[A portion of our MAA climbing team happy on the summit of Matterhorn Peak]
By Doug Harris
After a winter in which Every. Single. Weekend. Seemed to bring another storm I was surprised to see clear skies and no wind in the forecast for our ascent of Matterhorn Peak March 15-17. Our seven-member team met at the end of Twin Lakes Road in Bridgeport at 9am, went over packs, distributed some group gear and made our way to Horse Creek Trail shortly after 10.
God bless skiers and the boot-pack they provide. Right out of the gate the Horse Creek Trails hits you with an 800 vertical foot ascent and the prospect of going up that in unconsolidated snow was not something anyone had been looking forward to. However, the skiers got there before us and we were more than happy to use the steps they had kicked.
[Bret glad that so many skiiers have been to Matterhorn Peak lately]
Temperatures were warm during the day; we snowshoed up to 10,200 feet picked a location for camp, dug out tent sites and set up a cooking spot in a grove of trees. While the day had been borderline hot and Mountain Forecast was calling for nice temps at night as soon as the sun dipped behind the ridgeline it got surprisingly cold. Nathan packed a few extra pounds of gear and was wandering around camp in a full down suit complete with down booties and seemed utterly unperturbed by the cold. While I can’t speak for others I, at least, was jealous.
Of the seven members who camped that night two were feeling ill and opted not to continue, a third volunteered to stay behind and keep an eye on them (thanks Leslie!). Nathan, Aaron, Brett and myself were out of camp by 7:00 the next day, to the top of the east couloir by 10:00 (give or take) and on the summit by 10:30. Blanketed in snow from all those storms the view from the top looking south along the Matterhorn-Whorl ridgeline toward Yosemite was jaw dropping.
[Looking south toward Whorl Mountain and Yosemite NP]
The descent took a little longer than planned when we found the Ski Dreams couloir unusable and had to get back to camp via Horse Creek Pass. Walk back to the trailhead was uneventful and everyone reached their car by 11am the next day. Thanks to all our members for a great trip!