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Northwest Ridge
Route

Northwest Ridge

 
Northwest Ridge

Page Type: Route

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 40.24940°N / 105.6414°W

Object Title: Northwest Ridge

Route Type: Mountaineering, Scrambling

Time Required: A long day

Rock Difficulty: Class 3

Route Quality: 
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Page By: brenta

Created/Edited: Aug 31, 2004 / Feb 20, 2006

Object ID: 161994

Hits: 5708 

Page Score: 74.92%  - 5 Votes 

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Approach

From the Glacier Gorge trailhead at approximately 9200 ft, follow the directions for Mills Lake. Continue past Mills and Jewel lakes to reach, in about 5 mi from the trailhead, Black Lake at the foot of the shelf delimiting the upper Glacier Gorge cirque. From there, you need to reach Stone Man Pass. This can be done in two ways. The standard approach is to continue along the trail, which follows the East shore of the lake and then climbs to the top of the aforementioned shelf. From there, cross in the SW direction (some krummholz navigation required) aiming for the ridge that connects Chiefs Head to McHenrys Peak. Climb the very loose scree that leads to the pass that is at the corner formed by the ridge and McHenrys.
The second approach to Stone Man Pass is to climb the slabs that descend from McHenrys Peak to the NW shore of Black Lake. This second approach is shorter but harder; it is not recommended when the slabs are wet. The round-trip distance using the first approach is about 15 miles.

Route Description

From Stone Man Pass one can see the long arc that the NW ridge traces in reaching the summit of Chiefs Head Peak. The ridge is interrupted by a cliff band, cut by four main gullies. The two leftmost end on the North face of Chiefs Head, while the other two lead to the upper part of the ridge. Climb the third gully on loose scree and talus. Alternatively, traverse on a ledge to the fourth gully. In return for a longer, exposed, and slightly harder route, one enjoys spectacular views of Lake Powell. The ledge is easily seen between the third and fourth gullies, but in fact cuts the entire cliff band. To minimize the loss of elevation from Stone Man Pass, one can aim for the nearest end of the ledge and then traverse it to the third gully. From the top of the cliff band, walk along the interminable last half mile of the ridge, which gradually thins until, on the summit, it is only some ten feet wide.

Essential Gear

Standard hiking gear. Crampons and axe likely to be needed early in the season. There is some danger of rock fall on Stone Man Pass and in the gullies: a helmet may be useful.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.

Images

Stone ManThe Cliff Band along the NW RidgeDescending the gully at the...The Ledge that Cuts the Cliff BandChiefs Head and Cliff Band