McGown Peak

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
Idaho, United States, North America
Elevation:
9860 ft / 3005 m
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McGown Peak
Created On: Jan 8, 2002
Last Edited On: Apr 1, 2014

McGown Peak

McGown Peak, although not quite 10,000 ft high, is one of the more famous and easily accessible mountains. It provides the beautiful backdrop to Stanley Lake.

The easiest route is class 3, with several snow climbs and technical ascents available.

The climbing season is typically May through October, with the May/June months seeing snow climbing and ski descents.

Getting There

Drive 4.5 miles west of Stanley, ID on highway 21. Turn west (left) onto Stanley Lake Rd. and drive 4 miles on paved road FS 455. The trailhead is near the Inlet Campground.

The Route

From the trailhead, hike about a 1 mile south on an excellent trail to the junction with the Alpine Way trail, which you will turn east onto. Follow this trail for about 2.5 miles to a saddle due east of the peak. From here, we followed the ridge west until we dropped into the east cirque described in Tom Lopez's book. We basically followed the cirque to the base of the east rib as described in the book. Once we got to the base of the summit block, we traversed northerly about 50 feet under the summit until we could see the register on top, then made our way to the top. One word of advice is to stick to the rib on descent. We tried descending just to the left of the rib (just north of it) and had some pretty hard class 3/4 stuff to contend with, instead of what surely would have been a fun slide on scree on the other side of the rib.

Fees and Permits

No fees are permits are required anymore.

Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA)

Sawtooth National Recreation Area preserves 765,000 acres of picturesque mountains and valleys in central Idaho. At the heart of the area is the Sawtooth Valley where Salmon River originates (just to the north of Galena Pass 8,701 ft on Route 75). The valley is broad and ranges in elevation from 6,000 ft at its northern end (near the town of Stanley) to 7,500 ft at the southern end (near Galena Pass). The mountains are very jagged and are snowbound most of the year. They include the White Cloud Range to the east of the valley and the Sawtooth Range to the west. The area contains more than 300 mountain lakes and 40 peaks higher than 10,000 ft (highest point Castle Peak 11,820 ft). Grasses carpet the Sawtooth Valley and lodgepole pines cover the mountains. A 217,000 acre area in the Sawtooth Mountains has been designated as a wilderness.

Camping

There is an online, reservable campground near the trailhead, here is the link to that:
http://www.reserveusa.com/nrrs/id/stnl/

Campground is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Current Conditions

You can view current conditions in the general area by visiting this web cam:
http://sawtoothcamera.com/

You can also ask on this web forum:
http://www.network54.com/Forum/105717

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-4 of 4

tommyluke

tommyluke - Jul 16, 2012 11:32 am - Voted 9/10

Webcam link

Is out of date, try this one:
http://www.sawtoothcamera.com/

tommyluke

tommyluke - Jun 16, 2013 2:35 pm - Voted 9/10

No Parking Fee

Parking Fees are no longer in effect.

Idaho Wanderer

Idaho Wanderer - Jun 29, 2014 8:06 pm - Hasn't voted

Lost Trail

I tried following the route above, but once Alpine Way Trail reached Stanley Lake Creek, I completely lost the trail, with no way to cross. I did eventually find a (unsafe) way to cross, but it was nowhere near any trail. The area near the creek is too overgrown for enjoyable bushwacking. I recommend staying on Stanley Lake Creek Trail past Lady Face Falls, and on up to the west of McGown Peak before breaking off for the ascent. Note: this route will require at least one stream crossing, though the water isn't deep here, so bring sandals.

georgerinNH - Sep 24, 2018 8:58 am - Hasn't voted

Sept. 2018 Trip Report

Followed standard route from Stanley Lake Inlet to Alpine Way Trail. Alpine Way Trail was easy to follow. Two stream crossings which didn't require me to get my feet wet, but likely would be more challenging earlier in the season. As you approach the saddle, look to your right for the climbers trail that is located about 25-50 steps below the saddle. There is a lot of blow down in this area that obscures the climbers trail, but look for an unnatural pile of logs/sticks marking the trail. If you miss it and make it to the top of the saddle, just head straight up the ridge and you'll eventually cross the trail. The climbers trail becomes harder and harder to follow the higher you get, but just keep heading up along the small stream. I went all the way to the main lake at the base of the cirque and then went straight up the scree to gain the ridge, and then traversed just below the ridge to the summit. I recommend a pair of leather gloves for the walk/slide down, as the decomposed granite will chew your hands up if you fall.

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