ElevationAscent: 2,847' 868 m
Descent: -2,846' -867 m
High: 13,917' 4,242 m
Low: 11,071' 3,375 m
GradeAvg Grade: 17% (9°)
Max Grade: 83% (40°)
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“A stunning San Juan 14er with some fun scrambling near the summit.”— Tyler Prince
While the land manager requests dogs be leashed, they probably don't intend for Fido to be scrambling about the rocks near the summit. Few dogs can cover this quasi-technical terrain.
Faster hikers should expect around 4 hrs RT; average hikers closer to 6-8 hrs.
While Matterhorn Creek doesn't have a bathroom or any amenities, it is a proper TH, well signed and with a fair amount of parking. A small field next to the dirt lot provides room for around 5-6 tents.
From the upper TH, run on clear, mellow trail for about 0.75 miles. Reach a junction in a clearing, turning right and heading up some switchbacks before continuing north at 11,300 ft. Follow the trail to treeline at 11,600 ft or so. Continue up Ridge Stock Driveway before coming to a junction at 12,000 ft. Turn left for Wetterhorn Peak Trail (turning right will take you to Uncompahgre Peak).
Run up through the basin, crossing through some rocks while heading left toward the summit ridge. Once through a brief rocky patch, switchback SW on excellent trail before reaching the ridge around 13,000 ft.
Follow the trail, more or less ridge proper, before you reach some yellow dirt on the trail. This brief change in soil marks the end of the easier terrain. The path drops left of the ridge and then becomes unclear. You should be able to see "the Prow," a sharp and jagged rock formation appearing like a fin below the summit. Your goal is to scramble up just to its right. Once at the Prow, you'll come to a V-notch in the rock. Scramble either left or right, then turn left and run toward a flat dirt area surrounded by rock formations at 13,800 ft. The summit is up and to the right.
Continue north through a notch in the rock before reaching a set of large stone steps to your right. This natural formation makes for a fun scramble right below the top. Some more adventurous runners may opt to simply scramble around here until they top out. There's plenty of fun climbing and lots of exposure to be had. Stay within your comfort zone! Top out and enjoy the views from Wetterhorn's flat and large summit. This is a great spot for a 14er finishing party.
From the summit, head back down to the Matterhorn Creek trailhead, or head back to the junction with Ridge Stock Driveway to run Uncompahgre Peak as well.
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