Peak(s):  Uncompahgre Peak  -  14,309 feet
Post Date:  10/01/2012
Date Climbed:   09/29/2012
Posted By:  DaveSwink

 Uncompahgre Peak in the fall   

With the snow-free 14er climbing season coming to a close, I recruited my son, Jason to climb Uncompahgre before access to the trailhead became difficult. We made the long drive from Boulder to Lake City to spend the night in a comfortable but inexpensive cabin at ElkhornRV.

The next morning, careful driving got my Subaru Forrester to the Nellie Trailhead. I thought the rough 4WD road was comparable to the road to Huron, but longer with a couple of creek crossings thrown in.

I took a quick trailhead photo, and then we set off.

Jason and Dave at the trailhead

Jason needs no encouragement after you say "let's go".

Jason speeds up the trail

A very short hike took us above treeline and Uncompahgre rose into view.

First siting of our goal

The trail wound through some cool sculpted boulders.

Cool boulders

As we climbed higher above treeline, we got a wider perspective of our goal including the snow-lined switchbacks up the South ridge.

Full view of Uncompahgre

The San Juans began spreading out to the horizon after we gained the South ridge.

South ridge view

We wound around to the West face to find the steeper talus had a light snow coating. I made a mental note to wear microspikes on the way down to improve traction.

West face talus

View from the West face

Finally, we got to enjoy a light snack on the summit and survey the beautiful day.

Summit view

More summit views

Wetterhorn and Matterhorn looked dramatic outlined with a bit of snow.

Wetterhorn and Matterhorn

On our easy hike down, we got a delightful treat when we encountered a beautiful coyote hunting rabbits in the alpine meadows.



Back to Lake City for some big burgers at the Packer Saloon, and then the long drive back to Boulder!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Love the fox pic.     10/01/2012 14:53
It looks like real thick like a dog almost. Very nice


fox     01/24/2013 17:58
Yes, it moved well, looked healthy and strong, and it was very alert. I guess it is ready for the long Colorado winter.

We got to see it attempt a ”pounce” on a rabbit. After staring for about a minute, it ran/leaped about 30 feet so fast that it was just a blur. It missed that time, but it was impressive to watch!


fox     10/01/2012 21:21
Yeah, that's a great shot of the fox! I too have never seen one so thick in fur. Nice report! Thanks for posting!


fox?     10/01/2012 22:12
Uncompahgre is a beautiful climb,one of my favorites. Looks like a coyote to me.


fox     01/24/2013 17:58
The coyotes that I have seen are skinny, scruffy, and hangdog. This animal was magnificent. I added another pic that shows his foxy tail.


fox----naw, coyote     01/24/2013 17:58
OK, a quick google search for coyote images confirmed that it is indeed a coyote. I am correcting the TR. Thanks, planet54!


Forester     10/02/2012 20:12
Thanks for confirming, empirically, that a Forester can navigate this road. Before I climbed this peak, numerous well-intentioned people told me it couldn't be done! Cook photos & congrats.


TH road     01/24/2013 17:58
Yah, I would say that road pretty nearly defines the limits of a stock 2008 Forrester. It took patience and occasionally getting out to move rocks.

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