Working at Redfish lake lodge for the season! Went up on my day off, decided to trail run to it. One of the better peaks that ive done so far! Great views and valleys!
Working at the Redfish Lake Lodge has been the perfect take off point for some sweet backpacking trips. Climbed McGown on my day off from the Stanley Lake trailhead and climbed up the east ridge past all the circs. Absolutely sweet mountain!
North couloir was great, although I wish we'd hit it a little earlier in the day instead of topping out in the early afternoon. The first bit of the approach required sandals, as we were walking through shin-deep water over the trail for about a quarter mile. The crux was keeping your pants rolled up enough to stay dry but low enough to keep the mosquitos from devouring your legs.
As previously mentioned, there is a climber's trail from the pack trail all the way up to Cradle Lake in the cirque. All the deadfall makes it hard to see the junction off the pack trail, but there is a small cairn and if you stick to the south side of the ridge you will come across the trail.
As far as the rib goes, the bottom half is a little tricky, we alternated between the base of the rib on the scree, and climbing the slabs on the rib. However, the top half of the rib was straightforward, climbing directly on the rib following the obvious treeline as seen from the cirque. Scree skied the entire way down well to the south of the rib, took about 20min down to the lake from the summit.
Roundtrip: ~3500' vertical, ~10miles, ~10hrs (6/4)at a leisurely pace.
In order to get climbing before the snow warmed up too much, Chris and I left the Stanley Lake TH at 4am, making crossing the very high Stanley Lake Creek all the more difficult in the dark. From there, we went up the 9115 north couloir. The snow was fairly consolidated, and the climbing was easy, so it only took us 1.5hrs from the base to point 9115.
From 9115, we traversed the ridge to McGown, dropping just enough elevation to wind up at the base of the impressive McGown Couloir. We climbed up the McGown N. Couloir, did a gnarly exposed traverse across some really steep snow once out of the couloir, and scrambled the last few feet to the summit.
To descend, we decided the gully west of the summit looked interesting, and headed down that way. It was steeper than it looked and we wound up front pointing down 1000ft of steep snow(at least as steep as either couloir we climbed!) before the angle mellowed enough to glissade the rest of the way to Stanley Lake Creek. Definitely not the easiest way down, but it's doable if you're feeling adventurous.
east rib was as advertised. Steep with loose gravel in places making for exhausting climbing at times. Despite warnings on here, I still managed to off the north side of the rib on the descent- this went OK but we missed out on a lot of scree skiing. Smoke and haze from the fires by Sun Valley led to less than stellar views so we did not linger on the summit very long. The round trip took about six and half hours.
Smoke in the valley and nearby but clear for us until end of the day. Recommend sticking on the east rib (granite) itself and its right/north edge. The scree adjacent to its left/south is tempting to follow up along its edge where it interfaces with the rib, but the lower edges are crumbly and unstable. We found it best to gain the rib and follow it up along its right side; just climb up and over to its right after the scree gets tougher to manage. Coming down, the open scree slope to the left/south of the rib provides a nice, wide area for a smooth, soft scree ski. The summit only has room for 4 bodies. Also, there is a trail all the way into the cirque from the saddle where it leaves the Alpine trail. The trail is tough to spot from the saddle due to recent tree fall. 8 hour day for our group; 3.5 hours from TH to summit.
My brother and I finally made it back to McGown and reached the tippy-top. We left late on Friday, slept below the cirque, climbed Saturday and returned home. We saw a lone person (while we were making coffee in the cirque) on the top at about 08:30 but never connected with them - although their footprints were helpful. This being our first time up the cairns on the summit block were helpful, thank you.
My brother and I had planned on this peak for months before he visited from Tennessee last month. We made it to about 9,200' before turning back after a rest. My little brother lacks no stamina but - holy cow - he must've been hit by altitude sickness coming from Tennessee just two days prior. He was dizzy, rager head ache, nausious, etc. It was obvious we had hit the wall. We headed back. It was so lovely in the cirque, hadn't seen my brother in 3 years and it was dang fun despite the lack of summit.
Tried the N. Couloir last June, but got to the top and was late, raining, and the traverse across to the summit looked sketchy with all the wet snow. So we just skied down. Finally got to it again on America's Bday this year. Great day on the East rib... seriously screey!
Great day climbing the couloir. Snow was really great with trickiest part being traverse from top of couloir to SE side.
I have always wanted to climb this route. Conditions were perfect with freezing temps for 2 nights in a row. I hit the base of the couloir at 8am. About half way up the couloir, I was hit by a silent rock missile , the size of a grapfruit, that grazed my chin then slamed me in the chest. I was lucky! I mean seriously lucky. Looking back at it, I don't think I could have done anything differently other than climb it in the dark. The climb was fantastic. Perfect weather and nice firm snow. Just glad I made it back.
Got kids aged 9 and 13 to base of summit block. Had to leave them at the top of the ridge because we were running out of time and energy. Lots of mosquitoes made it uncomfortable. Still worth it though. Summit was great.
Hated the scree, but was a fun trip with excellent scenery. I would recommend this hike in the Fall so you can experience all the colors this area has to offer. Stunning.
Nice climb overall. The loose gravel was no fun. I liked the scramble near the top. Looking over the edge from the summit made my stomach drop a bit. Awesome views.
Melissa and I successfully made the summit via the east rib. The route is not as easy as advertised in terms of mileage and effort. Sticking to the east rib is definitely advised for this route. The lower section of the ridge which is more vertical can be bypassed on the left(south) side for the first hundred feet or so by ascending the loose sand and scree.
The stream crossings intimidated me more than the climb! The wind blew hard all night, I thought the tent was going to lift. I belly-crawled to the summit ledge. What a thrill!
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 :)