ApproachThis route starts at the campground at Fourmile Lake. Take the directions to the regular McLoughlin Trailhead, but keep going to the end of the gravel road at Fourmile Lake. The campground is to the left when you get to the lake and it's well marked. Go to the end of the campground and find a place to park at the end of the campground near the restrooms. The Badger Lake Trail passes this spot and is easy to find. Jump on the trail and head west.
Route DescriptionThe route follows the Badger Lake Trail a short ways, no more than 1 mile and then head directly west crosscountry towards Mt. McLoughlin. The crosscountry travel is easy because the brush is scattered and the trees are not close together. Pay attention and you will cross over the PCT not too far up the mountain. Head to the obvious bowl on the northeast side of Mt. McLoughlin. As Mt. McLoughlin comes into view, you will see an obvious ridge on your right or the north with some large gendarmes up above tree line.
We tried to stay on top of the ridge at first but soon descended to the right or north side of the ridge to bypass the first gendarme. This was probably a mistake because we then had to climb back up to the ridge and climbed down to the scree on the left or east side of the ridge to bypass the second gendarme. The route from here is to stay as high on the scree as you feel safe and continue to make your way up the ridge to the summit. The gendarmes were too steep and loose for us to climb.
We took the Mt Mcloughlin trail down to the PCT and then followed the PCT for a few miles until we were close to Fourmile Lake before heading crosscountry to Fourmile Lake.