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Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

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Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby birdhead » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:46 pm

Looking for recent info on the snow conditions up the drainage to Horse Creek Pass en route to SE slope of Matterhorn Peak. Considering a trip there next week. Thanks!
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby SeanReedy » Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:15 pm

It looks like some SPers will have been up there. I'm not sure if you already saw this: http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB3/matterhorn-peak-t61951.html

When I hiked in the general area in mid-May, the snow level was already pretty high (~9,000 feet) with some areas completely melted out even up around 12,000 feet. I'll be back in the area late July and may do the same hike you're planning.
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby birdhead » Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:31 pm

Day hiked Matterhorn from Twin Lakes on June 22nd. No snow to speak of anywhere in the Horse Creek drainage or on the SE slope. East Couloir looked significantly melted out, as well.
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby WillyTheDog » Sun Aug 19, 2012 11:59 pm

Any updates?

Last i talked to the Bridgeport ranger, he said it was pretty much dry.

Also, what is tree line elevation?

Thanks
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby SeanReedy » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:55 am

WillyTheDog wrote:Any updates?

Last i talked to the Bridgeport ranger, he said it was pretty much dry.

Also, what is tree line elevation?

Thanks


For hiking? Yes, dry. If you don't want to touch snow at all, you might do a minor bypass above the snow that plugs a small part of Horse Creek Pass. This is described on the SP page. You angle up the talus slopes on your right when you reach the snow. Hiking above and to the right of the pass also puts you on more solid ground for the scree slog up Matterhorn. However, when heading back on that route, the looser scree to the west can be fun to walk/boot-ski down to get back to the pass. Unless you want to do extra scrambling, climbing, snow play, and/or sightseeing, don't turn up Matterhorn before reaching the top area of the pass (where you will find the snow). If you want, there were still significant areas of snow near the couloirs two weeks ago, but with a lot of scree near the tops. Water is plentiful from the pass down. Most of the hike is above the shade of trees and is rocky. You leave most of the trees and easy dirt trail for more scenic adventures a couple of miles from Mono Village parking lot, a tad beyond 8000 feet, near the junction with Cattle Creek Trail.
Last edited by SeanReedy on Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby WillyTheDog » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:17 am

Thanks bro!

Forgot to write that im heading up this coming week to go up through the east couloir.
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby SeanReedy » Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:37 am

WillyTheDog wrote:Thanks bro!

Forgot to write that im heading up this coming week to go up through the east couloir.


OK, then you would turn up where I did on my trip, way early instead of heading up to the pass. It was beautiful up below the eastern aspects of Matterhorn. I preferred it to the scenery and terrain in the Horse Creek Pass area and the approach to the pass. However, it is very dry this year. I can't advise you on summitting via the couloir because I did not go all the way up it and had never intended to. I traversed from that area over to the pass. I did some fun glissading to backtrack a bit when some ridge climbing started to go beyond class 3-4. I'm mostly a hiker. I changed my profile pic to the best overview shot I have for your purposes. Matterhorn is on the left and it looks very dry around the peak unless heading way left on white stuff to gain the ridge. The normal East Couloir Route looks to be a scree slog and I'm not sure what the other white stuff would be like. I didn't make much of a dent in the stuff I found.
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby dshoshone » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:51 pm

The tarn below Whorl had water a few weeks ago, but now ? The tarn below Matterhorn definitely has water, there was a huge patch of snow there. There was also still snow under the chockstone on Whorl, but not much of a problem getting around it.
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby Ambret » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:13 am

If you are talking about the tarn on the southeast side of Matterhorn Peak, there was indeed plenty of snow and water as of August 14.

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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby SeanReedy » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:36 am

3Deserts, finding water to drink won't be an issue with the glacier and some snow still in the area. Barring a Matterhorn-Whorl traverse and the East Couloir being nicer than it appeared to me, avoiding scree will be harder. I'd guess you would avoid it best if you decide to go up via Horsecreek Pass, stay right upon reaching snow at the pass and stay right to gain the ridge. Then you would be amongst brush and some rocks rather than pure, steep scree. After tagging Matterhorn Peak, you could take advantage of heading down scree to reach the normal approach to Whorl. I suppose you might head down the East Couloir of Matterhorn if you summit Whorl first: http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/matterhorn_3.html
http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/matterhorn_2.html

I visited the same tarn ambret did on my way to Horse Creek Pass. I traversed steep, loose talus from that tarn down to the pass prior to heading up Matterhorn.

I think 3Deserts and dshoshone are referring to the smaller tarn on the south side of Horse Creek Pass (below the Matterhorn-Whorl ridge). Water was still running toward it from the slopes of Matterhorn four weeks ago. There was also snow next to it.

There is also water at Matterhorn Lake on the approach to the East Couloir. A stream will be running down to it. I even found another tarn a bit higher, nearby. All would be beautiful spots to camp near, particularly Matterhorn Lake and the area south of Horse Creek Pass, which both have spacious, soft ground.
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby Ambret » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:36 am

SeanReedy: can you tell me what I would have encountered had I gone up that moraine slope pictured above the tarn? The East Coulior? My friends and I had planned to do the Class 2 route up Horse Creek Canyon to the southwest slope of the Matterhorn but, having passed over the headwall of the canyon, I believe I turned west too early. After climbing a steep, scree-covered slope, I found myself due south of the small tarn in the first picture. Since I wasn't sure what was up the moraine above the tarn (and the visible couloirs appeared to still have snow), I down-climbed toward the west in hopes of finding the southwest slope. My two colleagues, who chose not to ascend the scree slope, stayed on the trail in Horse Creek Canyon and went a bit farther south, finding that the trail then hooked back around toward Matterhorn Peak ... and to just below the point to which I had down-climbed. We linked up, but the weather began looking sketchy, so we aborted for the day. I'm still wondering what I would have found had I gone up the moraine. Any clarification would be appreciated.
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby SeanReedy » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:19 am

Ambret, I was a bit confused myself about exactly what
I had seen on my off-trail wanderings. Then I looked at a variety of trip reports and pictures after my hike to put names to what I had seen. You were still at least a half mile and a ridge over from the normal approach to the East Couloir. I suspect heading up from that tarn would entail class 5 climbing. I also suspect few people see the spot we saw.
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby Ambret » Fri Aug 31, 2012 1:51 pm

Thanks, SeanReedy. I figured I was off course, especially later, when I went through the 200+ Matterhorn images and couldn't find anything that looked like that tarn. Glad I didn't continue up the moraine.
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Re: Horse Creek Pass / Matterhorn Peak Conditions

Postby WillyTheDog » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:47 am

sorry kinda late response but i was out of the country for a bit...

The east couloir was a pain to say the least, it was really loose all the way from the end of the glacier to the top of the of it.

To get to the couloir you only have to go through a small bit of the snow so nothing really to worry about and the couloir itself wasnt anything dangerous; more of a pain in the ass than anything. 

The west couloir still had plenty of snow, definitely would want crampons / axe for that one last i saw.
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