Climbing 14ers can be very dangerous, please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively, without the help of electronic devices.
Route #1) Uncompahgre Peak - South Ridge from Nellie Creek
Class 2 Ski: Intermediate
3,000 feet 5,505 feet starting at 2WD TH (9,350')
7.25 miles 15.25 miles starting at 2WD TH (9,350')
From Lake City, turn west onto Second street. Drive 0.1 miles and turn left onto the Henson Creek road. This is the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. Drive 5 miles to the sign for the Nellie Creek trail (#877). The sign is on the right. There are a few pull-offs along the road in this area. If you do not have a high-clearance 4WD vehicle, park on the Henson Creek road and hike up from here. Continue 4 miles up the Nellie Creek road to reach the trailhead. The road crosses a stream twice. 2.3 miles up this road there is a junction. Turn left and stay on the main road to reach the trailhead. The composting restroom which was provided by the US Forest Service has been CLOSED and is no longer functional. Please pack out human waste or bury it at least 200 feet away from any water source.
From the upper end of the parking area, start up the trail and hike nearly 1/2 mile to tree line where the trail approaches Nellie Creek. Near 11,800‘, pass some large boulders as you parallel the stream - Photo #1. Ascend a hill to reach a trail junction near 11,950‘ and continue west into the large basin, south of the peak - Photo #2 and Photo #3. Follow the trail southwest as it crosses the basin - Photo #4. Above 12,600‘, turn left and hike toward Uncompahgre‘s south ridge - Photo #5 and Photo #6. Photo #7 is another look at the peak from approximately 12,800‘.
Near 12,900‘, turn right (west) and hike along the east side of the south ridge. Near 13,200‘, the trail angles more to the north as it continues along the ridge - Photo #8. Continue to Uncompahgre‘s southeast face (Photo #9) and climb a few switchbacks (Photo #10) to reach the crest of the ridge, near 13,800‘ - Photo #11. Follow the trail left (northwest) around to the west face where you’re faced with the crux of the route - 150‘ of steep, loose rock below the upper slopes - Photo #12.
The Nellie Creek 4WD road is rough and narrow and, in Spring, the stream crossings can be a bit tricky. IMPORTANT: This route enters the Uncompahgre Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the Uncompahgre Wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
Topo map:(Not Displayed, click here to change your settings)
Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.