Date: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Start time (Nellie Creek TH): 0600
Summit Uncompahgre: 0750
Summit Matterhorn: 1015
Summit Wetterhorn: 1225
End time (Matterhorn Creek TH) 1500
Elevation Gain: 6,436'
Milage: 13ish - GPS died
Company: Tyler aka tmillerdawg
Its autumn again, the second time since I seriously started pursuing the fourteeners. This time of year is my favorite, because of the cool temperatures and solid weather. Tyler and I had to bail on this hike a few weeks back because of electrical storms in the San Juan's but we were able to reschedule for September 20th. As the date neared we found that we'd have three days of great weather.
My Grandpa and I left Denver on Wednesday morning to make our way towards Lake City. My Grandma was originally suppose to come because she wanted to see the aspen changing colors but at the last moment she felt ill and had to stay home. We were instructed to take many pictures of the trees for her along the way.. I tried not to disappoint. We spent Wednesday afternoon driving around on Engineer Pass taking pictures of the trees, and exploring the trailheads that we'd be using the next day. We headed back into town, had some dinner at Southern Vittles then went to bed. Tyler met us in Lake City that night after driving up from Laramie.
Driving up N Henderson RD, near the Matterhorn Ck TH
Engineer Pass Colors near the Capitol City Townsite
The next morning we left Lake City at 0500 to drive up to the Nellie Creek Trailhead and arrived at the upper trailhead at 0600. Tyler and I geared up and agreed to meet my Grandpa later that day at the Matterhorn Creek Trailhead Soon we were out of the trees and could see our first goal of the day Uncompahgre Peak. The trail is in great shape, thanks CFI!
Alpenglow on Uncompahgre
View of 13158'
Summit of Uncompahgre
We made it up to the huge summit, and hung out taking some pictures for awhile. After Tyler's customary summit handstand we hiked back down the trail to the gully around 13400'. We dropped down this gully down into the valley between Uncompaghre and Matterhorn and met back up with the Ridge Stock Driveway Trail No.223. (The gully is full of loose nasty rock) Follow this trail to the signed intersection with the Matterhorn Trail No. 135 below Matterhorn's southern slopes. Head directly up the slope to the rocky summit.
Scree gully off Uncompahgre
Up next - Matterhorn
Towards the top you run into some Class 3 scrambling. We stayed along the middle of the ridge and soon were at the top at 1015. The ridge over to Wetterhorn is impressive but looked to loose for my comfort. According to the Summit register Abe "FireOnTheMountain" completed the traverse from Wetterhorn to Matterhorn Solo. Great job man, that looks tough.
Ridge to Wetterhorn
Damn - Good job Abe.
Handstand on Matterhorn
Descending off Matterhorn
We hung out on top for awhile, the headed out for our final goal Wetterhorn. We decided to drop down below the rock glacier under the Wetterhorn/Matterhorn ridge, and eventually hooked back up with the standard route up Wetterhorn.
Once back on the trail we made good time up the Southeast Ridge, to the rocky upper ridge. The scrambling after this was a blast, I really enjoyed the class 3 up to the summit. As of Thursday the whole route is summer conditions, no sign of any ice or snow on the upper slopes.
Last stop of the day - Drop down below the Rock Glacier.
The ships prow
Summit of Wetterhorn
Once on top we met two ladies from Morrison who had arrived on the summit just before us. We hung out for a while talking with them, and enjoying the beautiful weather. They were going to climb Redcloud and Sunshine the next day. Hope everything went well on that hike if you are reading this!
What?! No handstand?
Wetterhorn and Matterhorn
We started back down towards the Matterhorn Creek Trailhead, and Tyler decided he wanted to go for Broken Hill before being done for the day. Exhausted I opted to head back to the trailhead and wait for my Grandpa to arrive. I made it back to the trailhead around 3:00 pm, and hung out with my Grandpa until Tyler got back from Broken Hill around 4:00 pm. We drove back into Lake City for some Pizza and Beers from Poker Alice.
That night we searched for a good 13er in the area to do the next day that wouldn't take too long, because I had to be back in Denver Friday afternoon and Tyler was meeting V0MIT for a massive hike on Saturday. We agreed on going back up around Uncompahgre to snag UN 13158'.
Date: Friday, September 21, 2012
Start time: 0615
End time: 0900
Elevation Gain: 1,648'
We woke up around 4:30 and drove up to the Nellie Creek Trailhead once again, and started around 6:00 am. We made quick time up to the first switch back and then followed another trail into a valley with several meandering streams. After a few steep ridges we dropped down into another valley and walked to the bottom of the ridge connecting 13158' and Uncompaghre.
13158' in the distance
Never get tired of these
Alpenglow on Uncompahgre and the connecting ridge
Slope to the saddle
We hiked directly up the ridge to the 12780' saddle, then walked up on the right hand side of the narrow ridge. It was a pretty cool 13er, looked like the mountain had been sliced in half. We found the summit register at the top which was placed there in 1993, several big named Colorado climbers had signed it over the years. We snapped a few pictures, watched a big elk herd in the valley, and of course Tyler did his handstand, then headed back to the Trailhead. Once back in town we stopped at Nana's for Breakfast and had a really good breakfast burrito smothered with Green Chili. I'd recommend this place for breakfast.
Summit of 13,158'
Tyler on the summit of 13158'
This marks the end of another summer season, and I can't think of a better trip to end it on. Thanks Tyler for joining me on this trip, it was great to have a partner along for these more difficult peaks. Hope we can get a few more in this year and next.
Hope you all enjoyed the pictures and narrative. If you have any questions about routes and such please feel free to ask.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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