Peak(s):  Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,015 feet
Date Posted:  07/06/2010
Date Climbed:   07/04/2010
Author:  Southern Appalachian

 From Every Mountainside: Let Freedom Ring!  

What a way to celebrate the 4th of July!
Wetterhorn Peak

WOW ... what a peak. People say this is a fun mountain and it is SO true. The hike is in relatively mild (by 14er standards) and the scramble to the top is pure joy. I am Chiken-Little and scared to death of heights. So, needless to say hearing the mention of "ropes the last 85 feet" had my full attention.

We stopped right above the easily recognized "yellow sand" and had lunch before starting the real scrambling. I opted to leave my pack and poles at this point based on advice from a fellow 14er buddy. It was the right decision because it certainly made climbing easier for me ... HOWEVER ... my "Snickers/PB&J/Gatorade/Cheese Its" flavored pole handles made a delicious snack for some lucky Mo-Fo-Marmot (I USED to think they were cute ... now they are all just sneaky robbers/vandals/thieves in my eyes).
Dirty Rotten Scoundrel

The route finding from in this section was a little tricky for us. This was our first Class 3 route and we picked some wrong cairns at one point. We ended up traversing some VERY loose sand on the right side (made me very nervous) and spit out at the Ship's Prow staring back at a well-marked trail. How the hell did that happen? Oh well, so at this point some real 4-point scrambling starts. I was shaking in my boots. My partner is a former free climber and shot up the wall like Spider woMan. Image
Damn Free Climber
I was impressed ... and depressed. I felt so slow. I guess I tested every hand and foot hold 3 times each. I abruptly stopped about half way up and said, "I'll never be able to climb all of the 14ers". I was so worried about the last section that people rope on ... then all of the sudden ... WHAM! I see a big FAT CAIRN and seconds later I was standing on the summit. SWEET HEAVEN - I made it! We were greeted with the Most Absolute Perfect July 4th Summit Day EVER ... warm and no wind. I never dreamed it possible ... but it happened.

I celebrated my successful Class 3 climb all of 5 minutes before I started worrying about down-climbing ... because I heard at an REI Seminar that some people have a horrible time going down ... but it turns out that I LOVE to down climb. It seemed so much easier to me than coming up. I think it's because I have the perfect ass for going down. What EXACTLY does the perfect down-climbing ass look like, you might ask?
Perfect Down Climbing Booty

Some helpful things that I'd want to know:
1. The 4WD road above the Matterhorn TH sign is NOT bad. We parked at the bottom and walked this section. HOWEVER, a 4WD vehicle would have NO problem and it'd knock off some extra hiking (UNLESS, of course, you want do some EXTRA hiking).

2. We did notice the white "slime" on the rocks and would never consider drinking water up there.

3. If you're comfortable sleeping in the middle of nowhere ... the dispersed camping along the Alpine Loop Trail ... where you turn to the Matterhorn Creek TH ... is gorgeous.

4. If you're scared sleeping in the middle of nowhere ... stay at Wupperman's Campground. Pat and Cecil Mitchell ... good Texas people running the show there ... they will take care of you for $15/night.

5. Lake City ... is a sweet little place. Good burgers at Packer's Saloon ... FANTASTIC ice cream at the San Juan Soda Shop.

6. If you trout fish ... carry a pole ... and hook a fish or two (like me!).
Hiker AND Trout Slayer

Difficulty: Class 3
Summit Elevation: 14,015 feet (Wetterhorn Peak)
Elevation Gain: 3600'
Round-trip Length: 8.0 miles
Trailhead: Matterhorn Creek TH

5:30 AM Awake
8:00 AM Start Hiking
12:00 PM Summit Wetterhorn Peak
3:00 PM Back at Trailhead

Date Ascended: 7/4/10
Roundtrip: 7 hours
Temperature: 38 start temp .... 60's at the bottom


Matterhorn TH
14ers for Dummies ... by Dummy (I THOUGHT that was Wetterhorn straight ahead .... ummmm, it's not, it's the one over my right shoulder!)
People going down while we were going up.
Check out the moon!
The ramp ...
Spider woMan (and Uncompahgre)
14er #7 for me
Perfect Day
Perfect Down Climbing Booty
Harmless Puffs

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

07/06/2010 18:42
...on your first class 3! Wetterhorn definitely tops out the fun-o-meter and is a good litmus test for the harder peaks.


Bootyful Trip Report :)
07/06/2010 18:51
I will be doing the wetterhorn next week...thanks this helps alot on the conditions right now.


nice work
07/06/2010 21:33
looks like fantastic conditions. i‘m headed there in a few days - i hope it‘s half that nice. congrats


07/06/2010 22:18 i see it was you!! we saw you on our way up in late afternoon, we‘ll post our TR tomorrow or something.

Southern Appalachian

Uncompahgre/Wetterhorn Slayers
07/07/2010 08:08
I‘m assuming you made it to the top. You guys are our new heroes. Nice work.

emcee smith

Great Job
07/07/2010 13:53
See, looking back, you could have joined me for Lindsey. Your picture #14 (Down) looks much more intense than it really is.


you assume wrong
07/07/2010 17:31
Samantha made it to the top but I did not, which was no biggie as I had done it before.... I will post my TR later today so you can see why I should absolutely not be your hero

Southern Appalachian

Super Hero
07/08/2010 03:48
I loved your trip report.

Congrats to both of you for playing hard that weekend.

Southern Appalachian

07/08/2010 03:49
Yep ... we should have definitely joined you.

It killed me reading your trip report.

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