Peak(s):  Uncompahgre Peak  -  14,309 feet
Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
Date Posted:  06/13/2020
Date Climbed:   06/12/2020
Author:  Bradenkerrco
 A marathon and 8000ft   

Oh man, this was a day and a half

Okay, so started from the 2WD trailhead for Uncompahgre. Was at the 4WD trailhead by 6:00am. On the way to the summit of Uncompahgre there wasn't snow below tree line. There are some small snow patches but they were hard packed in the morning and stayed hard packed throughout the day. They were still hard packed when I crossed back over them at 3pm that same day. This is most likely because of the recent cold snap up high and I don't foresee them staying hard packed all day for much longer. The switchbacks around 13000 were half covered in snow but easy to walk on. I brought poles and this is one area where they helped. Once above the switchbacks there isn't really any more snow. Summited at 7:42am. Spent some time on top, arguably much more than I should have. Left the top at 8:15.

Heading down fast, hit the turnoff for Wetterhorn creek by 8:45. The trail across the tundra is pretty barren. There is a lot of snow left but its also still hard packed. Some fields were up to 300 yards wide. They often covered the trail so it always wasn't easy to follow but there were sections that were easy enough to see far away so I could tell where I was going. Reached the base of Matterhorn by about 10:00am.

The trail now links with the Wetterhorn trail. Relatively soon you hit decent sized snow fields again but the trail is clearly marked. Its a mix of snow and large refrigerator sized rocks until you hit the ridgeline. Here there are 2-3 snowfields along the ridge line but steps are cut in well.

Now for the class 3 sections. Before you hit the first rock rib there isnt that much snow. Since i didnt have my camera out for this section Ill describe what I saw compared to the standard southeast face route pictures, those numbers are what Im referring to. In picture 12, that section had very little snow until you dropped over where the first arrow ends. Going up the gulley right below the rock rib has solid veins of snow (Picture 13). I chose to stay to climbers right of the the entire picture 13 since it was dry and I trusted my hands more on what I would consider 4th class instead of the steps you see in the photo. The notch was dry which was nice and the route over to the base of the gulley below the prow was dry. Photo 17/18 is the next section that had veins of snow still. Again, stayed to climbers right in photo 18 and went up and over the two large boulders in the photo. I chose to stay on the rock since I climb, I had an axe but since the other rock was dry felt that was just as easy, however I would describe it as class 4 in some sections. Once you hit the prow, the snowfield in the standard route photo is there but wider, easy steps are cut in. Above the final notch the final pitch is dry and was easy to navigate.

I debated doing this hike from the Wetterhron trailhead but was concerned due to lack of beta on Wetterhorn and with the recent snow I couldn't summit, Uncompahgre seemed much more of an assured summit, so started from Uncompahgre. However I DO NOT RECOMMEND DOING THIS. You will have a long long day. Coming from Uncompahgre, you will have the most climb going this direction since you have to regain the ridge at about 12,700 at the very very end of the day, that sucked. Overall, my day was 25.2 miles, about about 8000 vertical feet and a lot of bright sun all day, bring lots of water food and sunscreen.

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