Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn

17 Jun 2000 - by Bill Strand

We climbed Uncompahgre on June 17 & Wetterhorn on June 18. The south ridge route on Uncompahgre was mostly snow free, crossing about five snow patches. Not much glissading left. This is truly a beautiful area. The road up Nellie is fairly rough, not a Lake Como or Colony Lake, but rough. It had two stream crossings and a fairly muddy and rutted section. There was an Acura parked just before the first stream crossing so passage may be possible for passengers cars to the first stream crossing, but not recommended. There was more snow on Wetterhorn's Southeast Ridge route. The trail from the Matterhorn Creek trailhead appears to be an old 4X4 road. This trail has several spurs which were blocked off with branches. I believe that one of these is the trail marked in the guidebooks. Not quite sure why they were blocked off. If you obey the signs and stay on the main trail it will take you to the 12,458 saddle south of Matterhorn Peak. You will then have to do a descending traverse into Matterhorn Creek. This is what we did and then followed the trail that was indicated in the guidebooks. The trail between approx. 12,200 and 13,117 was mostly covered in snow. Above 13,117 the trail is mostly free of snow. There are several trails to follow as you near the summit pitch. All trails on the left side of the ridge seem to be passable at a Class 2 to Class 2+ level. The trails along the ridge end at the summit block where you make a descending traverse to the left on a sloping block for about 30 ft. From this stance you can see most of the summit pitch which is a steep and blocky gully which I found to be mostly free of loose rock and dirt. The climbing is mostly sustained and lower Third Class. There was a traverse to the left about halfway up that was well carined. The summit was larger than I expected after reading the guide book. This is another great climb if you are comfortable doing a little climbing with hands and feet.

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