Peak(s):  Traver Pk  -  13,852 feet
McNamee Pk  -  13,780 feet
Clinton Pk  -  13,857 feet
Wheeler Mtn  -  13,690 feet
Date Posted:  09/14/2018
Date Climbed:   09/13/2018
Author:  glenmiz
 Reverse the Loop  

This is a great loop. Just a short report to fill in a gap and add one option.

WildWanderer in her trip report suggested the Clinton/McNamee/Traver loop in reverse which made sense, especially considering adding Wheeler Mountain to the loop. The main uncertainty was a gap in beta for the ridge between Clinton and Wheeler. Mtnman200 had previously posted a report but didn't have much to say about this part of the ridge.

The first time I tried this, I got blown off the approach to Traver by 50+ mph wind. I did choose to take a left just before Wheeler Lake and climb the headwall and head straight for Traver. This worked pretty well with a mix of grassy slopes and solid rock.

Break from the road at 12,100' - stay right of the black gully

The second try, I made it around the circuit over Traver/McNamee/Clinton and the ridge to the saddle with Wheeler. The terrain definitely gets more challenging after the 13,800 bump between Clinton and Wheeler. Generally, I stayed on the ridgeline but did by-pass the penultimate tower to the left - I'm not sure that was materially easier than climbing it.

Looking back from Wheeler saddle - the penultimate tower that I by-passed is visible

The weather came in at the saddle and I decided to leave Wheeler for later. I came back two days later and hiked the standard Wheeler route to the saddle and finished the "loop". The main thing I'd like to add to previous trip reports is that, once over the 13,800' bump on the way from Clinton to Wheeler, the ridge gets more difficult and time-consuming. From the saddle to Wheeler summit, it's downright challenging and reminded me of the Maroon crux. Lot's of choices and many don't necessarily lead to the finish. Multiple ribs and towers to navigate. Naively, I started out high on the ridge thinking the first tower was the summit - NOT. After finding my way down to the cairned trail, I by-passed several more ribs and climbed a gully only to find three towers. Not knowing which was the summit, I tagged all three; each with some tricky, exposed moves.


  • Montgomery Reservoir TH to Traver: 2 hrs 10 minutes
  • Traver to McNamee: 17 minutes
  • McNamee to Clinton: 18 minutes
  • Clinton to Wheeler saddle: 45 minutes
  • RT saddle/Wheeler Mtn(s)/saddle: 1 hr 10 minutes
  • Saddle to TH: 2 hrs

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2

 Comments or Questions

Makes sense
08/11/2019 10:17
I was just there - even without Wheeler, Clinton-Macnamee-Traver combo works clockwise perhaps better than the €œstandard€ counter-clockwise pattern.

I write this because the ascent up Clinton does not become apparent for some time, with too-steep couloirs to its eastern summit inviting you to turn north prematurely. In contrast, Traver€„˘s dry eastern ridge is obvious and straightforward early on. Once on the summit ridge, views open up and both rock and snow obstacles become discretionary all the way to Clinton.

Had I gone this way, I might have been tempted into adding Wheeler. As it was , I hit Clinton first (snow ascent), expected a storm and raced to get Traver, giving up any opportunity at Wheeler. So....I guess I get to go back!

Thanks for the connecting ridge info.

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