Peak(s):  Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
Uncompahgre Peak  -  14,309 feet
Date Posted:  08/04/2019
Modified:  08/07/2019
Date Climbed:   08/03/2019
Author:  kiwiliam
 Wetterhorn - Uncompahgre Combo   

My take on the Wetterhorn Uncompaghre combo, trying to fill in some gaps in the earlier beta.


I completed this in just under 8-hours, but I was pushing it in order to beat the weather. I might have gone out too hard as I was really lagging up Uncompahgre which I did as my second peak.

5:00am: Matterhorn Creek 4WD Trailhead

7:30am: Wetterhorn Summit

10:00am: Rock Chair

11:25am: Uncompahgre Summit

12:20pm: Rock Chair

1:05pm: Matterhorn Saddle

1:50pm: Trailhead


Peak Order

Roach describes this route with Uncompahgre first. One advantage of this is that you knock off the furtherest peak up front. If the weather catches up with you can bail on Wetterhorn, which is definitely how it played out in my mind as I tried to guess the clouds before committing to Uncompahgre knowing I still had 9 miles still to go. If you did Uncompahgre first, I’d recommend taking the direct line from the Matterhorn Saddle to the Wetterhorn trail even though finding the livestock trail would be difficult from that direction: the going is easy so finding your own way would be preferable to dropping 500ft down the Wetterhorn Trail - Ridge Stock Driveway (233) junction. The drop from the Saddle to the stream crossing before joining the Wetterhorn trail is around 200ft.

Wetterhorn Crux

This was much less scary than I anticipated. At no point did I feel a fall would be fatal and the staircase description is apt. I took the catwalk just to test the exposure, but continuing straight up would have been easy. Exposure is a very subjective thing, I think being in a gully rather than on a ridge helps me, but the catwalk was not a challenge. Maybe walking the ledge to the start of the Telluride Via Ferrata last week desensitized me: there were some wall-hugging moments on that.

Matterhorn Saddle Shortcut

Finding this shortcut is the key to a good day. Thanks to those before me who have noted this: Here is how I would describe it. Descend the Wetterhorn trail to the point where it leaves the boulder field and starts dropping down an open meadow at around 12,400ft. (Thanks to the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative crew who were doing trail work in the boulder field while I was there.)

Head to the left towards the stream between the Wetterhorn and Matterhorn. Cross this at the last point before it starts to drop into a steep-sided gully. The stock trail starts on the other-side of the stream and climbs gently until you round the ridge and can see the Matterhorn saddle. The trail is faint but visible under the red line in the photo. Then it ends. I was able easily walk up on an angle to reach the Ridge Stock Driveway 233 just before the Saddle.

The livestock trail to the Matterhorn Saddle just below the red line in this photo.

Scouting the route from 13,000 feet one can make out a faint line higher up. This would require some rockhopping and crossing a scree slope. The livestock trail is easy and only climbs 200ft. My guess is the higher line would not be worth the effort.

Cimarron Headwaters Traverse

On both my Nat Geo map and the Gaia App default map, the trails through here either drop into a gully or climb 300ft in a big loop. It’s not on the map, but there is an obvious and direct line to the Cimarron-El Paso Creek saddle that avoids both mapped options.

The direct line to the Cimarron-El Paso Saddle is more obvious than either alternative trail on the map.

The Rock Chair

This is at 12,600 feet on a small ridge crest about half a mile before you join the official Uncompahgre trail. It is roughly halfway in distance (9 miles) whatever peak you climb first.


My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5

Comments or Questions
GPX File?
08/06/2019 09:46
Do you possibly have a GPX file from you day? Would love to get it from you if possible.



08/07/2019 11:33
Just uploaded it, but Iâm on my phone so canât easily confirm it is all good



08/08/2019 22:26
Awesome trip report! And thanks for the shortcut tip and photo. I'm thinking of doing this exact combo next week. What was your total elevation gain when it was all said and done?


08/09/2019 05:41
5,600 on Gaia
5,900 on Strava, but on my watch which might be less accurate

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