With the dog from the lake on the east side after hiking in the evening before. Ran into two people on the trail in. But nobody once we were off trail. Beautiful view from the summit - can see all the way to the Rakers.
This mountain is photographed a lot but not climbed that much. Almost all summits are done via the east rib, however we decided to try the amazing looking north face snow couloir on the main summit block - the beautiful white line that splits the mountain in all the pics taken from stanley lake. My friend Matt came along. This would be his first steep snow climb - what an introduction to idaho mountaineering!
We left the stanley lake trailhead at 6:00. Once we headed off the alpine way trail, it was rough bushwacking up until we read the base of the north west tower. From there we traversed around and up into the lower basin below the scree/talus field. We reached this point around 8:30. From here it was a very steep slog up the scree/frozen gravel to the based of the snowfield. Here we geared up and started up the snow. The snow was in great condition for this time of year. Still somewhat hard on the surface in most places. This gully gets steeper and steeper as you get to the top. The top 25 ft is on the verge of rotting out - made for a very precarious climb up a neck of snow and a stemming move on the rock to get to the top of the couloir. I went up first. Matt wanted to rope up so we did. He did fine though. Once you are at the top of the couloir, the hard part is over. We reach this point about 11:30. We had ropes, and gear but didn't use them at all on the climb except for the small section at the top. From here, its an easy traverse north and then south around the summit tower to finish up on the 100 ft as the east rib route on class 3 rock. Summitted just before noon.
We came down the east ridge (which in my opinion sucks - gravel on top of rock - yuck - I would take the steep snow any day). We then tried to follow the ridge described in this route but could never find the alpine way trail up high where one normally cuts off to hit the east rib route. We ended up dropping down a gully and bushwacking down and north until we finally intersected the alpine way trail way down low in the valley. We were back at the trailhead parking lot just past 3. Beware - it is very easy to get cliffed out in this area We did a few times and had to backtrack a little.
I remember only a couple of challenging moves on this climb to the summit. A must climb for anyone who is a fan of the Sawtooths. Look for my haiku in the summit register. LOL :)
Fun scramble up through a spectacular gulley just SE of summit. There's a spectacular vertical block that sticks up on the ridge nearby. It's clearly visible from ID-75 just north of the Redfisfh Lake turn-off. There could be rock climbing potential on this nearby gendarme.
My brother and I climbed up the east rib, saw a mountain goat on the way. The weather was great and the views were gorgeous.
I have wanted to climb McGown Peak ever since my first trip to the Sawtooth Mountains. The approach went past many lakes and a large waterfall and was very beautiful. The last climb up the east rib was the hardest part. It involved climbing up a steep ridge full of loose pebble sized scree. We had a sunny day with blue sky and an amazing view from the top. It was a great climb.
Nice climb! For more details and pictures, click here.