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Uncompahgre or El Diente

Colorado 14er peak questions and conditions should be posted here. 14er Trip Reports
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Uncompahgre or El Diente

Postby DenneyR » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:45 pm

I'm already planning next summers trip. It looks like I'll have an extra day in Ouray.
Which would be the you recommended hike in July? Uncompahgre or El Diente?

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Re: Uncompahgre or El Diente

Postby denvermikey » Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:18 pm

Really alot of factors in this.
-El Diente is quite a step up in difficulty from the list of completed 14ers you have right now.
-Depending on when in July and what our spring looks like there may be snow left which could make El Diente that much more difficult.
-You can reach the TH for El Diente with just about any vehicle (approx 1 hr drive), where getting to the TH for Uncompahgre from Ouray will take a 4wd to get over the Alpine Loop, unless you drive all the way around to Lake City via hwy 50 (+/- 3 hrs).
-Also, if you do not have a 4wd, that will add several miles to your round trip hike for Uncompahgre.
If you are seeking more of a challenge, El Diente is certainly that but may be above your comfort level. Uncompahgre is a great hike with beautiful scenery and is still among my favorites.
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Re: Uncompahgre or El Diente

Postby Tornadoman » Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:56 am

Uncompahgre seems to be the choice to me. Snow shouldn't be an issue on Unc but could be on El Diente, (there was a bit of snow left on the Kilpacker route even in early August 2011, although we found a way around it on the descent). Uncompahgre is straightforward while El Diente is looser and route finding is more difficult. Both have great views, but I would give the overall scenery edge to Uncompahgre. Also if you are looking for a bit more of a challenge, Wetterhorn is next door which is a step up but still easier than El Diente.

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Re: Uncompahgre or El Diente

Postby DeucesWild » Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:12 pm

DenneyR wrote:Which would be the you recommended hike in July? Uncompahgre or El Diente?


How would someone give you an informed answer for this question?

Determining your ability level is just a guess. The only thing you've included on your list in any way comparable to El D is Sneffels and if you've done the standard route on Sneffels it's not.

El D is significantly more challenging, with much more sustained climbing on difficult terrain and with potential for significant rockfall. Some of these difficulties occur above dangerous cliffs.

Unc is probably a better choice, given what you've not told us.
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Re: Uncompahgre or El Diente

Postby KenE » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:14 pm

Denny,

I would also, and most seriously, consider Wilson Peak. Coming from Ouray the Silver Pick trailhead is closer. It's simply not as hard as El Diente, but still a challenge with a spectacular view.

There is another mountain that I would look at. Vermillion is a centennial at 13,875 or so. The approach from the Ouray side is from South Mineral Creek. It's about 25 miles (45 minutes) to the trailhead. The route takes you through Ice Lakes Basin which is one of the most beautiful places in the state. The summit view is truly spectacular!

You have so many wonderful options! Have fun planning and anticipating.

Ken
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Re: Uncompahgre or El Diente

Postby nyker » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:46 pm

Echoing other statements made, it would help us give you a better answer if we knew more about
what type of trip you're after, your comfort level on uncertain terrain and overall fitness and experience other than the 14ers you have checked.

Both could be great climbs, but each has a different personality and risks.

El Diente has a lot of sustained movement over unstable loose rock in dry conditions, with some exposed sections, less than certain routefinding in spots.
Snow will complicate these factors and the rock up there is not a place you want to be in T-storms, there is no quick escape once higher up.
You'll likely find fewer people here.

Uncompahgre is more of a nice Class 1 hike the whole way except for the portion just before the summit which is loose scree, etc.
Without a 4x4, you will add 8 miles and ~2500ft of gain to your trip also starting from the road. Hard to get off route on this trail.
You will probably have more people on the trail on this peak.

If you are more comfortable on routefinding and confident of your ability on Class 3 rock and loose talus and want more of a challenge, go for ED.

For a day with less stress where you can both get a solid workout and enjoy the great views and also move on easier terrain, choose Uncompaghre.

Another option if you are limited on time, is to do Uncompaghre AND Wetterhorn from the Matterhorn Trailhead, either separately or together in a long day.
Perhaps even hit The Matterhorn also!

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Re: Uncompahgre or El Diente

Postby DenneyR » Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:33 pm

My question certainly was open ended and I apologize for that.
thanks to all that replied.

It looks like El Diente is definitely out. I really don't have a lot of experience hiking more than class 2

Uncompahgre is a possibility judging from the responses but I sure don't like the long drive and won't have 4WD

KenE......
There is another mountain that I would look at. Vermillion is a centennial at 13,875 or so. The approach from the Ouray side is from South Mineral Creek. It's about 25 miles (45 minutes) to the trailhead. The route takes you through Ice Lakes Basin which is one of the most beautiful places in the state. The summit view is truly spectacular!

This is a great suggestion since I was planning on hiking Ice lakes!
Also Wilson Peak might be a good choice

Thanks

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