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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-02-05||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: From the Hanson Creek road closure to the summer 4X4 trailhead at Matterhorn creek, the road is snowmobile packed. My partner was able to boot the road except for the last 1/2 mile to the summer trailhead. A good trench now leads to treeline and conditions for the approach are PRIME. The class 3 section on Wetterhorn is snow covered with icy spots due to melt but is very manageable (still harder than in the summer). We didn‘t use crampons or micro spikes. On a side note, Uncompahgre‘s upper slopes are wind blown and are good. No trench that I know of up Nellie Creek, however. 1 - Looking up Wettherhorn 2 - Snow covered class 3 on Wetterhorn 3 - Wind blown slopes on Uncompahgre.
|2014-10-26||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: What a difference a few weeks makes, reading the previous report I felt inclined to add this update because things are dramatically different. First of all, Wetterhorn is 90% dry, including all areas that require any scrambling. Trail approach: Completely dry until you start to get into the part that goes through the boulders, then some patchy snow that that makes a couple of spots hard to follow, but its easy enough to get back on track. The majority of the snow on the entire route is actually in the bowl just below the summit ridge. That is the only section that would even require gaitors, but I didn‘t bother. (Photo 1) Summit Ridge: Almost no snow, a couple of very short patches that were not even deep enough to worry about as the foot prints go all the way to the dirt, trail is easy to follow (Photo 2) Lower Crux: Dry. Braided trails and misleading cairns, but its like that in the summer so I would call it summer condition. There is one patch of snow on the east side of Ships Prow, but its at a flat section and nothing to be concerned about (Photo 3) Summit Gully: Completely dry and so is the step up to get on the ramp, and the ramp. Summer condition, dry and snow free! (Photo 4) In summary, Wetterhorn has melted out from the early October storms and is more of a September condition. There is some weather forecast for Monday 10/27, but if it doesn‘t produce much and the rest of the week dries out, take advantage and go get that elusive November grid slot ;) PS - Most south and west aspects in the northern SJs are dry, but Uncompahgre‘s SE face is holding snow.
|2014-10-02||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Attempted Wetterhorn yesterday (Thursday). With all the new snow Wednesday and then all this sunshine the conditions are probably much better than when I was up there. No issues getting to the lower TH even with snow on the road, hiked the 0.7 to the upper TH. Broke trail the entire day so you are welcome for whoever was there today Lots of post-holing, waist deep in some places along the ridge. Was a battle along the ridge and then decided to turn back and descend once I reached the prow. I am not very experienced on snow and I was climbing solo and there was nobody else out there that day so I was being very conservative, but don‘t underestimate the danger on the ridge with all that loose snow. Ice axe was a necessity. Tried to post a bunch of pics but the files are too large and I don‘t feel like messing around re-sizing them sorry.
|2014-09-24||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Climbing conditions were perfect, no snow or ice on the mountain. Very few climbers a group of 4 and another single climber. We took it slow and enjoyed the climb.
|2014-07-12||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: The route is mostly snow-free, except for several short snow sections in the basin, most notably on the wide curve on the route transitioning from the Matterhorn Creek Basin to the Southeast Ridge itself (see Photo #3) (near 13,000 ft). I brought microspikes but did not need them for any snow section, nor was the snow still remaining much of a posthole threat (at least in morning hours). There was also some snow near the Ship‘s Prow, but not in an area of much consequence. A couple of the creek crossings in the basin required pausing for a moment to ponder how to best cross, but there was no need to go off route to maintain dry feet. The flora seems to be in full bloom, it is that time of year. Very enjoyable hike/scramble!
|2014-07-03||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Started from camp (about 1.5 miles in) at 5:30am and reached the summit at 8:30am. Also climbed the ship‘s prow after this. There was some snow below the saddle and also leading up to the saddle, but all of it was avoidable or easy to cross. Up top there is snow past the ship‘s prow before you reach the notch right below the summit. This is the only area where I would have even considered spikes (mildly) helpful. I left my spikes/ax back at camp and I also had my trekking poles packed on the back of my backpack at this point. I felt very comfortable on the snow because of prior footprints, kicking a few steps and because the angle was not too great. An ax definitely isn‘t needed and I would only consider spikes if you are very conservative. You can also use your trekking poles on this upper area and you will be fine. On the way down I crossed a couple of snow fields and postholed a few times, but nothing major.
|2014-06-21||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Snow is melting fast, but there is still some on the route. Low on the route, there will be postholing later in the day. Real concern is on the route closer to the summit near the prow. Just below the prow in the gullies, there is snow and ice. Some of the snow sections in the gullies are small and can be worked around if you‘re OK with temporarily going off route (above) and finding your way back to the route. If you‘re going to stay on the route, I‘d suggest microspikes, and given the changing conditions of the snow later in the morning and on into the afternoon (it gets sloppy, slick and soft), an ice axe is still a good idea, at least for the next week to 10 days. Just an opinion, but it‘s worth the extra weight of the axe as kick steps sometimes give way. On the final pitch to the summit above the ramp, it‘s dry as a bone.
