Peak(s):  Uncompahgre Peak  -  14,309 feet
Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
Date Posted:  07/19/2012
Date Climbed:   07/10/2012
Author:  MOffutt

 Uncompaghre & Wetterhorn - Nellie Creek  

My buddy Tom had told me over the winter that he had wanted to do Uncompaghre and Wetterhorn together when he got the chance to get down that way. So when my sister and I were planning our summer mountains I decided to include this combo. I mentioned it to Tom and he said he would like to come along. We left Evergreen around 4pm and met my sister in Buena Vista and headed to Lake City from there. Checked into the Silver Spur around 9 and headed to bed. We knew we had weather to deal with in the afternoon so we wanted to get an early start. The alarm went off at 3:15 and we were off, by the time we got to the trailhead and were all geared up it was 4:30. I had planned on doing Wetterhorn first and then Uncompaghre, do the more difficult first. Image
Tom not pleased with being an early riser
Heading up the trail
Since we knew we might have to deal with weather Tom and Jean convinced me to do Uncompaghre first so that we would have at least gotten 1 of the 2 if the weather rolled in. So as the sun came up we approached Uncompaghre. Image
Sunrise in the San Juans
Uncompaghre during sunrise

Before we knew it we were at the summit at 6:05.
More pictures getting to the summit
Looking over the edge once you reach the cliffs

Summit and the weather still looks good

We reached the summit and decided the weather was still amazing. As are the views. So we continued on towards Wetterhorn we decided to take the third chute (as suggested by Roach) into the valley. As we hiked at high speed across the valley I had remembered reading a few trip reports where some people had skirted the base of Matterhorn and met up with the trail on the other side. So we sort of just started of across the valley under Matterhorn and stopped about halfway across because we could see no trail and were unsure of which way to head up Wetterhon.
Wetterhorn across the valley
I suggested we work our way the valley between two large boulder fields to try to get higher up to see if we could make out a trail. Well we sort just started heading across the boulder field when we spotted the trail going up the ridge, so off we went a bouldering...
A bit of off track bouldering

The trail going up the ridge

I have always said that I don't like switchbacks and I would rather just go straight up. Well Wetterhorn did not disappoint this trail went straight up the ridge.
Straight up the ridge

Looking down to the off track boulder field

Then the fun began, there was some nice class 3 scrambling which made Jean kind of nervous, if you had read my last trip report you know she broke her hand on Crestone Needle, and she thought the descent might cause her a bit of trouble only being able to use her right hand. Just before we reached the top she thought she might want to turn around instead scaling another section of fairly steep fairly exposed rock. Then we look up and Tom is standing about 20 feet above us looking down and saying, "Hey guys, this is the summit." Well with that good news we were up in a flash to summit at 10:40.
Summit pose

Views from the top
Mountains in the distance

More Mountains

Uncompaghre from across the valley

At this point it was starting to look like the weather might be coming in so after a nice easy summit time (it must have been 65 degrees up there with no wind) we headed back down. From the summit of Wetterhorn to the Nellie Creek TH is kind of a haul and going back around Uncompaghre instead of up the gully added two extra ridges and quite a bit of a hike. Although it rained a bit around us and we got a touch of snow on the way down for the most part it held off until we were in the car and headed back down the 4 wheel drive road.

A look back at Matterhorn and Wetterhorn

The winding trail if you don't go back up the gully

We were right here

Back at TH at 3:05
RT a between 16 - 17 miles

The San Juans are beautiful this was as much a sightseeing adventure as it was a peak completion.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Gotta tell ya
07/20/2012 06:06
From the perspective of a newbie climber, the fact that your friend did that class 3 section with one arm in a cast makes me a lot more confident in doing this peak. Way to go getting both peaks in the same day!


props for speed
07/22/2012 15:48
1:35 from the TH to Unco ranks as very good in my book. You could have probably made it an even shorter day be starting from the Matterhorn TH.

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.