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Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Redcloud mid-may?

Need a climbing partner? Trying to form a hiking group for an outing?
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Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Redcloud mid-may?

Postby Kendalla7 » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:19 am

Hey everybody, so I'm wanting to climb these three, no particular order, first one either the 16th or 17th of May and very close to one another, possibly just one day after another. My birthday is the 17th, so i,for sure, wanted me on a summit that day. Please join me?? I am an austinite but my heart lies in the mountains. I am heading to CO for an internship and I need to be there the 22nd. I wanted to go a little early and make a few summits on my way. You could say I'm a little inexperienced. I have never used an ice axe or crampons before so I could really use someone else out there. I am most likely going to attempt the summits regardless if anyone else goes or not but it would be much less nerve racking for my family, daughter, etc. if there were someone else there who maybe knew a little more than me. Okay so, it's gonna be fun and exciting and just awesome really. So who's with me?? :D

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Re: Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Redcloud mid-may?

Postby ChrisinAZ » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:53 am

As you say, you're inexperienced, so I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND not attempting these peaks (particularly the first two) alone! I can't speak for conditions there, especially this far ahead, but I'd imagine Unc and Redcloud would be doable in terms of the actual hiking. I'm not familiar with the roads to the THs.

I'd potentially be interested in a trip up these, but I myself have had only limited experience with axe and crampons, so I wouldn't recommend having me along as your only partner. Where in Colorado will you be/arriving? That'll make a huge difference for most folks...
"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason."
— Jack Handy

Re: Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Redcloud mid-may?

Postby gonzalj » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:08 am

I can say with certainty that you will not be able to get up the 4wd nellie creek road at that time (unless you have a ridiculously modified jeep as there will probably be a really good amount of snow on that road), so for uncompahgre your looking at the long 15 mile RT hike. I would imagine after you get up to and just past the 4wd TH, then since it opens up into a big valley, you might have some decent conditions, but that's just speculation. Not sure about the roads to wetterhorn or redcloud, but there's my 2 cents on uncompahgre.

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Re: Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Redcloud mid-may?

Postby timf » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:21 am

I haven't done these in snowy conditions, but having seen the approaches, your plan might be a bit ambitious.

Now I haven't done Wetterhorn, but what I know of it, having no ice ax/crampon experience on what will likely be an icy finish in May sounds a bit spicey and dicey.

For Uncompahgre, you may be looking at an overnighter to improve your chancesas drifts are probably covering that road leading to Nellie Creek TH. Wetterhorn is a bit further in the adjacent basin. Uncompahgre has one short section (maybe 200' gain) as you wrap around the left side of it that you may need something for better traction. Nothing terribly horrendous, but if you slipped standard trekking poles may not be able to stop you and you would have the ride of your life. I may have a pic looking down that section. If dry, it's a piece of cake.

Redcloud has a bit of a slide path if you're doing it by itself assuming you get to the Silver Creek TH. There's a route that I believe you can get to requiring less travel on that lovely shelf road (BTW has no guard rail, may be icey, and has a 1000' fall). The other route requires you go up and over 14er Sunshine first.

Because of your timeframe and not knowing first hand what the road access looks like I would zero in on Sunshine first and then investigate Uncompahgre if you have time.

Re: Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Redcloud mid-may?

Postby gonzalj » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:35 am

I agree with Tim on his assessment. If you do end up doing uncompahgre, the trail is nice and mellow practicly all the way the the end where basically the last 300' of elevation gain is a little hard, but nothing bad and nothing to worry about exposure wise (compared to what you would deal with on wetterhorn). But as mentioned, since you will have to hike up and back the 4wd TH and add an additional 8 miles RT to the 7 mile RT hike from the 4wd TH, I would really consider dividing it up into 2 days and camping at the 4wd TH (there's a restroom and several spots there to camp).

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Re: Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Redcloud mid-may?

Postby tmathews » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:40 am

gonzalj wrote:But as mentioned, since you will have to hike up and back the 4wd TH and add an additional 8 miles RT to the 7 mile RT hike from the 4wd TH, I would really consider dividing it up into 2 days and camping at the 4wd TH (there's a restroom and several spots there to camp).


The restroom is unlikely to be unlocked if the NFS hasn't been up there (which probably won't happen until the Nellie Creek Road becomes drivable). I've been up there in the summertime and it has been locked, so don't depend on it as part of your planning.

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Re: Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Redcloud mid-may?

Postby San Juan Ron » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:43 am

I posted this on another post, but the northern San Juans have received a lot of snow this past week. SNOTEL sites for Slumgullion (112% of average Snow Water Equivalent), Red Mountain (117%) and Idarado (142%) are all well above average as of 4/27. It is very doubtful that you could get to the Nellie Creek TH for Unc/Wetterhorn driving unless you have a snowmobile. Matterhorn Creek (CR-20)would be the choice for Unc and Wetterhorn. Your choice on Redcloud is to go up the shelf road CR-30) to the Silver Creek TH or climb Sunshine first via Mill Creek and then go over to Redcloud. The ascent up Mill Creek is steep but you shouldn't encounter much snow until around 12K. This route is south facing. The Silver Creek TH should be accessible, but it will be very rough as they work on the road through May. The gates to get to the Silver Creek TH (near the shelf road) usually come down in early-May. Heading up from the Silver Creek TH in May could mean lots of snow along Silver Creek and on the north side of Redcloud. I would certainly second the comments that you need to go with an experienced hiker on both routes. SJ Ron :D
"The mountains are calling and I must go" -- Muir

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Re: Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Redcloud mid-may?

Postby timf » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:53 am

Here's the section I mentioned earlier. This was 10/2010 looking down from about halfway up the section in question. As you can see it's all nice nice when dry, but with continuous hard packed snow, it would be a long way down that even if you lived through sliding all the way down that far, you would then have a much larger effort to get back to camp/your vehicle. I have another shot looking up the remiander of the section while standing from the same spot.

If I could get off, I would consider Sunshine and although not on your itinerary, Sneffels just because with the long drive ya gotta have more then one objective (and I still need to pay it a visit).
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Re: Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Redcloud mid-may?

Postby timf » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:56 am

Here's the one looking up from the same vantage point. Again just some wobbly talus in summer conditions.
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Re: Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn and Redcloud mid-may?

Postby Luvtheboat » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:16 pm

Check out the Sunshine/Redcloud trip post by "Anna" which was done solo by her on 4/1/2011. In terms of your plans, I would avoid Uncompaghre and Wetterhorn. The "UNC" is a great easy hike but you will have two creeks to cross as you go up the Nellie Creek road and they might be running pretty good depending on the temp. They aren't deep as you normally drive through them in summer but it's a long hike up and down that road - grade is modest and relatively easy - and I would pack several extra pairs of socks as your feet will get wet and bothersome blisters beckon. Wetterhorn would concern me from an ice standpoint. In any case, I would not hike alone because anything can and will happen when you least expect it. Two individuals - Vanek and Nelson - wandered off alone in the Holy Cross and have never been found. Very sad and very disturbing.

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