Climbing Wetterhorn in the southern Colorado Rockies is a fantastic fourteener adventure. Starting with an approach hike through alpine meadows, you’ll ascend through boulder fields and along the ridge before making a few class 3 moves to gain the summit. As you ascend, you will pass the “Prow,” a sizeable fin-shaped outcropping just below the summit and a key landmark on this route. Climbing Wetterhorn Peak involves some exposure, so if you are not comfortable with heights and cliffs, you may want to pick a less challenging peak. Plan your trip with my route description, map, weather forecasts, and more below.
Climbing Wetterhorn Peak: Fast Facts
CAUTION: This Route is Hazardous!
You are responsible for your personal safety in the backcountry.
These peaks can be unpredictable and dangerous. Help is often hours or days away: your safety is primarily your responsibility. Prepare for your trek, understand your limits, be aware of the risks, and equip yourself with the necessary skills and gear.
Climbing Wetterhorn Peak: Southwest Ridge
The best route description for a class three peak like Wetterhorn Peak is available on 14ers.com. The Guide comes with photos of the route, maps and a detailed walk-through which I recommend reviewing in detail before climbing Wetterhorn Peak.
All those climbing Wetterhorn Peak need to bring a topopgraphic map with them for navigation in the field. I recommend saving a digital version of this map on your phone and printing out a paper backup copy in case anything happens to your electronics. It isn’t a bad idea to bring a compass and GPS unit or app as well.
Use these two sources to check the weather conditions before your trip. Consider the temperature high and low, wind speed, precipitation, and whether there are any storm systems on the horizon to be aware of. No Wetterhorn Peak Route Guide is complete without weather forecasts.
Below is a complete weather forecast from the National Weather Service. I recommend reading through it thoroughly to help inform your planning.
This trailhead is inaccessible during the winter and spring until the snow melts completely. Plan accordingly.
DIRECTIONS TO THE TRAILHEAD FROM LAKE CITY:
There are a few types of gear you will need while climbing Wetterhorn Peak if you want to increase your chance of a safe and successful ascent. Here’s what I recommend bringing with you for this fourteener.
- A good pair of hiking boots for 14ers
- The ten essentials for mountain safety.
- A day pack to carry your gear, food, and water.
- Headlamps are helpful for early starts (and late nights).
- Good snacks to keep you fueled
- Trekking poles are optional but highly recommended
- A personal locator beacon might save your life.
- A climbing helmet for protection from falling rocks.
Read all of my gear reviews and recommendations by clicking here.
Camping near Wetterhorn Peak;
There are several campgrounds in the valley and dozens of great dispersed campsites along the road leading to the trailhead. Campgrounds include:
Lodging near Wetterhorn Peak:
Your best bets for lodging are Lake City and Creede, Colorado, which are both within 45-90 minutes of the trailhead.
- Matterhorn Motel – Lake City
- The North Face Lodge – Lake City
- Alpine Moose Lodge – Lake City
- Bushwhack Lodge – Lack City
There are many cabins available via Airbnb and other services in Lake City, Creede, and the surrounding area, ideal for those climbing Wetterhorn Peak.
Wetterhorn Peak is located in a pristine wilderness area that faces an increasing number of visitors with each passing year. Help preserve these peaks for future generations by following these Leave No Trace practices while climbing Wetterhorn Peak.
- Plan ahead, review the route and pick a weekday or day in September to hike.
- Stay on the trail, and keep dogs leashed on and off-trail to reduce trampling of alpine grass.
- Leave your Bluetooth speaker at home and let nature’s sound reign.
- Urinate off-trail, and pack out your waste – a cathole won’t work at high altitude.
- Give wildlife a wide berth – 100 meters if possible. If they approach, back up to keep space.
- Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints.
Safe travels, and good luck climbing Wetterhorn Peak! Learn more about LNT on 14ers here.
Wetterhorn Peak is named after a mountain in the European Alps. Its namesake 12,113 mountain is slightly shorter than its American cousin, which it closely resembles, however it is heavily glaciated which makes it a tougher and more technical climb.
Climbing Wetterhorn Peak is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.
- Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
- Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
- Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
- Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
- Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
- Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.
Climbing Wetterhorn Peak is an inherently high-risk, dangerous activity. There is a significant risk of injury or death, even with proper planning and experience. Those using my guide accept all risks associated with climbing 14ers and do not hold this website or any information they obtain from it liable for any accidents or injuries that occur while engaging in these activities on Colorado’s high peaks. It is each hiker or climber’s responsibility to research their route carefully, bring the ten essentials, and practice other safe practices, though even these precautions do not eliminate risk and danger. Visit these summits at your own risk.