Peak:  Wetterhorn Peak (14er)
 Route:  Southeast Ridge
 Range:  San Juan
 Posted By:  eskermo
 Date of Info:  05/26/2013
 Date Posted:  05/28/2013

We were able to summit without any special gear (no snowshoes, crampons/microspikes, axe, etc.), although some sort of traction would have definitely been helpful in a few sections. Trail is mostly dry until just above treeline. There were several sections of deep snow to cross leading up to the southeast ridge. There was some postholing, but nothing too miserable or exhausting. Most of the snow was pretty supportive, with a little extra post holing on the way down.

There was good snow cover on the slope leading up to the southeast ridge and on the ridge itself, but it appears to be melting quickly. Much of the cairned route is still covered in deep sections of snow, making route finding and navigating dry rock more difficult. The easiest and safest way up probably involves more class 3 and possible class 4 climbing (not too sure). On our ascent, I made the mistake of climbing around to the east side of the ridge instead of staying to the left. While we were able to follow some older, smaller cairns, this way flat out stinks. Do not do this. We were scared to death. We managed to follow the standard route for the most part on the descent. This was much more manageable, but there were still several sketchy areas where crampons/spikes and an ice axe would be desired by many.

All in all, a great climb in great weather in manageable snow conditions.

Photo 1 - A broad view of Wetterhorn and the some of the approach
Photo 2 - Just below the southeast ridge, looking at the remaining climb
Photo 3 - Sketchy climbing on the east side of the ridge. Just stay on the left side!!!
Photo 4 - Looking down a steep section of the west side of the ridge on the way down

Photos (click for slideshow):
Image #1Image #2Image #3Image #4

 Comments or Questions

05/28/2013 18:42
Was thinking about climbing this on Saturday.


05/28/2013 22:38
Me too! Thanks for posting.


No problem!
05/29/2013 16:14
Feel free to PM me for more photos or more detailed conditions. Have fun and be safe out there. Yall are gonna love this mountain!

Bob Kocher

Stay left of the ridge
05/31/2013 18:31

We were on the summit when we spotted you starting up the ridge. On the way down the ridge I heard you guys off to the right of the ridge and later saw you on the summit. Glad you made is up and down safely. Weather was perfect for a great climb in the San Juans!

Ameristrat and Blazintoes,

The shallow gully next to the rock rib shown in Bill's route description (photo 9) is full of snow, so we stayed to right of the gully and scrambled the snow-free section to the ridge. Once you reach the ridge, a short section of class 3 moves to the left side of the ridge will join you up with option 2 shown in photo 13 of the RD. Also, there's snow from the Prow to the notch shown in photo 16 of the RD. We had spikes and axes so we used them, but it wasn't a must. Once through the notch it's snow-free to the summit. I recommend gaiters for sure. Hope this helps. (I have a lot of pics too, but won't be able to send them until about 6 pm tonight.)

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