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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2015-06-30||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Route is close to summer conditions with some scattered mud and snow. We read the report from last week and we were hoping for a snow climb but the hard freeze is over and snow too soft and wet - there was plenty of wet slough activity in the high basin. High alpine meadows are starting to bloom and are really beautiful. I am not sure which flower it is that is so fragrant, but this route really smells great too! Met Mindy and Chris up there, as well as several aggro marmots. The summit scramble wall is solid and fun, but as all this just thawed out in the past few weeks, take care on the entire class 3 section below. We found several loose boulders and rocks. We actually had a close call with a boulder about the size of a cooler - all my husband did was touch it with his hand as he passed by. He injured his hand trying to deflect it to keep it from running him over, which luckily gave me a second to jump to the side and take cover as I was directly below. We also witnessed a massive rock slide from a distance on one of the lesser area peaks the next day while climbing Uncompagre. The 2 mile 4WD trail to the TH does require 4WD, but is not anything out of the ordinary if you have that available.
|2015-06-30||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: We hiked the Southeast Ridge of Wetterhorn 6/30/15 with absolutely perfect weather. We were able to drive our Camry to the "lower" trailhead at 10,300 which is 0.7miles from the official trailhead. There are a few slushy snowfields along the trail just below the ridge that caused us to posthole ~10 times. We found gaiters to be helpful but neither snowshoes nor crampons/ice axe were needed. We brought helmets but didn‘t use them as there were few other climbers and we were never climbing below them. The ridge itself and the class 3 sections up higher were completely snow free and the rock was very stable. We carried our drone with us and filmed a few sections of the route. We met a few fellow climbers that wanted to see the footage and we promised to share the videos on a trip/conditions report here. So, as promised, you can see the videos which have nice shots of the conditions at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMjyQ3OsCfM or youtube search "Wetterhorn Drone" and see 5 videos posted by MTS Drone.
|Chris and Mindy||2015-07-01||4||1|
|2015-06-27||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: The Wetterhorn trail is quickly approaching summer conditions. The trail is maybe 80% snow free at this point, although there is still lots of snow in the basin the trail avoids most snowfields pretty well; snowshoes are not necessary. Since the last report, the steep snowfield higher up on the ridge has melted, the only snowfield we found along the scrambling portion was just below the prow. We did not feel the need to use our ice axes for this portion as it was neither very steep nor long. It would still be wise to bring your axe, as some folks may not feel as comfortable as we did. You can also get a couple great glissades on the descent! Get out there and enjoy it, the flowers are really starting to bloom now.
|2015-06-21||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Climbed Wetterhorn and Matterhorn on the summer solstice - and our 1st wedding anniversary (!). Intermittent snow - with a very wet and muddy trail in between - begins around 11,800‘, then continuous from about 12,500‘ to the saddle (Photo 1). We took a more direct line to the saddle than the summer trail, following a low-angled, snow-filled gulch from about 12,400‘ to 13,000‘ (Photo 2), re-joining the summer route for the last 100‘ or so to the saddle. Other than a couple spots at the very top, snow in this gulch was pretty consolidated and supportive even after solar heating. Once on the ridge, we ditches our snowshoes to cut weight, though it did mean a bit of postholing on the couple of short snow sections on the lower ridge (Photo 4). For those interested in climbing Wetterhorn in its current state, and are newer to this type of mountaineering, the following is important. The standard route, as described in the peak page on this site, and marked with cairns, currently requires traversing a rather steep - up to 45 degrees - snowfield with a not very good runout (Photo 5), for about 150-200 feet. Crossing this slope requires, at a minimum, an ice axe and ability to self-arrest, and possibly crampons if going very early (we didn‘t need them, but we only went this way on the way down). It IS possible to bypass this snowfield by climbing straight up to the top of the ridge, and then skirting around/over several towers, but this requires a few moves of 4th class with some loose rock and quite a bit of exposure. We did this on the way up, and did not love the idea of repeating it going back, hence we elected crossing back on the snow. Point being, if doing Wetterhorn in the next week or two, either be comfortable on steep snow, or be prepared for a slightly more difficult scramble with more "no-fall" sections than usual. On the plus side, the final short traverse and steep 3rd class section were totally free of snow and ice. As a final note, the west face of Uncompaghre no longer has continuous snow lines from the summit (Photo 6). Amazing mountain, and an awesome mountaineering adventure right now!
|2015-06-14||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Climbed on sunday 6/14/15 via the SE ridge. A hard freeze on Saturday night made the snow conditions perfect for the ascent. I did not need crampons or snowshoes the entire way up. The ridge was pretty clear as well. Only a few rocks had black ice. We summited by 6:30 am. On the descent, we needed snowshoes once we were off the saddle as the sun started to strengthen. The snow is melting very fast and the line is about 11.2k. Clear all the way to upper 4WD trailhead.
|2015-06-09||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Great morning for climbing! I was able to climb Wetterhorn and Matterhorn without trouble. Snow is deep above 11,500 and snow shoes are advisable. I brought crampons but didn‘t need them. The class three areas were a little icey but easy to negotiate. Get an early start and have a great time!
|2015-05-17||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: We actually climbed the Matterhorn but I did want to put this report under Wetterhorn as I think it will help show folks what it‘s looking like up there. As other reports indicate, a down tree in the road makes for a longer walk. We started skinning about a mile after the TH. The skinning was good and we make it up to about 13,350 before we bootpacked to the summit. As you can see, it‘s REAL snowy up there! Good luck to anyone headed to the San Juans.
|2015-05-15||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: Tree fall still there on the Matterhorn Creek 2WD road. Drivable 9.8 miles from the milage start. A few snow drifts from 9.8 to the summer TH. Quickly melting snow covered the lower route. Firm surface layer in the basin. Low visibility of Wetterhorn and Matterhorn. A few cornices and loaded slopes were seen on Wetterhorn and up high on the ridge connecting to Matterhorn. Still waiting to consolidate.
|2015-05-09||Route: Southeast Ridge
Info: I didn‘t make it to the top today because a large snow storm rolled in right as I was about to hit the ridge. There is a lot of snow from about 1/2 mile past the 4WD TH to the very top (see picture). Also the ridge looks to have a pretty unstable looking cornice that is probably best avoided and there were three recent slides that might come close to intersecting the trail, you can‘t really tell in the picture sadly but trust me, they are there. All-in-all the snow pack seems unstable which is why I diverted to Matterhorn in stead.
|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.