Matterhorn is Wetterhorn's shorter neighbor to the east, and is a worthwhile addition while you are in the area as it is a "bicentennial", or one of Colorado's Highest 200 peaks.
Begin at the same trailhead used for Wetterhorn (Matterhorn Creek) and hike up hill from the parking area to a gate. Continue on the trail for approximately 3/4 of a mile to a signed trail junction 1
, continue on the main trail (right) as it switchbacks up a hill and continues into the upper basin and treeline 2
. From here, Matterhorn will dominate the view in front of you, and the majority of the remaining route is visible 3
Continue past the turn-off for the Wetterhorn Peak Trail at approximately 12,000' by staying on the main trail (right). You will follow the trail to a saddle between Matterhorn Peak and Broken Hill at approximately 12,460' before the trail begins to descend towards Uncompahgre Peak. The rest of the route is "off trail" from this point, but easy to follow 4
Cross a flat area and a small stream and ascend 5
the grass and flower covered lower southeast slopes of Matterhorn Peak 6
. The views here really begin to open up towards Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn 7
, and if you time your climb right, the flowers are just spectacular.
As you climb the terrain gradually becomes steeper 8
and rockier, especially above 13,000' 9
. Near 13,400' the route turns to talus and the crux tower begins to really come into view 9
. Traverse a generally flat talus section of ridge directly towards the crux tower, this is a great place to take a short break and consider your options 10
The tower itself is much easier than it looks and involves some easy class 3 climbing without much exposure. The tower can be climbed directly on the ridge crest for additional climbing on more solid rock, or you can traverse talus below a steep rock rib and climb the face to the ridge crest just below the summit to minimize the class 3 and exposure 10
Reverse your route to descend 5