Peak(s):  Mt. Wuh 10,761
Date Posted:  01/31/2020
Modified:  02/03/2020
Date Climbed:   01/29/2020
Author:  Jay521
 A tough way to go   

Tough day for some...


Trailhead: Bear Lake
Route: West Ridge
Length: 7.5 miles
Vertical: 2000 feet
Partners: Solo

OK - so how does one pronounce "Wuh"? Is it with a long U so it sounds like Woo? Or a short U so it sounds like Duh? Well, duh - I don't know. And bottom line, I don't really care. It is a named point on a map in RMNP so it just HAD to be climbed! Woo-hoo.

Seriously, if anyone knows how it got its name - or how it should be pronounced, I would love to know. I did a little research - very little, actually - and could not come up with an answer. So, now you all have your homework.

A couple years ago, I read a TR by Kimo I think, on Joe Mills and Wuh. I couldn't find that report when I decided to get Wuh but I think I followed his route more or less.

Like so many beautiful hikes in the Park, this one starts out at the Bear Lake Parking lot. Arriving just after sunrise on a weekday meant there were only a couple other vehicles in the parking lot when I started out. The story was quite different when I got back down. Bear Lake is a popular place - even in the winter on a week day.

It is impossible to pass by Bear Lake without taking a picture of Hallett Peak behind Bear Lake.

No problems navigating the trail portion of this hike. Follow the signage from the northeast side of Bear Lake that directs you to Flattop Mountain, take the first left about a half mile later that points you to Flattop and Odessa Lake then continue another half mile where the sign says go left to Flattop or go straight to Odessa/Fern Lake. Go straight which will skirt you around the north side of Flattop Mountain.

It is also impossible to take this trail without rubber-necking for views of Longs Peak.

As you continue on the trail, don't forget to look back every now and then. This next shot shows Bierstadt Lake in the distance.


Once past the last cutoff to Flattop, I was breaking trail the rest of the way up.

I'm the first one on the trail since the last snowfall.
Looking back - trail breaking here was super easy. That would change...
I spotted this off to the left as I was going up. Looks like a character from a children's cartoon.

I left the trail just about the point where it crossed Mills Creek. My intention was to maintain elevation as I curved back north east but topography didn't cooperate and I ended up having to gain probably 200 vertical feet. This put me above the saddle I was aiming for but it all worked out. Ultimately, after giving back the 200 feet, I started up the west ridge of Wuh and that's where it got tough.

The only picture I took as I went up the west slopes.

I gotta tell ya that this hike up - although it was only something like 400 vertical feet - was one of the toughest I've done in recent years. The snow was deep. And soft. I have rather large snowshoes (32" MSR lightning ascents) and I was sinking to my knees every "good" step and sinking to my hips the rest of the time. The snow completely covered deadfall and small trees and when I stepped on either, I was sunk. Literally. I spent more time pulling myself out of holes than I would like to admit. More than once, I thought I should just come back when snow conditions were a bit better. But I am Norwegian and my ex-wife had a t-shirt that said "You can always tell a Norwegian - you just can't tell him much." Translation: Norwegians are stubborn. Duh. So I kept on. And did finally make the summit. Although the views from Joe Mills are better, the ones from Wuh aren't bad. And I'm pretty sure that Wuh doesn't get a whole lot of visits...

Views looking back west on the way up.




Approaching the summit.


Summit views.

Looking Northeast
Looking Southeast


Looking west
Flattop Mtn

Only one thing remained on my to-do list. Find Round Pond. I had missed it when I did Joe Mills Mtn a few weeks back (and I should do a TR on that trip as the views were incredible). I suppose if I carried a GPS with cooridnates, it would be easy but what is the fun in that? Anyway, I started dead reckoning my way and I lucked out and found it. Although a moose wasn't quite so lucky....

Round Pond

Moose carcass on the shore of Round Pond




Obviously, animals had been feeding on the carcass. From the scat around, it appeared to me that foxes and/or coyotes were certainly present.

This was a fun day, and a more difficult climb than I expected followed by a sobering view of a moose by Round Pond. Call it Nature taking its course.

Most of you know that I don't carry a GPS so this is an approximation of my route.


Thanks for taking the time to read this and please be careful out there You don't want to end up like the moose!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
2 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

Comments or Questions

Frozen moose
01/31/2020 21:31
Great find there with the moose. Dpage found a bear skull on the summit a year or two ago. I recall some metal trail markers by round pond.

A good winter outing and underrated mountain. I did about the same line in March a few years ago, easier snow conditions then. Headed over to Steep mtn after for a much longer day with lots of uphill on the trail back. The ridge east of Wuh summit has good views.


Wuh hoo!
02/01/2020 08:59
Jay, really enjoyed the report! I spent a while trying to pronounce the 'Wuh' before opening this page. I think if one pronounces it to rhyme with 'huh' then it could be a single pulse of a Spruce Grouse's drum song.


Wuh Huh?
02/01/2020 14:50
Nice report and pics and kudos to you for braving Mt. Wuh in the
snow (by the way I also have no idea what the correct pronunciation
is). I did Joe Mills once but couldn't generate much enthusiasm for
Wuh because I wasn't sure if you could really see much from the summit
given the tree cover. Turns out, from your photos, that you can see
more than I would have expected. You're definitely checking all the boxes
to qualify as a true RMNP trail blazer.

