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Little Matterhorn

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Little Matterhorn Rock Climbing 

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Submitted By: Mitch Musci on Sep 11, 2005


45° | 28°

45° | 24°

37° | 27°
Washington's Birthday

41° | 30°

46° | 28°
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Little Matterhorn from above Odessa Lake.


The Little Matterhorn is the impressive chunk of rock jutting from the far end of the eastern ridge of Knobtop Mountain. Its eastern flanks are strewn with large cliff bands, while its west ridge holds a nice 4th class scramble to the summit. It seems there is much exploring to be done on this peak, with only a couple of established routes to the being the west ridge and another documented in Gillett's High Peaks guide of the Northeast Face Direct (II, 5.7). A large cliff band below the east face harbors some impressive lines as well. If anyone else knows of other routes that have been established on this peak, please feel free to add them.

Getting There 

There are three ways to approach the Little Matterhorn, the first two of which start at Bear Lake.

The first (and shortest mileage) approach begins on the Odessa Lake trail. Hike 3 miles to Lake Helene, then branch off left onto the trail that circles the lake. Approximately 100 yards after crossing Lake Helene's outlet stream, look for an old trail (cairn) heading northwest (right) into Odessa Gorge. Follow many switchbacks down to a long meadow on the valley floor, cross the meadow and bust straight up the hillside, trending right higher up and aiming for the left side of a tree-covered ramp that contours right below Little Matterhorn's summit cliffs. This ramp can be followed all the way to the base of the north face if desired, but there are bouts of heavy petting and bushwacking. Don't go too high initially or you will get cliffed out.

A second approach takes the Odessa Lake trail from Bear Lake approximately 3.5 miles to Odessa Lake. Circle the lake's north shore, then find a faint trail that heads up into Tourmaline Gorge, staying climber's right of the inlet stream. Follow cairns up a small gully and onto a bench that can be easily followed to the base of the north face.

The third approach simply starts at Fern Lake Trailhead. 4.2 miles on trail brings you to Odessa Lake.

Climbing Season

For the RMNP - Rock area.

Weather station 5.3 miles from here

4 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Little Matterhorn

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Little Matterhorn:
Southeast Face   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, Alpine, 2 pitches, 600'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Little Matterhorn

Featured Route For Little Matterhorn
Rock Climbing Photo: The east face of Little Matterhorn.

Heart of Gratitude 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b CO : Alpine Rock : ... : Little Matterhorn
In memory of the late Andrew Barnes, a wonderful friend and a true inspiration to all. Heart of Gratitude climbs the scenic east face of Little Matterhorn in 4 pitches, initially aiming for the base of the huge, right-facing corner 150 feet up, but then skirting right on clean, adventurous face climbing and finishing up the arete on featured rock. Begin at a shallow, right-facing corner that arches up and right near the center of the east face and directly under the huge, right-facing corner a...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Photos of Little Matterhorn Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Little Matterhorn from the pass near Lake Helene. ...
Little Matterhorn from the pass near Lake Helene. ...

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