Peak:  Wetterhorn Peak (14er)
 Route:  Matterhorn to Wetterhorn Traverse
 Range:  San Juan
 Posted By:  Thevirtualsherpa
 Date of Info:  09/16/2020
 Date Posted:  09/17/2020

Standard routes up Matterhorn and Wetterhorn are bone dry. Traverse had a bit of snow on the north side, but you should not have to deal with it.

Full report on the traverse coming soon on the site and channel, but for anyone curious: it is very gnarly. Not so much because of the exposure or technical climbing but because of the mountain conditions (EVERYTHING is loose) for the first 1/4 - 1/2 of the traverse. The first two towers are the worst, almost bailed on the route here because I felt so unsafe. Was sending everything flying from dinner plates to plasma TV sized rocks. Once you get closer to Wetterhorn, rock quality improves but still can't trust 75% of your holds. Thank you to the two previous trip reports on this, both were instrumental in helping me find my way due to the lack of other beta. After the first two towers you can stay true to ridge for 90% of the climb. Loads of class 3/4 and option for 5 climbing here. Was extremely relieved to stand on Wetterhorn after 3+ hours spent on the ridge. Don't recommend this one unless you are solo or a very small party and have the patience to test every single hold and know you still have a high chance of sending loads and loads of rock. Very apparent why this is on no ones "classic" list.

 Comments or Questions
Nice Work!
09/17/2020 09:00
I did that traverse last summer from Wetterhorn to Matterhorn and agree with you on the towers closest to Matterhorn. I bailed on the second tower, since the first one was so sketchy, but downclimbing the scree gully around it was almost worse. Was it possible to stay on the crest for both towers? The first one felt like I was very delicately doing mid-low class 5 on the very top so that I wouldn't knock everything down.

Re: Towers
09/17/2020 09:07
Man, that Wetterhorn side is just hot garbage. I was SO close to doing the exact same thing you mentioned but thought the same thing. In my mind if I bailed my chances of getting hurt would not change for several hundred feet down so I decided to keep going. Those first two towers are a beast, I climbed all around them and the rock quality seemed the same everywhere. For me, it was not possible/my risk tolerance was not high enough to downclimb them directly over the top so I ended up descending about a hundred vertical feet on the south (left) side and skirted across both of them. Found a solid class 3 chimney to climb up and rejoined the ridge there. I am not sure there is a better/more safe way to do it - especially being solo.

Eli Watson

Re: "Classic"
09/17/2020 09:20
Agreed that those who don't recommend the direct ridge to Matterhorn are not wrong. I read Kansas's Trip Report (link below), and decided it would be faster to just descend Wetterhorn's Southeast Face down to the more stable talus and up Matterhorn's summit ridge after bypassing all the garbage.

Re: Kansas
09/17/2020 10:14
Yup, 1 of 2 reports I referenced above. Huge help!

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