The standard route up Wetterhorn Peak is considered class 3. Class 3 is a classification of mountain route that is a part of the Yosemite Decimal System used to categorize difficulty levels of climbs and mountains. A class 3 route (or mountain) means that there will be moderate route finding, hand placements required, and some exposure. To compare, a class 1 route / mountain is a nice, well-marked hiking trail and class 5 is a sheer cliff requiring ropes and technical equipment. Class 3 is somewhere in between.
Wetterhorn Peak’s summit is guarded by a series of rock ribs and spires that must be negotiated. This proved to be somewhat of a route finding challenge, as there were a number of faint climber’s trails leading up and around the obstacles. It was easy to get a little confused about where the route was. After some time, we managed to work around some of the spires and ended up on the proper route, but not after wasting thirty minutes doing so. The final summit pitch is a hoot…a 150’ class 3 face with some fantastic exposure below. Once on top, we were greeted by a summit cairn (GPS N38.06038 W107.51077) and a nice level grassy knoll – perfect for a picnic lunch while enjoying the scenery. Our descent was uneventful and we enjoyed the continued perfect weather while hiking back to Rubi.
After making our way back to camp, we had a celebration beer. Later, after breaking down camp, we loaded up the Jeep for a three-hour 4-wheel-drive climb up the famous Engineer Pass and down into Silverton. The afternoon was highlighted by a whole line of Jeep Wagoneers which passed by as we neared the top of the pass. Saturday was spent with friends climbing several 13,000’ mountains near Silverton, selected for their outstanding views of the San Juans and the Grenadier Range.
So, get off the couch and make a road trip. Just jump in your Jeep and go. If possible, head for the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and take advantage of the great Jeep roads and more adventure than you can imagine. Even if it’s a 12-14 hour drive…isn’t that what a road trip is all about?
* Published by JPFreek Adventure Magazine – The leader in Jeep and adventure enthusiast publications.