Peak(s):  Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
Date Posted:  06/10/2010
Date Climbed:   06/10/2010
Author:  travis19877

 Wetterhorn Peak 6/8/10  

Wetterhorn Peak 6/8/10
Long story short, the disk that had all the photos i took on it are not accessible until the end of the weekend. So, for the time being all the photos in the report will be Kevin's, which are incredible and all High Resolution. I do feel bad that I have to borrow, so bare with me for a while and my pictures will be up shortly.

You can view the rest of the pictures Kevin took from this trip and many other trips on his beautifully designed website at :

For the basics of the climb and what you need for a successful trip, skip to the summary at the bottom of this trip report.


This climb was part two of both mine and my partner Kevin's (Kevin8020) first trip to the San Juan Mountain Range. It was also my first climb that included anything more than Class 2, which i was very happy to leave behind for a short while! After having a blast in the first Class 3 sections, I decided I would enjoy getting my feet wet in Class 4 waters. So, I asked Kevin if he thought I could handle it, and with his approval, tested out a nice Class 4 section just shy of the summit, and can safely say that that was the most fun I have had in a LONG time!

Prior to this hike, me and Kevin expected to be somewhat tired/sore from the previous 9.7 mile trip on Uncompahgre. Both surprisingly and thankfully, the only problem between the two of us was that I could not breathe through my nose thanks to those Late Spring allergies. However, this shortly cleared up and we were making quick time for the second day in a row. Even after sleeping in an extra hour, we kept ourselves in line for a 10 AM summit.

Cool background on Wetternhorn, it was named after the extant Wetterhorn that rises above Grindelwald in Switzerland's Bernese Alps. The Swiss version is also the more known Peak around the world (obviously) and is popular to postcards. However, the Colorado version is the taller of the two, as the Swiss Wetterhorn only rises to 12,142 ft as opposed to 14,015. Wetterhorn is a german word meaning, "weather peak." Here are some pics of the two, first being the Swiss version and the second our very own. I chose winter pics simply because I think they look better then
Roach, Gerry. Colorado's Fourteeners. 2nd Ed. Boulder, Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing, 1999. 228. Print.


We started the hike from our camp at 11,663 ft which was located 1.64 miles from the car at the Matterhorn Creek Trailhead. This was our second night spent at camp, and our water supply had quickly diminished. Consequently, Kevin decided he would hike the 1.64 miles back to the car, grab 9L of water and hike another 1.64 back. Heroic, if you ask me. He aptly crashed and we both took a two ish hour nap before waking up at 7 PM. After a failed attempt to get the wet tinder from the area to light, we were determined to get a fire tonight. To make things better, the sun had been out all day and there was no recent moisture, the fire quickly got going and was easily maintained. I decided it was the least I could do for Kevin to fix dinner and even a complementary cup of pine nettle tea! Which he said he enjoyed, but was most likely being nice

The Hike

We started this hike at 6:40 AM and were already a good way in because we opted to camp in the highest groove of trees. So, within minutes of starting, both Wetterhorn and Matterhorn Peaks were visible.



Although we both expected to be moving very slowly, we managed to keep a great pace. This allowed for more breaks and photo opportunities of the crazy wildlife we experienced, which are all on my camera. So they will be up shortly. The majority of the beginning of the hike was easy class 1/2 all on a marked trail. For a long time we could see almost all the way back to camp, and the entire route to where we were.


For the class 1/2 sections, Kevin was in the lead while i took pictures of the route of Wetterhorn and even Uncompahgre's route, and also of Kevin. These also will be up soon. However, once we hit the Class 3 section, Kevin let me do most of the route finding, leading, and he stayed behind to take pictures and occasionally give his advice.


Finally, we reached the end of Class 1 and 2, and began to start the Class 3 stuff. Immediatly I was having a blast, scrambling and picking my own routes up the rock whilst playing the "cairn" game. We quickly were reminded that it's not always the best idea to just go cairn to cairn, so thankfully we both knew the correct route and went on that way.

Image #7 (not yet uploaded)




After having a great time with Class 3 moves, I noticed Kevin had not yet criticized me and that I felt I could go one step higher. I decided to ask if i could opt to take a Class 4 section or two for the remainder to the summit. The answer was simply "yes, check your holds very carefully and you'll be fine." Hearing this sparked something inside of me, and the memory of climbing vertically and having to stretch my body to reach holds in the sheer rock haunts me. I simply daydream my way back to the pitch and cannot wait to experience many more.

After reaching this climax in my climbing career (so far), we reached the beautiful, tranquil summit of Wetterhorn Peak. We were casually greeted by a friendly marmot, as well as beautiful views of, well, everything. Enjoy

Fun class 4 climb to the summit

Reaching for a distant hold

Summit Marmot

Me on summit with Uncompahgre in background

Kevin on summit with Sneffels in background


San Luis

Needles Range

Redcloud and Sunshine



Wilson Group


Coxcomb and Redcliff


This climb can easily be done with the bare minimum of equipment. This includes regular clothing for spring, as well as normal food and water. Extra equipment you need really only includes ice axe, anything else is optional! This was a great climb and you can really make what you want of it depending on how you choose your route. However, you can get yourself into trouble if you do follow the wrong cairns. So know your route before getting there and this will be a great climb for you!

Wetterhorn (from camp to summit):
-4.72 miles round trip
-2352 feet of elevation gain

Car to camp:
-1.64 miles each way
-3.28 miles round trip
-1148 feet of elevation gain

Thanks for your time, constructive criticism is always welcomed!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

06/11/2010 03:58
Great report man! I can‘t wait to get to another class 3/4 with you! It‘s definitely an absolute blast.

And FYI for anyone else heading up - I demolished a prominently and exceptionally wrong cairn. I‘ve done my research, and the cairn was pointing to no established route on the mountain. It could potentially be seen as part of the east face routes, however the cairn removed does not hinder route finding for east ridge climbers, but should now keep standard route climbers on path. Sorry if it did inconvenience anyone.

Ridge runner

02/01/2011 00:24
Nice work to both of you! And thanks for posting a little history on Switzerland‘s Wetterhorn. I can see quite the resemblance between theirs and ours.


Impressive work, gentlemen
06/12/2010 04:18
Nice going, Kevin. You and Travis did a great job route-finding and climbing.

I enjoyed the report. Hoping to see a few more photos of the Class 3 section soon. : )


06/12/2010 23:50
Thanks! I have hundreds of photos of the route (literally.) Is there anything specific you want to see?

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