Peak(s):  Uncompahgre Peak  -  14,309 feet
Date Posted:  10/22/2018
Date Climbed:   10/20/2018
Author:  mhalter001
 Uncompahgre Peak - South Ridge   

A beautiful blue sky day today. was correct, sun and 0-5 mph winds in morning and afternoon. USFS Gunnison had no snow information, but learned that area had received 6-8 inches of snow in 7 - 10 days prior. On 10.20.18, used an avg. clearance 4wd (Jeep Compass) to reach 'T' in 4wd road, at 2.3 miles. Evident that road would have some ice & light snow in shaded areas from this point onward, so parked vehicle there and hiked the remaining 1.7 mi. to the upper trailhead. There is room for only 1-2 cars there. See photos for road & trailhead conditions. Reached upper TH at 9:45. Was absolutely clear of snow; no vehicles or other hikers present.

Proceeded up the trail, and after about .5 mi., began to encounter intermittent snow on the trail, and surroundings. Snow settled in the lower-lying trail, while often devoid of it alongside trail route, so would often parallel the trail on the way up. Upper elevations soon turned to nearly full snow, between roughly 12,000 - 13,500 on the trail Found myself post-holing in places, from as little as 4-6 inches to up to my knees, about 18", in just a few spots. Did not find it to be particularly tough going, however, it did slow the pace significantly on the ascent. Once on the upper ridges, wind picked up but snow not significant. As shown in pics, Uncompahgre itself was largely devoid of snow. Reached summit at about 3:15 pm! One other hiker reached summit immediately after. Beautiful day on top, little to no wind, great photos, but soon descended. Reached the vehicle again around 6:30 pm. Had a headlamp and backup flashlight, but late descent was not in the original plans. ;) All in all, a fantastic day hiking Uncompahgre - snow-capped peaks making for great photos, and solitude were best features of this late season hike.

Lastly, note that route guidance is incorrect - to reach the 4wd road, turn right onto Second St. (or Third, it does not matter), and then left onto Bluffs Road (there is no Henson Creek Rd.), and continue approx. 5 mi. to sign for the TH, on the right.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Comments or Questions

Nice work!
10/23/2018 18:25
I'm impressed!

Would you have found snowshoes helpful for the sections you wound up postholing? I've got my eye on nearby Handies, and I'm trying to figure out if it'd be easier to schlep snowshoes up or stick with gaiters and spikes.

RE: Nice Work!
10/23/2018 20:53
Hi there. Quite possibly; I think it was borderline for snowshoes, really. There was enough snow that you could have strapped on and worn them for a good portion of the hike, but they may have slowed you down. The places where I sank up to my knees were few and far between, however, so I went with the gaiters and never put on the micro spikes. My last suggestion is to watch for whether there's additional snow or, conversely, likely snow melt, before your next trip, and then decide whether to carry them along or not. Regards.


Thank you!
10/24/2018 10:53
Iâll see if anyone posts any further and equally informative San Juan updates before the weekend, but given how much fun it was to carry snowshoes up Bierstadt last weekend, I may stick with gaiters and just-in-case microspikes.

My hat is off...given that Iâm too much of a wuss to try and take my car past the lower TH, I know Uncompahgre is out of my league under current conditions!

10/26/2018 14:35
It was a reasonable hike, once I got to the upper TH. Very winding conditions coming up this weekend, however, so I would likely avoid the San Juans.

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