The terror basin is still quite snow covered, but the scramble is just rock for the last 200 ish feet. Fun time, and very socially distant.
Climbing the SE side of West Mac was actually pretty wild. Descent down west side was easy. We bivied at the nice spot at the base of the west ridge after a long day starting from the trailhead, climbing up and over Little Mac, East Mac and West Mac.
Decided to go up to Terror Basin with a friend, and thought we'd tag McMillan since we hauled all the way out here. This probably isn't the best place to train a budding mountaineer, but we had a good time practicing snow skills and travel, and we made it up to 7500' along the W. Spine of W. McMillan. He decided that the scramble was too exposed beyond this point, and we turned around. However, the scramble up to the top looks to be in good condition, and there isn't any snow beyond 7500'. We had a great time glissading on the snowfield's more gradual slopes, and the views from camp in the basin are fantastic. Great time in the Pickets, and hopefully we can grab a summit next time.
My friend made an excellent annotated CalTopo map with a GPS track, as the previous one we had found was for snowier conditions, and as such quickly deviated from the established trails after it left the forest, much to our navigational dismay. This new track should work for the warmer months as there is little snow until you hit the notch above Terror basin.
Tried to make it but was following a map that had the wrong notch labeled, so we ended way far from McMillan. Here's a correct map: https://caltopo.com/m/NVVF
Snow was pretty icy in the mornings, crampons were nice.
Beckey mentions a 5.6-5.7 route, but I found that the obvious grassy crack/ledge went at no harder than 5.0 with one very exposed move, and saved a lot of downclimbing and traversing when coming from East McMillan. Part of a long day of Picketing (15h45 car-to-car), also featuring East McMillan Spire, Pyramid, Degenhardt, and Terror. Trip report.
Terror Basin camp stormy but cleared for a quick summit and views.
We approached Terror Basin on the hottest day of the year. John Roper was there to greet us as he returned to camp. The climb was technically easy and the smooth bedrock was greatly appreciated. The view from the summit is breathtaking!
Date +/- 1 week. Very physically grueling climb. Total of just over 10,000 vertical ft gain in 2 days (a bit more than Rainier from Paradise). Trail is very steep, but Mt. Baring climber's trail on the scramble route is steeper!
Descent to Terror Basin camp was steep snow (short 50 degree pitch) rather than scree. Scramble is beautiful and quite straightforward. The position on that ridge is unbelievable. Easily one of the most beautiful places I've seen. Got lucky and had a sea of clouds down below on summit day.
Date is a guess. The "easy" Picket, well worth the brutal elevation gain.
But be warned, this is a gateway drug to an addiction for the Pickets, after seeing all those fangs of rock, you'll come back and go deeper, wanting more and stronger doses, and find yourself willing to pay the pusher any price.
Weather initially iffy, but all came together on summit day.