Peak(s):  Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
Uncompahgre Peak  -  14,309 feet
Matterhorn Pk  -  13,590 feet
Post Date:  06/22/2010
Date Climbed:   06/19/2010
Posted By:  Jakomait

 21 miles to Wetterhorn   

I hit the road at 5pm on Friday from Colorado Springs and drove to Lake City to get in a big hike up some peaks. I gambled with just taking my light summer gear and pedaled my mountain bike with lights up to the top of the 4wd road to the wilderness boundary and camped.

I got up early and started on foot up the Nellie Creek trail to open the morning with Uncompahgre
Nellie Creek trail to Uncompahgre

From the top I could see the rest of my day in front of me. I was starting to second guess my lack of sharp and pointy metal objects with all that snow but I was still optimistic I could work around it.
On top of Uncompahgre looking at Wetterhorn

I descended down the west face of Uncompahgre to get back to business and met a pair of hikers heading up the same route. Here is looking back at Uncompahgre.
Looking back at west face of Uncompahgre

From there the climb up Matterhorn was really good. Most of the climb was on lush grass and the top was solid rock and some easy class 3 climbing.
On summit of Matterhorn

On the top I started thinking about trying to traverse the ridge to Wetterhorn but Roach's beta was pretty blunt. I think he used one small phrase "the ridge is arduous" to sum up the entire route. Perhaps another day. If I was going to complete my goal I figured the best shot was to head west from the summit down some scree and pick my way through snow fields towards the south ridge of Wetterhorn. Little did I know my biggest challenge was to get past all the Marmots guarding the trail!
Marmots guarding Wetterhorn

Once on the shoulder, the wind became very fierce but not quite enough to knock me over so I continued up to the class 3 climbing which fortunately was somewhat sheltered from the wind.
looking down the route on Wetterhorn

The climbing was going good and completely snow free. Before I knew it I was at the top and lounged around for an hour soaking up the views before heading back down.
View from top of Wetterhorn

By this time I was feeling great and the scenery was unbelievable!
Looking back at Wetterhorn

Heading back to Nellie creek

The walk back was pretty long and I almost headed down the wrong valley until I realized I needed to climb back up most of Uncompahgre to get into the Nellie Creek trail. It was a great day that ended up being 21 miles with 11,000 feet of elevation gained. I doubt I'd ever climb all three from that trail head but it was a great day none the less!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

That‘s one long day!     06/22/2010 21:47

Do you remember how long it took from start to finish? I‘m looking at going from Matterhorn TH to Nellie Creek TH (which I believe would be a shorter hike) this weekend and would appreciate your advice.



Hello, again!     06/22/2010 20:14
What a beautiful day that was! I am one of the two hikers you passed while heading down Uncompahgre. Its funny looking at your pictures, because I‘m sure that we are hidden in 3 of them!


Hey Jason,     06/22/2010 22:12
My trip took 13 hours from Nellie Creek TH over all the peaks then back to the TH. If you hike at a good clip you could make it from Matterhorn TH to Nellie Creek TH in 4 hours but I took 5 cause I started wandering down the wrong valley and spent some time sorting out where I needed to go. Look at your maps cause the trails to the south of Uncompahgre aren‘t as obvious as you‘d think. It is beautiful over there!


There‘s a middle drainage....     06/23/2010 03:58
...between Matterhorn and Nellie drainage. But there‘s also a nice trail b/t Wett & Unca - Ridge Stock Driveway #233 - well marked with signs. Stay on the trail and you should be fine.

I was up there the day before and got both from the Matt TH. TR just about ready to post.


PS....     06/23/2010 03:59
Jacomait, I see from your profile you‘re an ex MTB racer. I ride pretty much every day in the Springs. Shoot me a pm; maybe we can get out some time!



Wow,     06/23/2010 04:14
We did Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre just two weeks ago but the amount of snow gone makes me think you definitely got the better trip! Although, 21 miles is crazy, and you bagged Matterhorn. Good work, thats a very successful trip in my books!

PS, I need a lesson from you in packing light..

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