Peak(s):  Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
Date Posted:  04/11/2012
Date Climbed:   04/07/2012
Author:  Nelson
 Wetterhorn, East Face  

Due to the low snow year I had been anticipating an early start to the climbing season. I had been watching the activity on to see what people were climbing and what problems they had been having. I had also been watching the weather and when I saw a window I jumped on the chance. I left my home in Utah early on April 6th and after a 7 hour drive I headed up with a heavy pack (including skis and ski boots) towards the lower Matterhorn trail head. I made camp at about 10,100 where I had a flat spot and plenty of water.

On the 7th, I started moving at 5:30. I was able to put skis and skins on past the stream crossing after the upper Matterhorn Creek Trailhead and worked my way up to the bottom of the East Face where I transitioned to Crampons and ax.Image
View of East Face
Close up of the East Face
The snow was very hard, especially toward the top and I moved to the rocks to gain the ridge just below the prow.

My great surprise of the day was the paucity of snow on the ramp headed to the summit pitch.Image
The ramp
I left skis, poles. Ax and crampons at the bottom of the ramp and scrambled up in pretty much summer conditions.Image
Summit Pitch
Summit pitch from above
I was on top admiring the glorious view at 10:30.Image

By the time I got back to the ramp the sun had done its work and the snow was almost perfect corn. The lower I got on my descent the better the skiing got. I seriously considered another lap but then remembered that I had a long way to go to get back to my car. Image
View looking down toward Matterhorn Creek

The trip down was uneventful but very long. I was back at my car 12 hours after I had started, very tired but very awed by one of the best ski mountaineering days I have ever experienced.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Paucity ...
04/12/2012 15:12
Love it. Anyone who can make me pull out a dictionary gets a ”well done” in my book. Beautiful shots. Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


Ditto what Presto wrote...
04/12/2012 17:03
Great report!

I Man

Great Report!
06/20/2012 13:38
Nice job...I love this area. A friend and I did Wetterhorn in January and the solitude, views and overall wilderness feeling was incredible. Way to get in there this early!


Thanks for the comments
04/12/2012 20:34
You guys know the area and how beautiful it is. Apart from 5 Big horns I didn't see one other soul the whole day.

Hi Fletch, I do remember that tour de Abyss. I didn't realize you were a Laker Fan. Oh well...


04/12/2012 20:59
Yeah, Wetterhorn's one I'd love to repeat someday! Your ”summit pitch” picture looks almost like the one I took. (I remember that rock on the left!!) Great job! Thanks for the post!


Nellie Creek Rd
04/17/2012 20:50
Hey I'm looking to climb this peak a week from now and was wondering what Nellie Creek Rd is like. Is it drivable with a 4wd vehicle? Thanks.


Nellie Creek Rd.
04/17/2012 22:15
The last report on the Nellie Creek Rd (to Uncompahgre) said it was not drivable and since then they have had 6-12 inches of snow. I left my car there and went toward Matterhorn Creek TH. As it has snowed quite a bit since then I don't know how far you would get in a car.

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