It's actually an acronym...
02/01/2020 15:25
So the story is that it originally was an acronym: Winter Undertaking (from) Hell. You proved it true, Jay! :-) Sorry, couldn't resist...I have no ideas re: history or pronunciation.

Nice report, Jay, I enjoyed it. But man, that moose...creepy how it was hollowed out!



Thanks and laughs...
02/01/2020 16:07
@Cougar - I will likely do Wuh again - maybe in the summer when it won't be quite so much work. Bear skull?? Wow! How cool is that? I'll have to ask Dpage about that.

@Rob - Thanks, Man! And you might be right about the grouse drumming...

@MathGuy - I was surprised at the views also. I didn't expect them but they did not disappoint. And I have a LONG way to go before I am any sort of authority on RMNP. It sure is a beautiful place.

@Tom - OK - You totally cracked me up! Your acronym makes perfect sense to me!

All - Thanks for your comments. Much appreciated!


Nice job, Jay!
02/01/2020 20:21
A lot of work, but you took some great pictures! That first one was worth the effort! Super! Also loved the twisted tree (#12).

#8 reminded me of the Stay Puff giant in Ghostbusters 1 after being zapped.


Wuhnderful report
02/02/2020 02:46
I love reading all things RMNP! Great perspective of Flattop. Nice work in some deep snow!


More thanks
02/02/2020 09:42
@Doug - Thanks for the compliment on thee pix. Sometimes weird weather can make for some great shots. I never realize it when I take them (I'm just a point and shoot guy) but then I get them home and go "Wow"

@Kirsten - Thanks so much! Like you, I dearly love the Park.


Nice report & photos
02/02/2020 11:29
Thanks for the report. I wasn't familiar with Wuh, nor do I know how to pronounce it. My guess would be it rhymes with duh. I can tell you how to pronounce Mills if you need help with that. Hah!


02/02/2020 15:08
Cool shots and makes me miss RMNP. And a moose find...maybe it will lure the Grizzlies back...


02/03/2020 10:08
Super cool find Jay! Always worth it to head off the beaten path


Even more thanks...
02/03/2020 11:20
@Eddie - LOL! I **think** I've worked out the Mills pronunciation but I'll give you a yell if I need help. And I do need help with most things...

@Rob - Thanks! - And yeah, moose just might lure the Grizz - and maybe wolves? - back to the park.

@Chelsea - Thank you for your nice words and yeah - sometimes just wandering does give a person a chance to see unusual stuff.


Mt. Wuh name origin
02/04/2020 11:37
Hi, Jay!

I have never climbed Wuh, to the best of my memory, though we both have climbed nearby Joe Mills, as you know. I think Wuh doesn't get climbed much. Like you, I don't really know how to pronounce "Wuh." I did find what seems to be a valid explanation of the origin of the name in a trip report on a 2015 climb of the mountain by Stefan and Richard Hollos, who write:

We've long wondered how Mount Wuh got its name. It sounds Chinese, but the "h" at the end adds some doubt to that. To shed light on the question, Stefan suggested we email RMNP to see if they knew the origin of the name. Elizabeth Howard of the RMNP information office kindly and promptly answered our question by saying "the name of Mt. Wuh comes from the Arapaho Indian word for Grizzly Bear. It was named in 1923 by Roger Toll, even though, by that time, there were no more Grizzlies in the park".

Here is a link to the entire trip report:

I sure do admire your ambition, getting out and climbing through the winter!

I wonder if a Park biologist might want to examine that moose carcass to determine a cause of death. You might check with the Park on that.


Good info!
02/04/2020 12:39
So - it's Arapaho for Grizz, eh? Now I know (although I think I like Tom Pierce's meaning better ) I took your suggestion and called the park and they told me that unless it was in a common public area, they just let Nature take its course. Thanks for your kind words - I do enjoy winter although I end up doing the easier accessed peaks cuz I just can't cover the miles on snowshoes like I used to.


Dat tenner
02/06/2020 14:48
I'm going to pronounce it Mount WOW! This is awesome, I'd imagine this peak gets so few ascents per year you could count them on your fingers and toes.


Thanks, Ben...
02/06/2020 16:24
Sometimes, the most fun comes from mountains that don't get much attention. Thanks for your kind words.


MSR "Lightnings"
02/09/2020 15:03
Jay, excellent report--I really gotta get out there sometime when everything's white and cold. Sooo beautiful! I remember telling you that I owned those same snow-shoes and that I wasn't impressed. (expensive too). If you're sinking up to your hips---how can they even be called snowshoes? Think you told me they really "rocked" on higher, harder snow, but would you really need them in those conditions. WUH'S the scoop?


MSR stuff
02/10/2020 12:13
Hi Pete - Nice to hear from you and thanks for your comments. Regarding the snowshoes - they actually do quite well in snow - not quite as good as my old 60" wooden ones but those don't do well on inclines at all. That day, the snow was just horrible - flotation-wise. Lots of fresh unconsolidated powder in shade. No support at all. And the "up to the hips" part was when I literally would step on a totally hidden small tree or deadfall. Just a perfect storm of conditions. And yeah - you do need to get out this way in winter. More fun than you can imagine.

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