| 7 Peaks in 4 Days Part 2
The road to the Matterhorn Creek Trail head was mostly clear, but a snow bank and a fallen tree caused us to have to park at the turnoff. We started hiking at sunrise, and made pretty quick time up to treeline, where we set up camp.
Emily, Adobe and myself:
Ryan and Emily at the trail head
Emily and Adobe with Matterhorn in the background. We set up camp in the trees on the left:
It was a "rest" day for me, and a warm up day for Ryan and Emily. So after setting up camp, we skinned up the basin to scope out the peaks. The un-named ~12,900' peak between Matterhorn and Broken Hill offered an easy skin to the summit, and an excellent vantage point to scope out our lines on Wetterhorn, Matterhorn, and Uncompahgre.
The upper portion of Matterhorn
We made some excellent corn turns all the way back to camp, drank some whiskey, and got ready for the climbing the next day.
The next day, we had an alarm clock failure and woke up much later than we had planned. This actually turned out to work in our favor, because it was cold and VERY windy, and it took much longer than we had anticipated for the snow to soften up. We made quick time skinning towards the East Face of Wetterhorn. When it finally came into view, there were several parties on the face.
5 climbers can be seen making their way up the slide path on the left, and 1 more in the rocks near the top of the snow:
The coverage was good, but the snow was choppy and covered in avalanche debris, so it didn't make for very nice skiing:
As usual, Adobe beat us all to the top, followed by Ryan:
We ditched our gear and made the climb up the final pitch to the summit. It was almost completely free of snow and ice:
The dust storm, combined with the fire in Norwood, made for some really hazy views from the summit.
Matterhorn and Uncompahgre:
Heading back down the summit pitch:
At about 10 AM, we put on our skis and snowboard, and started our descent of the East Face. The snow was still frozen and really choppy. We traversed left, losing as little altitude as possible before putting the skins back on for the climb of Matterhorn.
Adobe after sprinting down the East Face:
We were able to skin right up to the rock band just below the knife edge near the summit of Matterhorn. Ryan and Emily decided to ditch their skis for the climb to the summit. I decided to stick it out and go for the summit descent. It was scary enough with steep couloirs on both sides. The giant split board on my back and raging wind didn't make things any better!
There are some pretty nice looking couloirs on the East Face of Matterhorn. However, they would leave you with a decent climb to re-gain the saddle before being able to descend back to camp. So I elected to drop off the summit and traverse right, back across the knife edge, and descend the South Face with Ryan and Emily. I was VERY glad not to have to downclimb the knife edge!
Ryan and Emily finishing the downclimb of the knife edge:
The South Face offered some absolutely amazing corn turns! We were able to ski all the way back to camp, where we collapsed completely exhausted!
We woke up more or less on time, but we were so slow to get going that we left even later than the previous day! This again worked to our favor, because this day was even colder and windier! It was well after noon when we dropped in on the West Face of Uncompahgre, and it was still frozen solid! We made pretty good time over the pass and down towards the West Face of Uncompahgre.
Our tracks from the previous day on Matterhorn:
We originally planned to take the standard route because we felt too drained to climb the steep snow on the West Face. However, once we got there, it looked like a really nice climb, so we decided to go for it. I should have known that buying new mountaineering boots would automatically get me elected to kick the steps for everyone! The snow was perfect for it, and we gradually made our way up the gully.
Adobe topped out long before the rest of us and played around on some rocks while he waited for us:
I carried my board up to the summit, because 3 days earlier from Redcloud, I had seen that Uncompahgre's summit was completely covered in snow. However, it had almost all melted over the last few days, and I felt pretty silly snowboarding across the 100 yards of snow on the summit.
We made our way back over to the West Face. We had climbed the south gully, but the center gully looked like it had the best snow, so we traversed over and started our descent down the frozen corn:
Looking back up at the face:
We put the skins back on and made the trek back up to the pass. From there, we could ride all the way back to camp. We all collapsed completely exhausted:
We were not happy about having to pack up camp, put on our heavy packs, and head back to Golden! Once we got going, it wasn't too bad, and we were back at the car in no time.
When we arrived at the car, we found that we had fallen victim to another trail head vehicle break-in! A mouse had gotten into the car, eaten a hole through the top of Ryan's straw hat, and had made a nest inside! Luckily, he somehow missed the enormous bag of food that we left in the car, so we still had our snacks for the long drive home. All in all, the trip went off without a hitch, and I couldn't have asked for a better time!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):