|Peak:||McHenrys Peak (13er)|
|Date of Info:||10/10/2015|
12.7 miles +/-
4300 feet +/-
I posted this to my previous report on Pagoda and Mt. Alice with pictures , also at LOJ where I attached a gpx if anyone wants it or pm me. Thanks.
My last Front Range 13er.
Glacier Gorge trailhead with shortcuts. Take the second left turn off Glacier Gorge to Mills Lake. After the second small bridge go a short diatance to a slab rock that is on the left side of the main trail. Take the shortcut leaves the main trail to Alberta Falls. It s a good trail and even easy to follow in the dark. This cuts off a good portion of the main trail and misses all the people. The shortcut returns to the main trail just east of the Haiyaha/Loch Mills trail junction. Turn to your right and go just a few tenths of a mile to a fork in the trails. Go left to Mills Lake, Jewell Lake and then on to Black Lake. Pass the one and only permitted camp spot on your way to Black Lake.
The second shortcut is just before Black Lake where you take a faint trail around the south and east side of the lake. You have a choice here. Once you get to the east side of the lake you can take the faint trail directly towards Arrowhead. The first part of the trail is over rocks and not necessarily easy to find. Here is a Lat/Long N40.26629° W105.64320° at 10700 feet. The gpx attached to this report will help. That is the way I returned from McHenrys Peak. It is not the way I went up. If you go this way you avoid the grass ledge I mention below and avoid the exposure. There is some Class 3/4 rock to get up above the grass slopes depending on your route finding. Once above that get above the steep slabs and head directly for Stone Man Pass.
I took the prominent ledge to the south/southwest. I believe the gpx shows the direction although my GPS unit did not like the big rock wall on my right side while ascending. The wide ledge goes well up to the deep gash in the major headwall above Black lake. The wide ledge narrows down to a one foot to two foot wide grass ledge with some real exposure on your left as you head upwards. This is the crux of the climb, the route finding on McHenry above Stne Man notwithstanding. It is only about 50-60 feet in length and there are holds in the rock wall that goes straight up on your right. The drop on the left is mostly vertical, down several hundred feet anyway, to the water falls and rock below.
Once you get past that choke point it widens back out and then you gain the area above the major headwall. Go up the drainage to some cairns and find a nice series of ledges to climb out of the ravine. It is not far to that point once you crest.
After that it is a traverse across rock, slabs and grass to the bottom of Stone Man Pass. I held more to the McHenrys side of the slope up to the pass for better footing.
The first look at McHenrys once you are at the top of the pass is a bit worrisome as it looks so broken and you don't see a trail. There is a cairn almost immediately right of the pass. Follow that cairn to the next and the next. If you stay with the cairns there is a good route and there is a trail for a good portion of the way up to here N40.26201° W105.65681° at 13100 feet.
The kicker is this, the cairns take you to the first gully and there are several that are down below that gully that go west. The first gully looks to be Class 4 stuff and if you want to do that head on up. If you want to keep it to easy Class 3 go straight to the second gully here N40.26223° W105.65746° at 13000 feet. You do have to lose some elevation but the way down is on a nice wide grassy ledge, no exposure.
Once to the bottom of the second gully take a right up a few easy ledges to the gully. The gully is partially grass and partially good rock. Take the gully up to the ridge southeast of the peak and then it is Class 2 to the top.
A few other pics on McHenrys and of Longs, Chiefs Head, Arrowhead, the gash, Black Lake, walking the plank and the changing ptarmigan.
Photos (click for slideshow):