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 Peak(s):  Uncompahgre Peak  -  14,309 feet
 Post Date:  10/18/2010
 Date Climbed:   10/15/2010
 Posted By:  timf

 Roof of the San Juan Range   

Graduated Regis, wife survives thyroid cancer, I gained 20 pounds this summer, and wanted to salvage getting some lofty perch in addition to Loveland Mountain. With snow reports earlier this month, would the mountain gods smile upon me and grant me reasonable passage through a tiny weather window?

With a good weather forecast this past week, it was looking good. Driving to the 4WD trailhead of Nellie Creek was BONE DRY. Certainly there must be 6"+ of snow above treeline.
So up to treeline we went scouting out for a campsite.

Image
Treeline approaching our Campsite


After camping just above 12000' for the first time (usually we crash at 11 something) we were treated to this view of Uncompahgre. I don't care what anyone says, this is a big friggin mountain that seems to rise out of nowhere!

Image
Good morning your Bulkness!


We made some quick work to the ridge proper only encountering some light sporadic snow on the trail (maybe ankle deep and a strip of trail snow 200' long), but for the most part Nellie Creek Basin was unbelievably dry. We were expecting an all out winter wonderland.

Image
Hiking Partner Extrordinaire on south ridge.


From this point up the flat shoulder at 13800' is where our lack of fitness showed through the 4 switchbacks leading to the west face. Once we saw the western section from 13800 to 14000' even we felt a 2nd wind kick in and had a blast up the Class 2ish/2+ rock leading to the rib before the summit plateau.

Image
Don't Look Down...

Image
...Must look up


The last 300' seemed to drag on a bit and for some reason we slowed down again. The views of the San Juan range from this vantage point were astounding! Wetterhorn, Coxcomb, and Precipice all looked fairly dry, but to the south we saw the rest of the range stretched out before us covered in a healthy amount of snow. Winter is coming, but thank you oh great mountain gods for granting a merciful passage.

Image
A Dry Wetterhorn?!?!

Image
Lichen, snow, and 13er Precipice Peak

Image
Pano to the south.


The decent was uneventful. My friend who brought an extra hydration bladder for me, left it down in the car due to poor communication on both our parts. He offered a pint of water once down to the ridge and again and the campsite before packing out that afternoon. I may have had a slight case of heat stroke as I was dressed in full winter regalia.

We planned on doing something like Sunshine or Handies on Saturday, but we decided to count our blessing and head home stopping in Gunnison for a light dinner.

I highly endorse paying Uncompahgre a visit before winter gets here. There's still time for this one. Gaiters not quite needed, but bring 'em just in case.

This day certainly made up for the lack of our summer activity.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
14erdude83


I hate to say this     2010-10-18 12:48:00
But your hiking partner in the picture looks almost just like James Nelson the guy who has been missin on Mt. Holy Cross?


14erdude83


i love this peak     2010-10-18 12:32:19
Uncompahgre is probably my favorite peak in colorado, we did this hike earlier in the year from the bottom of the nellie creek TH and it was UNREAL, and a tough hike with 45 to 50lb packs on, we got alot of weird looks from the passerbyers in their cars on their way up to the uncompahgre TH. I would love to do this hike this time of year, probably not a whole lot of people up there, did you see anyone else or were you the only 2 up there?


timf


     2010-10-18 13:47:15
I assure you he is NOT James Nelson. We only saw one gal who was on her way up as we were heading down. We intersected around the same area of the ridge where the pic of my friend was taken. Back at camp for about 30 minutes, here comes our lone lady cruising back down waving as she passed by.

Needless to say she was far more fit. The only other people we saw was a father and son getting ready for hunting season. Weird since the only wildlife up there were some pika and a howling coyote the night before. Severl hunting camps at the 4WD trailhead. That was it!


14erdude83


.     2010-10-18 15:25:31
i didnt mean to offend you or anything, he just looks like him....

Hope I can make it out there before it snows over!
great pics by the way!


timf


No offense taken.     2010-10-18 15:55:40
Just confirming it's not our poor comrade lost on Holy Cross.


14erdude83


i cant believe     2010-10-18 16:08:06
they havent found one trace of him being there...my thoughts and prayers are with him



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