Total Elevation Gained: ~5500 feet
Total Time: 12.5 hours
Start Location: Nellie Creek TH
We were getting the interior of our house painted and my wife decided she didn't want to be around for it. So she left to visit her parents in Las Vegas with my 2 year old daughter. Wanting to make the most of my bachelor status I planned to get a few 14ers checked off my list while the wife was away. So after work (in Pueblo, CO) I drove to the town of Lake City, CO and enjoyed a quiet meal at a quiet restaurant. From there, the trailhead was about 12 miles away and that's where I spent the night while laying inside my wife's Toyota Highlander. I awoke at around 4:30 am and was on the trail by 5 sharp.
There was light snow. I didn't wear gaiters or microspikes and certainly didn't bring or use snowshoes. Gaiters and spikes could have been useful but weren't necessary. As I started out it was dark and it was cold. I had underestimated how long I would hiking in the dark. The sun didn't show up until about 7:30 am and by then I had made it to about 13K feet already. My hands were so cold I had to stop hiking and use my secret hand-warming method before continuing. It was a beautiful sight when the sun finally came over the distant range. It began to get warmer immediately.
From my limited research, these two peaks are not always done together. It seems that, more often than not, there are hiked individually. I was very glad to find trip reports from those who have gone before me from 14ers.com. My first goal was reaching the summit of Wetterhorn Peak via the standard route. The hike up this route is very scenic and I would have taken more pictures if there would have been more light available.
|Wetterhorn Peak taken from about 13K feet just as the sun had risen.|
|Uncompahgre Peak from essentially the same spot as above. This would be my second goal that day.|
The remaining 1000 vertical feet to the top of Wetterhorn was a lot of fun. I left my poles at 13K feet because I felt like gripping my poles was preventing my hands from staying warm. There is a prominent feature of Wetterhorn Peak that is commonly referred to as "The Prow" or "The Ship's Prow". It is visible in the first picture above as a small notch just left of the obvious summit. The route to the top passes right at the base of this impressive rock feature.
|Passing below the Ship's Prow with the summit dead ahead.|
|The last couple hundred feet offers some fun Class 3 scrambling before topping off on the summit.|
|Standing on the summit (14,015 feet) with Matterhorn Peak and Uncompahgre Peak in the distance.|
|More summit shots|
|The San Juan mountain range.|
|Proof that I was there.|
|Same picture as above with the notch labeled that I'm referring to.|
|Finally made it to the base of the notch.|
|Matterhorn peak is the one that is closest and Wetterhorn is behind it. Weird to think I was just there about 4 hours earlier.|
|If there's one thing I'm good at, it's posing for pictures.|
|More summit shots.|
|This is Matterhorn peak from about 11K feet. About 2 miles from the trailhead.|