Uncompahgre Peak via Matterhorn Creek


Uncompahgre Peak is the sixth highest mountain peak in the U.S. state of Colorado and is the highest peak of the San Juan Mountains. It is located in the Uncompahgre Wilderness in the northern San Juans, about 7 miles west of the town of Lake City. Uncompahgre peak has a broad summit plateau, rising about 1,500 ft above the broad surrounding alpine basins. Its like a giant rectangular block with one end pushed down into the earth.

The drive down was uneventful which is the best to hope for. The stretch down from Gunnison to Lake City on the Million Dollar Highway is gorgeous and you can open it up through incredible countryside. Lake City has a cool remote and historic vibe and a few last options to supply before heading up. We drove up Matterhorn creek as far as the road let us, and had our gear ready to go for a couple mile hike in to make camp further in.

It was overcast with a light rain, but we have gear for all occasions so it was no problem. Following the trail right to where treeline ends, we found a great spot in the tall ponderosa near a creek.
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The view up valley was pretty awesome, Matterhorn and Wetterhorn on the left, Uncompahgre further along on the right. The night was clear and the stars were incredible. The morning was fine as well, only a light overcast, which lasted up over the pass into the large bowl on the Nellie Creek side. It’s a good spell before getting up and over around the low end of the tilted block at forms the peak, but the views of Uncompahgre from the south are awesome.

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It’s a long meander up the ridge but gets more interesting and slightly more challenging as you go, which is the perfect way to approach a summit, isn’t it?
The weather held and the views were forever. It was late enough and with enough weather in, that we dashed any ideas of going up Wetterhorn on the way back. That will have to be another time, and I am already looking forward to going back.