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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
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Little Matterhorn from the pass near Lake Helene. ...

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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 takes the Odessa Lake Trail for about 3 miles to an unmarked junction just north of Lake Helene. You can't quite see the lake from this junction, but if you start descending into Odessa Gorge, you've gone too far. Turn left at this junction, and follow a well-worn trail past Lake Helene's outlet stream to a faint junction with a small path heading northwest (right) into Odessa Gorge. Follow this old trail down several switchbacks 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 be prepared for bouts of heavy petting and bushhwacking. Don't go too high on the ramp initially or you will get cliffed out.

A second approach takes the Odessa Lake trail approximately 3.5 miles to Odessa Lake. Circle the lake's north shore, and find a faint fisherman's trail that follows the inlet stream up into Tourmaline Gorge, staying on the north (right) side of the stream. Eventually you will cross the stream to its south side and 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

5 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',4],['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: Mitch follows the nice hand crack on pitch 2. Phot...

North Pillar Left 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Colorado : Alpine Rock : ... : Little Matterhorn
Begin in a prominent gully that splits the left side of the north face. Scramble up the gully until it turns to 5th class. Step right on to a grassy ledge with a nice crack for an anchor.Pitch 1: (5.7, 140 feet) zig-zag up the face above, trending slightly to the right. Traverse right under a roof, then head straight up a left facing corner to find another nice belay ledge with a splitter hand crack for an anchor. Pitch 2: (5.7 R, 140 feet) jam the nice hand crack straight off the belay for 40 f...[more]   Browse More Classics in Colorado

Photos of Little Matterhorn Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Little Matterhorn from above Odessa Lake.
Little Matterhorn from above Odessa Lake.

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