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Uncompahgre Peak
standard South Ridge
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Difficulty:
 Class 2 
Ski/Board: Intermediate  
Risk Factors:Exposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Considerable  
Route-Finding: Moderate  
Commitment: Moderate  
 
Trailhead:Nellie Creek
Start:11,400 feet
Summit:14,309 feet
Total Gain:3,000 feet
5,505 feet starting at 2WD TH (9,350)
RT Length:7.50 miles
15.50 miles starting at 2WD TH (9,350)
Duration:User Climb Times
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:6/2019
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:163 reports
Cell Signal:20 reports
Sheriff:Hinsdale: 970-944-2291
Forest:Uncompahgre
Wilderness:Uncompahgre
Quad. Maps:Log In to View
Camping:On Google Maps
Eats:On Google Maps
Downloads:Log In to Download
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Trailhead

From Lake City, turn west onto Second street. Drive 0.1 mile and turn left onto Bluff Street which turns into the Henson Creek road/Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. Drive 5 miles to the sign for the Nellie Creek trail (#877), on the right. If you don't have a high-clearance 4WD vehicle, park on the Henson Creek road and start here. It's 4 miles up the rough Nellie Creek road to reach the trailhead. If your 4WD vehicle makes it through the rough section at the start of this road, you'll probably be able to make it to the trailhead. Cross Nellie Creek at 1.8 miles. At 2.3 miles, stay left at a junction. At 2.7 miles, cross the creek a second time. Grind up the remaining narrow road to reach the trailhead.

Route

From the upper end of the parking area , start up the trail ( 1) 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 - 2. Ascend a hill to reach a trail junction near 11,950' and continue west into the large basin, south of Uncompahgre - 3 and 4. Turn left and follow the trail southwest across the basin and toward the south ridge - 6.

Reach the south ridge near 12,900' and follow it west/northwest - 7. Continue to Uncompahgre's southeast face ( 8) and climb a few switchbacks ( 9) to reach the crest of the ridge, near 13,800' - 10. Follow the trail left to the west face where you're faced with the crux of the route - 150 feet of steep, loose rock below the upper slopes - 11.

From here, your goal is to regain the ridge but you must first ascend some loose, Class 2 terrain. Walk toward the tower seen in 11 where you'll have a couple of options: 1) Pass the tower ( 12) before turning right to regain the ridge or 2) take a slightly steeper line just before the tower. Both options climb through loose rock - 13. Once the terrain eases, you'll find a more-defined trail - 14 and 15. 16 looks down on much of the route. Walk up the to the summit - 17, 18 and 19.

Skiing?

Uncompahgre with snow: 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26

Notes

The Nellie Creek 4WD road is rough and narrow and in early summer 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 wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.
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