Member Trip Report

MEETINGS & ACTIVITIES    trip menu    search   calendar


Uncompahgre Peak (14309'), Colorado

July 18-20, 2003

Author and Leader: Gina Pasquale

Trip Participants: Gina Pasquale, Steve Doorn, Jonathan Doorn, Jeff Click, Rose Click, Kathleen Gruetzmacher, Elena Brown, Michael Brown, Martin Staley, Dave Dogruel

I noticed there are already 2 trip reports on the LAM webpage for Uncompahgre Peak, for 1997 and 1999. But, since this was a club trip, I will write one up too.

After the usual logistical complications (Martin overslept, Jeff missed us in Espanola, Kathleen and Dave headed towards Durango instead of South Fork), we all arrived at the Wupperman campground on Lake San Cristobal, the largest natural lake in Colorado. We ended up at a gorgeous campsite (numbers 7-11), on a cliff about 200' above the lake. The scenery was breathtaking, but we did have to worry a bit about a 2-year old falling over the edge!

We had a nice group dinner that evening in the usual LAM fashion, complete with wine and hors d'oeuvres, a fresh vegetable salad and sautéed pasta, perhaps even to rival Elizabeth's trip, which was occurring on this same weekend.

Our scheduled alpine start of leaving camp at 6am stretched out to 7:15am. After packing 10 people into two 4WDs, we headed towards Nellie Creek. I believe the road was in much better shape than Gary Clark's 1999 trip, as we didn't have any problems at all getting up the road. We didn't even get a chance to test out Dave's burly-looking winch on his Land Cruiser! There were a couple of steep, rutted sections, but they were dry going up. (It would have been a completely different story if the road were wet!) We reached the trailhead and were hiking by 8:15am with hordes of other climbers. (I have officially lost my reputation as an alpine start slave driver.)

Steve and Kathleen stayed back with 3 kids at about 12,500', and the rest of us headed for the summit. Jeff was carrying a 50-pound pack, complete with Rose saddled in. He was determined to make the summit! We all hiked at our own pace, and without difficulty we were all at the summit by 11:15am, when the first clap of thunder sounded. After some quick pictures, we headed down ASAP, even though there were still many hikers going up! It never ceases to amaze me that people like to climb 14ers in thunderstorms. Meanwhile, Steve had carried Jonathan up to his new altitude record of 13,200' on the ridge, for an awesome view of the Wetterhorn.

After regrouping at the cars, we decided to hang out in Lake City for some ice cream, hot cocoa, and letting the kids burn off some steam at the playground on Main St. We then took a vote: head back to camp for cooking and cleaning dishes, or eat at the "pizza place" on the next street. It was not a close vote, and we walked over to the A&A Pasta restaurant for the dinner surprise of the year. This was a REAL Italian restaurant, complete with homemade, gourmet pasta dishes and wonderful wines by the glass. The owner and our waiter, Angelo, was from Milan, and kept hitting on Kathleen! It was great fun! We were not expecting this kind of dining experience in Lake City, but this place was great! It has been in business for about 2 months, and was quite crowded, even for a Saturday night. I highly recommend the homemade gelato for dessert.

That night, Dave had a campfire, and we all slept soundly. In fact, Martin may still be sleeping there, as he was still stuffed in his sleeping bag when we departed at 11am the next morning. Dave joined Steve and I for a short hike up Williams Creek as a cool-down hike before driving home. We were fortunate enough to see a pair of golden eagles soaring high above us.

All in all, it was a great family trip, and I believe Martin and Dave survived a weekend around all the kiddos!

Send your trip reports, comments, updates, and suggestions about this site to
Jan Studebaker

Website Design by Jemez Web Factory