south ridge, we used axes and crampons and left them on until we were back at this point. There were some spots without snow, but we were too lazy to take them off knowing we'd have to put them back on.
It was a sunny blue day, but a bit hazy at the horizon which I'm guessing may be due to the winds blowing dust around. The winds were strong, knock you around strong, have to brace yourself against them strong. I don't have any idea of mph, but I often had to stop to brace myself as I got blown around. The winds varied, sometimes knock-you-over strong and then we got breaks here and there. With the sun and warm temps (32), the winds were just a nuisance, not a danger with cold.
Worked our way over to the gully, it was free of snow.
Right above 14,000, we chose a route that stays further left and hugs the edge of the cliff (on the way down we found the summer route which goes further right). It was steep with icy snow and the strongest wind gusts of the day – crampons and axes were used.
Walked onto the summit at 8:15. In certain spots the wind was gentle and we were able to spend a full half an hour on top.
We opted to take the summer route down and sightsee along the way. Some postholing here and there, but we didn't carry snowshoes and I don't think they were necessary. We didn't see another person the entire day, pretty amazing. Still blue skies, now warmer temps and still some good strong gusts. Enjoyed the walk out on a spectacular day.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):