Uncompahgre Wilderness

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 38.07891°N / 107.52045°W
Activities Activities: Hiking, Trad Climbing, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 14309 ft / 4361 m
Sign the Climber's Log


     Precipice Peak (middle) and Dunsinane (left)

     Spanning a large area northwest of Lake City and northeast of Ouray, The Uncompahgre Wilderness, formerly named the Big Blue Wilderness, was created in 1980 and expanded in 1993 with the addition of American Flats near Engineer Pass on its southern end. By designating 102,700 acres as wilderness, we are fortunate to have continued preservation of this unique area as well as public access to it. It is home to two very well-known Fourteeners: Uncompahgre Peak, the highest peak in the San Juan Range, and Wetterhorn Peak, a classic scramble by its easiest route. This wilderness boasts 30 ranked peaks (having at least 300' of rise) over 13,000'. The vast treasures one can find in this wilderness are somewhat reserved for the esoteric when comparing to the high traffic one will encounter on these two highest peaks.

NW ridge of Wetterhorn Peak 14,015'

     Routes up the Uncompahgre Wilderness' summits range from gentle grassy slopes to classic rock climbs to precariously loose and exposed scrambles. Many of the peaks are a maze to figure out and sometimes have a only a single viable route. Volcanic tuff formations dominate the scenery in a spectacular display along the West and Middle Fork Drainages, including Precipice Peak, Dunsinane, and Turret Ridge (just north of the wilderness boundary). Often a test-piece for CMC BMS graduation, Coxcomb Peak (YDS 5.3) is perhaps the third most famous peak in the area. A much harder peak by its easiest route, and seeing far fewer ascents, Chimney Rock, requires four pitches on its South Chimney (YDS 5.6). Airy scrambles on questionable rock such as 13,222, "El Punto", and "Heisshorn" are high on the list of culprits for San Juan rock's bad reputation. It is important to be aware of rock fall hazards, keeping reasonable distance between yourself and those above, and wearing a helmet for some of these peaks is not a bad idea.

Scrambling on "Heisshorn"

     Despite the proximity to very popular trailheads, and the very busy Cinnamon and Engineer passes, one is likely to experience solitude when venturing to most summits below 14,000'. Aside from trails, evidence of other visitors is scant. There is some evidence of mining, but this pales in comparison to other nearby areas in the San Juan Range. Nevertheless, the area is getting more attention as more people are engaging in 13er bagging. There are many ways to spend many a weekend bagging these interesting peaks. Many choose to backpack and set up a base camp while any of these peaks can be done as day hikes (often combining several peaks in a day). Car camping is possible at several trailheads in the area (see the Mountains and Rocks Page for trailheads and camping info). A great resource for some of the peaks mentioned above is Colorado Scrambles.

Coxcomb Peak 13,656' from West Fork Trail

Beta Photos for Chimney Rock:
From cruzit's Chimney Rock page:
"Chimney Rock has dangers that make this peak a solid grade III climb. These dangers include extreme rock fall, poor rock quality, and long unprotectable pitches (run-outs). And....all of these factors exist at the same time on almost every pitch. In addition, the approach includes a steep bushwhack through interminable downfall and loose, unprotectable class 4 and 5 which much be negotiated just to reach the base of the tower. Chimney Rock is climbable, but take heart and take care. It is not for the timid or the inexperienced. But for the ones who are looking for a true adventure climbing challenge..." Read on

