| Wetterhorn: Getting the One that Got Away
If you don’t mind, please indulge a brief personal / philosophical note before getting into the promised Wetterhorn trip report.
This was my first 14er where my family came with me and I think because of that and because I’m a tennis geek, I found myself thinking back to Andre Agassi’s Tennis Hall of Fame induction speech. Specifically, his comments about no one doing anything on their own. I’m paraphrasing here but as I was starting out on the trail it really came back to me him saying he didn’t accomplish anything on his own – i.e. without the help and support of so many around him.
Thinking about this more, I wouldn’t have been in the position I was without the amazing support from my wife for indulging me my obsession, other 14ers members’ trip reports, Bill Middlebrook’s 14er site and specifically the excellent info on Wetterhorn, getting partly up Wetterhorn with a friend a few weeks earlier to at least get a view of the route, etc, etc, etc. It really just struck me how so many things come into place (some you’re aware of but likely most you’re not) to get you to any given point in life... and yes, it’s good to get away to be able to get some perspective.
But enough of the finer things – on with the trip report!
I was up at 4 am and on the trail at 5 am. Interesting side note, I saw a car pulling out at roughly 4:30 am and later learned that some hearty souls pulled in at midnight the night before and went for something (Uncompahgre, Wetterhorn, something else?) and then headed out before sun-up. One thing I love about Colorado – there’s always someone crazier and more committed than you!
On the trail and closer to 6 am, I caught the moon between the trees.
Further along on the trail I got my first good look up at Wetterhorn.
Later I came across a nice spot for a camp site.
Something I’d not come across before on a 14er – easily over a hundred sheep grazing in the green grass below Wetterhown.
A look up at Wetterhorn and an understanding of why they call them the Rocky Mountains.
Uncompahgre and Matterhorn ridge in the early morning light - shortly after 7 am.
A look up at the last push to the summit. This sounds like a line but, it really does look steeper in this photo than it is. Honest! Yipes!
8 am - on top after 3 hours on the trail. A look down from the summit to the Matterhorn Creek trailhead where my wife and kids had had breakfast, but what mischief are they getting into now…?
More photos from the summit – pictures just don’t do justice to how beautiful this area is.
Columbines - the Colorado state flower - still hanging on in the July drought.
Marmot – the unofficial Colorado 14er state animal – looking every bit the ruler of all he surveys.
A cool cave that’s much bigger than it looks – I estimate it’s 30 feet wide. Note the six horses and riders in the below left foreground.
… and what could be a better finish? Coming down the trail back to camp I see my wife and girls coming up to meet me. Reinforcing my original sentiments of the day and gratitude at being able to share it!
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):