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Ascent of Wetterhorn Peak on 2009-07-02

Climber: David Foster

Date:Thursday, July 2, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Wetterhorn Peak
    Location:USA-Colorado
    Elevation:14015 ft / 4271 m

Ascent Trip Report

GPS-not recorded
Mapsource: 4.1mi 4:18Ascent& 5.4mi 4:00 Descent
Topo:+3781ft 4.19mi Ascent and -3870ft+300 5.4mi Descent
Up at 445 hiking at 515 eating sandwiches Vaune had prepared. At the 4WD trailhead at 545….noticed 2 guys had registered at 330am Heath and Shawn. Trail was steep but steady and not rocky. Despite Roach description of offtrail approach, signed trail to the Wetterhorn. Snow was surprisingly melted, no continuous snowfields to the main summit block, like we had hoped (Roach Snow Climb), so took a shorter climb down the ridge about 13000' to 13400', maybe not worth the time putting on crampons and gaiters. Snow was surprisingly hard, underneath about 1" melted snow, Crampons slipped out several times, as I wasn't taking the time to kick steps. Top snow was much softer, postholing suggested easier to be on rock. Got on the ridge. Ridge quicky became all rock. Helmets on, and tried to follow cairns. Met assumed Heath and Shawn, who said there were two routes, one more exposed, but solid rock, another less exposed but lots of dirt.. I assume we took the latter, although there were variations on this. Past the ships Prow, climbing became careful placement of all 4 hands and feet. Quite steep, saved by the frequent steps and good handholds. Did a lot of route selection on the fly, as cairns weren't that frequent. Glad we had lots of time and good weather, nothing I'd want to rush. Summited about 945am. Followed by a couple who basically took our route.

We didn't stay on top long, but great views everywhere. Clouds were forming quickly. We returned approximately as we ascended….didn't recall exactly our route. Following couple was carrying 8mm rope for descending belays. We didn't glissade our snow climb, but instead took the trail to the Saddle, and glissaded very dirty northfacing slope. Walked a bit more, and glissaded a longer East facing slope. This was mushier, both butt glissaded. From the top we had scouted a route to Uncompahgre to lose as little altitude as possible. We passed just below the Talus slide and just above the Creek going into a steep gully. Appeared to be following a climbers trail to the same objective. Stopped for lunch on the South face of Matterhorn. Clouds were threatening by now. We decided to walk up to the pass to Conundrum to look. At the pass we decided to turn around because of the weather. A few minutes later, we were hit by rain and hail with lots of lightening., ran to protection of a few trees. Remaining descent uneventful, rain eventually ended for nice afternoon. Back to camp around 2pm.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3915 ft / 1193 m
    Elevation Loss:3915 ft / 1193 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.6 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Route Conditions:
Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Clear for ascent, Heavy rain and Hail starting 12:00pm
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3615 ft / 1102 m
    Distance:2.6 mi / 4.2 km
    Route:Trail, Snow Climb East Face, South Ridge
    Trailhead:Matterhorn Creek  10400 ft / 3169 m
    Time Up:4 Hours 18 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:3915 ft / 1193 m
    Extra Gain:300 ft / 91 m
    Distance:3.4 mi / 5.4 km
    Route:SE Ridge, snowglissades, scouting to Uncompahgre p
    Trailhead:Matterhorn Creek  10400 ft / 3169 m
    Time Down:4 Hours 0 Minutes



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