Peak(s):  Wetterhorn Peak  -  14,021 feet
Uncompahgre Peak  -  14,318 feet
Matterhorn Pk  -  13,590 feet
Date Posted:  08/15/2016
Modified:  08/16/2016
Date Climbed:   08/13/2016
Author:  Somewhat of a Prick
Additional Members:   Mountain Trash, cdgibbons
 Long Day in the San Juans   

Wetterhorn Peak - 14,015
Matterhorn Peak - 13,590
Uncompahgre Peak - 14,309

~18 miles and 7400' elevation gain.

Adam and I originally planned to do Wetterhorn/Matterhorn in one day, and Uncompahgre the next. Chris asked what I was up to this weekend, and I let him know and he wanted to join for the Saturday hiking. A lightbulb went off in my head, "hey why not just push for all three at once?". I checked with Adam and Chris to make sure they were up for that, and of course they were ready for the challenge. We picked up Chris at the lower TH and drove up to the upper lot in Adam's Tacoma. We got to sleep a little after 10, with alarms set for 3 with plans for boots on the ground at 3:30am.

The alarm came quick, we broke down tents and scarfed down some breakfast and we were on our way right at 3:35am. We were planning to hit the meat of Wetterhorn when the sun was rising. We chewed up the first couple miles of the trail pretty quick and were coming in hot at the upper stretches of Wetterhorn. We slowed up a tad to wait for the sun. I took a sunrise photo while we were grabbing a snack:

Adam and Chris getting blasted with alpenglow:

I found the scrambling up the final stretch of Wetterhorn to be fun. I feel pictures make it look worse than it actually is.

Before we knew it we were on the summit at 6:30, for a total of 3 hours from the car.

Descending down the upper stretch:

View of the remaining peaks once down off Wetterhorn:

We departed Wetterhorn at 6:50 and were at the base of the big push up Matterhorn at around 8:30. We debated a bit about the best way to gain this section of Matterhorn, but ended up deciding on the following line:

Here is the view of Matterhorn from the base of the giant tundra push:

We found this long section to the rock of Matterhorn to be mindless and somewhat arduous. Pics from the long ascent up tundra:

We took a few breaks and slowly hit the upper rock section. We helmeted up and followed the cairns that were up there. Some fun scrambling to the top I thought. Here are a couple pics of the upper stretch:

We touched the summit of Matterhorn at about 10am. The views on the summit of Matterhorn were incredible. By far the best views of any of the three peaks. Hikers that just do Wetterhorn are robbed of the best views of Wetterhorn, they never see it in its true glory. For anyone reading this trip report considering just Wetterhorn, you should give Matterhorn a good look before passing it up. Here are the summit views:

We hung out for a bit and crammed down calories and drink and headed off at about 10:15 towards our last objective. Everyone was feeling a little worked but pretty strong overall and everyone was chomping at the bit for Uncompahgre. Here is the line we took off Matterhorn to connect with the trail that lead to Uncompahgre:

Following the trail, looking back at our two previous peaks:

To gain the standard route trail up Uncompahgre, we decided to go up a gully seen below:

As you might guess from the picture, the gully was not much fun. The trail splits and we should have kept to the right and continued around the mountain to connect to the standard route. More distance, but its class one and mindless. The gully was extremely loose, it made Challenger look like a sidewalk in my opinion.

Approaching the gully:

I was feeling great all day until about halfway up that gully. It completely zapped any remaining energy I had. Once at the top we came to a team consensus that we would not be going back down that way and would instead add on distance and take a gentle stroll down and around the mountain.

I labored from here to the summit, but we made it to the summit at 1:20pm. We were constantly checking the weather all day, and especially as we were heading to Uncompahgre. The skies held firm and we made it all day with no rain, definitely lucked out there.

Summit shots on Uncompahgre:

We spent a half hour on the summit, resting up and taking in calories. Once we started descending I started feeling a lot more energized. Adam and Chris were both solid all day, pretty impressive. Like we had said, we took the longer gentle trail that loops around the mountain back down into the basin. It splits off the Uncompahgre standard route about a mile or two from the summit, right when the trail starts turning into the tundra area. It's extremely easy to find and cannot be missed.

Some more pics from the gentle stroll out from Uncompahgre:

Parting shot of Wetterhorn:

We had a lot of good discussion through the day. Lots of great topics, such as trying to determine the top 5 feelings (mental or physical) in the mountains. In no particular order, here were mine:

1. Taking off the hiking shoes and putting on flip flops once hiking is complete
2. Cracking open a cold beer at the car
3. Realizing the meat of the day is over with, and you are on cruise control to the car.
4. Applying chapstick to badly chapped lips
5. Summitting

The other guys had some good ones, if I had been a little more awake I may have remembered them.

We got back to the car at about 5:30, and proceeded to check off #1 and #2 above. We all agreed it was easily one of our favorite days in the mountains ever. I would definitely recommend this route, with the slight correction on Uncompahgre, to anyone looking to push the envelope a little.

Comments or Questions
Number six
08/15/2016 20:37
6. Changing into a set of clean clothes.

Ah shite
08/15/2016 21:29
Why do I even bother taking photos. These are fantastic.

Photo Number 1
08/15/2016 22:53
Is one of the best sunrise photos I have ever seen in Colorado during the summer. You could sell that. Well done on the route as well.

08/16/2016 04:39
Fantastic first shot! Super trip!

Brings back good memories!
08/16/2016 07:38
Well done, that's a huge day! Did just Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre in a day two years ago...definitely will have to go back for Matterhorn sometime. Thanks for sharing those incredible sunrise photos.

08/16/2016 07:41
Your photos are fantastic - thanks so much for sharing! I have always been curious about combining these peaks, so someday I hope to retrace your route.

Great pictures!
08/16/2016 08:10
And the sad face / happy face indicators on your pics are LOL-worthy. I've done this day (minus matterhorn) and I thought it was exhausting. I can't imagine adding Matterhorn in there too - good work!

What Monster5 said...
08/16/2016 08:29
Besides the fact that all your pics are out of this world, you all did 3 of my fav peaks. And you are spot on about the views from Matterhorn. Of the 3, that ended up being my favorite summit (and the only one that I had all to myself).

GREAT report. Makes me really want to go back and do them again.

Somewhat of a Prick
Thanks guys
08/16/2016 08:32
Also Jay, we were not alone on the summit of was shocking! There was a young lady and her dog up there awaiting our group

08/16/2016 09:00
My friend and I passed you guys on our way up to Wetterhorn. Happy to see that your day was a success. Congrats!

Matterhorn crowds
08/16/2016 12:34
Wow - that's amazing that you weren't alone on the summit. Although it was a few years ago when I was there, I recall the the climber's trail was pretty faint and I assumed that few people actually did Matterhorn. The most amazing picture I ever took of Wetterhorn was from that summit. At least I thought it was amazing until I saw your pics.....

Number Seven
08/16/2016 17:08
The post-hike bathroom break.

Sold on Matterhorn
08/16/2016 18:32
Nice work guys. Sold me on doing Matterhorn next time around. Great pics Nick.

Next week
08/17/2016 23:42
Thanks for the report and great pics too. I plan on heading down next week to do Wetterhorn and Matterhorn now after reading your report and seeing your great pics. Was just next door at Uncompahgre last week and feel I'm not done now.

08/30/2016 06:41
Beautiful pictures and looks like a lot of fun. Going to be doing Wetterhorn on Labor Day 2016!! Excellent job on doing all three!

Great Pics
09/13/2016 13:39
That first picture is stunning!

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