|2014-06-08||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: I summitted the Wetterhorn yesterday. I was on top at 8:30. Because it was colder and because of the freak storm postholing was minimal. There were several places where I had to cross or climb a steep snowfield, or climb something significantly harder than class 3. I tried both. 6 of one, a half dozen of the other. I‘ve climbed Wetterhorn 4 times. This time was the hardest. There were three other groups on the mountain, I saw no one close to the summit and I saw one group turn around at about 13,500. I should add that the final pitch is snow free. If I were climbing tomorrow I would take crampons, ax and snowshoes. One thing I can say is the creek was roaring. I would not even think about driving up to the Nellie Creek TH.
|2014-06-04||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: About 2 to 3 feet of snow covering most of the Tundra beneath Wetterhorn. Started around 5:30 and summited around 9. Snow starts around treeline. We were unable to make it up the last 0.7 miles to the Upper Matterhorn trailhead because of patchy snow in the trees, but we saw a group of people in ATVs who appeared to make it up to the trailhead. We were able to summit without any technical snow climbing equipment. The technical portions near the top are mostly snowfree. We left the summit around 10 and there was significant postholing as we got closer to treeline. Would have recommended leaving earlier.
|2014-06-03||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Very snowy. See photos. Recent slides from high on the east face are evident in the photos, but an east face ski descent would still be in. Unknown conditions on the ridge and summit block slabs.
|2013-09-06||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Still summer conditions. Took the kids up and had a blast the last 15 feet got a little climby, but other than that felt safe with the kids. Brought a rope, but didn‘t even consider using it. CFI is doing some a little trail restoration just before the class 3 stuff.
|2013-08-25||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Rocks on final accent were a little wet but there are good holds. Route through gullies is well marked with cairns.
|2013-08-17||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Southeast Ridge Trail from Matterhorn Trailhead was in excellent shape with plenty of water available and good trail markings throughout. The only marking issue was the first split (veering east and ascending partway up a slope just after leaving the trailhead) where the sign omits Wetterhorn for some reason. A kind soul hand-carved Wetterhorn onto the sign so it shouldn‘t be a problem but it isn‘t as obvious as it could be. The road to the Matterhorn Trailhead was rough but fine in a 4Runner and we saw a Subaru Outback parked in the camping area near the trailhead. Camping sites at the trailhead were in good shape.
|2013-07-26||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: No snow on trail, just a little bit of snow near the saddle, but not on trail.
|2013-06-30||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: The snow patch mentioned in the previous report is melting fast. Otherwise, summer conditions all the way to the top.
|2013-06-23||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Ascended Wetterhorn after Uncompahgre starting/finishing at Matterhorn Creek. Took a direct traverse from the Matterhorn saddle across the tundra on a faint use trail that dipped to the creek at 12300ft then met up with the standard trail. There is one patch of snow right before you gain the ridge, but there are good steps or one can easily bypass it on a short section of scree. The rest of the route is clear, good scrambling up top. No need for any special gear. Photo #1: Upper Matterhorn Creek with Wetterhorn far left, Matterhorn right. Photo #2: Final ridge pitch to Wetterhorn, the snow on the left blocks the trail briefly. Photo #3: Final summit pitch, good solid class 3 scrambling.
|2013-06-13||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: The first gain of saddle on Wetterhorn has quite a bit of snow still. However, me and the group before me traveled above it to avoid the snow. There was only one snow field where I used microspikes and axe. Mostly because I hauled them up, I figured I might as well use them. I did posthole a few times. Never past my knees. Otherwise, the steep sections on the final portion of Wetterhorn are mostly clear of snow. No equipment needed.
|2013-06-09||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: the vast majority of the time conditions were dry and while you had to get a little creative to avoid the snow, it wasn‘t terrible. that said, there were a couple of sections in which microspikes and an ice axe came in handy but this was very short lived.
|2013-06-04||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: There is snow in a number of places which will force you onto harder terrain in a number of places. My partner managed to find a class 5 route on one part. I did break out the ax on the snowfield below the prow. Crampons were not necessary.
|2013-05-26||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: We were able to summit without any special gear (no snowshoes, crampons/microspikes, axe, etc.), although some sort of traction would have definitely been helpful in a few sections. Trail is mostly dry until just above treeline. There were several sections of deep snow to cross leading up to the southeast ridge. There was some postholing, but nothing too miserable or exhausting. Most of the snow was pretty supportive, with a little extra post holing on the way down. There was good snow cover on the slope leading up to the southeast ridge and on the ridge itself, but it appears to be melting quickly. Much of the cairned route is still covered in deep sections of snow, making route finding and navigating dry rock more difficult. The easiest and safest way up probably involves more class 3 and possible class 4 climbing (not too sure). On our ascent, I made the mistake of climbing around to the east side of the ridge instead of staying to the left. While we were able to follow some older, smaller cairns, this way flat out stinks. Do not do this. We were scared to death. We managed to follow the standard route for the most part on the descent. This was much more manageable, but there were still several sketchy areas where crampons/spikes and an ice axe would be desired by many. All in all, a great climb in great weather in manageable snow conditions. Photo 1 - A broad view of Wetterhorn and the some of the approach Photo 2 - Just below the southeast ridge, looking at the remaining climb Photo 3 - Sketchy climbing on the east side of the ridge. Just stay on the left side!!! Photo 4 - Looking down a steep section of the west side of the ridge on the way down