Uncompahgre Peak
Colorado 14ers
14,309 feet, 4329 meter
14ers FAQ|New Climber FAQ
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I met up with my 14er partners, Robert and Patrick on July 19th, 2008 at the Nellie Creek trailhead for our twin climb of Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn. Jonathan, Patrick's son was also joining us for his 6th 14er. I had climbed Redcloud, Sunshine and Handies Peaks earlier that day and was pretty tired as they rolled in late that night. These were my first climbs in the San Juan. I was going for 5 peaks in three days and was thoroughly impressed with all of them.

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We left our camp at Nellie Creek (11,400') about 6:30 Saturday morning. There was a slight chill in the Colorado air this mid July. The trail was very clear and we made good time to treeline enjoying fleeting views of Uncompahgre along the way. But once above treeline, she stood there basking in the morning dawn glow.

The trail continued across a huge basin. Large carins would allow for this to be achievable in deep snow but route finding was not an issue on this summer day. The basin was filled with green grass and wildflowers. It became a little warmer as the sun went higher in the sky but all in all a perfect summer day. Soon we found ourselves making the gentle switchbacks around a marked area for endangered butterflies.Sadly we also saw a guy crossing directly across the posted area.

While intimidating from far away, Uncompahgre is even more so up close but the trail led us to the west face and a rock gully and on to the summit. The climbing was quite easy on the class 2 rock. The summit was huge - similar to that of Longs Peak. In fact Patrick and Jonathan played catch with the baseball and gloves they had packed! A worlds first on a 14er?

On the summit, we overheard this conversation: "Hey, wonder what the highest 14er is?", the guy in shorts and a t-shirt asked with a deep twang to his friends in blue jeans. "Well, I don't know but it is probably under 15,000 feet." he answered in all sincerity.
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Uncompahgre, the 6th highest 14er, is not a hard 14er in spite of it's huge looming presence. And the views from the summit are fantastic. This is one climb I highly recommend for everyone - and it is under 15,000 feet ... :-)

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