Wetterhorn Peak

Date to Climb: July 16, 2009

Date Climbed: June 25, 2009

Elevation: 14,015

Range: San Juan

Latitude: 38.06060, Longitude: -107.51080

Route: Southeast Ridge ll, Class 3

Uncomparghe Peak

Date to Climb: July 16, 2009

Date Climbed: June 25, 2009

Elevation: 14,309

Range: San Juan

Latitude: 38.07160, Longitude: -107.4621

Route: Southwest Slopes ll, Class 2

Round-Trip Mileage: 17.2 (for combo)

Pre-Climb Comments

Uncomparghe is a class 2 with a good trail over most of the route. We are still unsure of the order. Wetterhorn is a class 3 and supposed to be a great climb. It looks like a great day, weather permitting.

Post-Climb Comments

After leaving Handies we went to Lake City for lunch. It was a terrible experience. We wanted good, fast food but instead got mediocre food that took forever. I left Amy, while we were waiting for our order to arrive, and did some errands and was gone for over ten minutes, still no food. Lesson learned: just because a restaurant looks busy does not mean it is a good restaurant, they might just have a slow kitchen, holding all of the patrons captive - but just once.

Once at the trailhead we met a couple from Wisconsin who had spent the last two days climbing the mountains we were going to attempt the next morning. They thought doing both climbs the same day was doable, but would be very difficult. It rained on us the rest of the afternoon - again. We stayed holed up in our car/tent waiting for dryness. It was a long time before our wishes were granted.

Jake did not get to go on the climb. His paws were still a bit tender and needed one more day of rest. It was going to be a long, tough day for us - it would have been even harder if he had gone with us.

Departing the car at three a.m., we walked up the trail in the dark. As we followed our beams of light, we listened to the world around us. A roaring stream filled the valley with the noise of cascades. Daylight was slow coming and the sky was filled with clouds. We knew we were going to have to move fast.


We decided to do Uncomparghe first because it was the farthest away - a seven mile hike to its summit. The route description was clear as to where the trail went, it just was a long way away. We had to cross underneath the north face cliffs but the towering faces extended forever. Finally, we climbed steeply to the shoulder and could see the rest of the route. After a long traverse the route climbed an upper shoulder to a cliff protecting the top. Out of sight, an easier passage climbed a hundred feet to the large summit. It was a long walk over to the actual summit. We took some pictures and started down, it was only seven.

The hike back off the summit was fast. We stopped to take pictures of a rock wall enclosing a bench with Wetterhorn and Matterhorn as a back drop.


Retracing our steps across the vast high meadow we made minor navigation mistakes. It is funny how things look different in the daylight and dark.

One guidebook suggested that we leave the trail and contour to meet the Wetterhorn trail. Part of our problem was we had never been on the Wetterhorn trail, so we really did not know where it was headed. It is difficult to meet a trail when you do not know where it is located. We wandered a bit.

wetterhornTired from our morning efforts we crawled up the scree, talus, snow, and rock. Route finding was also confusing trying to dodge snow. The route would go into the snowfield but would not emerge on the other side. Finally we found the key cliff that gave easy access to the top. We scooted up, took pictures and started down.

Initially, the climb down from the top did not seem quite right. After further investigation, we found we were one gully too far over. The one we were in was steep and needed a rope. We quickly retraced our steps.

The rest of the way down was uneventful. It thundered and rained, but that was becoming common place. We did see a familiar tent at the upper 4WD trailhead. Chad (from Sunshine and Handies) popped out of the tent. We had a short conversation in the rain and we left him the best of luck.

Jake was waiting for us at the car. It was two in the afternoon. What a good dog. Oh, it was nice and cool inside the car/tent and it had become his safe place.

We left the area as soon as possible, packing in the rain. Our bodies were tired. We were sore all over. One thing could help, a motel room, we would find a room in Montrose and prepare for our backpack into the Chicago Basin the next day.

Nick should already be in the Chicago Basin when we would arrive, if we could find him. It will be great to see him.

Jon and Laura are on their way to climb with us.

Uncomparghe Peak - June 26, 2009 summit check

Wetterhorn Peak - June 26, 2009 summit check