Alpine Sunflowers near Wetterhorn Peak

Interactive Google Map of Uncompahgre Wilderness Peaks

Peak List

CO RankNameElevationQuadRiseLatitudeLongitudeClass
6Uncompahgre Peak14,309'Uncompahgre Peak4,242'38.0716-107.46212
49Wetterhorn Peak14,015'Wetterhorn Peak1,635'38.0606-107.51073
139Silver Mountain13,714'Uncompahgre Peak1,054'38.1067-107.44962
1591368113,681'Uncompahgre Peak501'38.1204-107.45762
171Coxcomb Peak13,656'Wetterhorn Peak796'38.0801-107.53355.3
175Redcliff13,642'Wetterhorn Peak502'38.0871-107.53312
193Matterhorn Peak13,590'Uncompahgre Peak570'38.0651-107.49602
S"Big Blue Peak"13,467'Uncompahgre Peak287'38.0946-107.4504
311"Heisshorn"13,411'Wetterhorn Peak471'38.0780-107.51173
3381337713,377'Wetterhorn Peak357'38.0717-107.51492
3601334013,340'Uncompahgre Peak745'38.0986-107.49612
4001330013,300'Wetterhorn Peak440'38.0571-107.52232
402"El Punto"13,300'Uncompahgre Peak320'38.0898-107.49933
425Wildhorse Peak13,266'Wetterhorn Peak966'38.0133-107.57752
432Darley Mountain13,260'Handies Peak520'37.9827-107.58812
436Broken Hill13,256'Uncompahgre Peak798'38.0430-107.47182
446"Fortress Peak"13,241'Wetterhorn Peak461'38.0978-107.5302
4601322213,222'Uncompahgre Peak322'38.1058-107.49024
4801320613,206'Wetterhorn Peak306'38.0742-107.52482
4901320113,201'Wetterhorn Peak661'38.0389-107.52502
507Sheep Mountain13,168'Sheep Mountain592'38.1588-107.4659
5161315813,158'Uncompahgre Peak378'38.0542-107.43812
530Precipice Peak13,144'Wetterhorn Peak484'38.1194-107.53512+
559Cow Benchmark13,111'Wetterhorn Peak531'38.0201-107.6211
5641310613,106'Uncompahgre Peak726'38.0711-107.42092
5691310013,100'Sheep Mountain480'38.1459-107.4674
5751309113,091'Uncompahgre Peak591'38.0726-107.38782
593Blackwall Mountain13,073'Wetterhorn Peak453'38.0287-107.56472
6081305113,051'Uncompahgre Peak351'38.1059-107.4298
6291301613,016'Uncompahgre Peak676'38.1244-107.4148
647"U 4"12,986'Wetterhorn Peak486'38.0870-107.5592
6531297512,975'Wetterhorn Peak315'38.0287-107.53672
656"Dragons Back"12,968'Wetterhorn Peak428'38.0188-107.56344
694Dolly Varden Mountain12,932'Handies Peak312'37.9922-107.5428
7051291712,917'Courthouse Mountain617'38.1338-107.5022
S1279812,798'Courthouse Mountain298'38.1442-107.50675.4
824Dunsinane Mountain12,742'Courthouse Mountain602'38.1297-107.5390
8311273912,739'Wetterhorn Peak479'38.0346-107.6220
10461244112,441'Wetterhorn Peak501'38.0543-107.6100
Bighorn Ridge12,396'Wetterhorn Peak216'38.0407-107.5927
Cascade Mountain12,368'Ouray268'38.0377-107.6340
11691225512,255'Lake City475'38.1050-107.3653
1221Courthouse Mountain12,152'Courthouse Mountain1,172'38.1350-107.57392+
12231214812,148'Wetterhorn Peak448'38.0688-107.5669
S1186011,860'Courthouse Mountain280'38.1700-107.5021
1418Chimney Rock11,781'Courthouse Mountain401'38.1463-107.56955.6
14261177311,773'Sheep Mountain473'38.1701-107.4153
17311111011,110'Alpine Plateau370'38.1327-107.3240
S1087510,875'Courthouse Mountain295'38.1900-107.5029
20841039310,393'Alpine Plateau333'38.1519-107.3241
Sneva Mountain9,820'Courthouse Mountain160'38.1299-107.6078

Uncompahgre Peak - 14,309'

Wetterhorn Peak - 14,015'

Silver Mountain - 13,714'

13681 - 13,681’

Coxcomb Peak - 13,656'

Redcliff - 13,642'

Matterhorn Peak - 13,590'

"Big Blue Peak" - 13,467'

"Heisshorn "- 13,411'

13377 - 13,377'

13340 - 13,340'

13300 - 13,300'

"El Punto" - 13,300'

Wildhorse Peak - 13,266'

Darley Mountain - 13,260'

Broken Hill - 13,256'

"Fortress Peak" - 13,241'

13222 - 13,222'

13206 - 13,206'

13201 - 13,201'

13158 - 13,158'

Precipice Peak - 13,144'

Cow Benchmark - 13,111'

13106 - 13,106'

13091 - 13,091'

Blackwall Mountain - 13,073'

13051 - 13,051'

13016 - 13,016'

"U 4" - 12,986'

12975 - 12,975'

"Dragons Back" - 12,968'

Dunsinane Mountain - 12,742'

12739 - 12,739'

12441 - 12,441'

Courthouse Mountain - 12,152'

Chimney Rock - 11,781'

Scenery and Setting

"Fortress Peak" 13,241'

Courthouse Mountain and Chimney Rock

Wildhorse Peak 13,266'

"Dragons Back" 12,968'

Wetterhorn Peak 14,015'

Uncompahgre Peak 14,309'

"Fortress Peak" and Precipice Peak

"El Punto" and 13,340

"Heisshorn" 13,411'

Coxcomb and Redcliff

Blackwall Mountain 13,073'

Chimney Rock Sunset

Unnamed 12,975'

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-1 of 1
Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Sep 2, 2013 12:01 am - Voted 10/10


Wildhorse Peak has a new page now, the original was erased and the link leads to the erased one. The Precipice Peak link does not work either, this peak has a new page as well. And just made a page for Blackwall Mountain. Thanks. P.S. Great page otherwise.

Viewing: 1-1 of 1



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

San Juan RangeAreas & Ranges