Intending to camp at about 12k below Argentine Pass and hike Edwards and then either Argentine or McClellan, we made a misdirection and ended up in the basin below Santiago Mine. Note the road from Waldorf to this point was very steep and should be reserved for those with a jeep and experience (neither of which I had...but we survived...obviously).
Anyway...we had a great soft camp spot in the grassy basin. The mine is really cool, and for some mysterious reason someone is doing some restoration of it; e.g. new roof sheeting!
In the early morning, with limited time for hiking, we weighed the options of crossing the basin toward the north to get to the NE shoulder (the way I had seen documented), or take a more "direct" route up the SE shoulder taking us straight toward the summit and thus more time to get over to Edwards.
Explorer at 12k, below Santiago, SE shoulder of McClellan on left
Of course you know which way we went....it really didn't look very steep. Well of course it was very steep! 1k in 1/2 mile before it lets up with an easy ascent for the remaining 500'. Fortunately the surface is mostly grass, so it is not too dangerous. But make no mistake if you fall and start a roll then you will roll all the way down...the end of your earthly hiking pursuits.
Once on top, the way to Edwards is trivial...perhaps 45 min if I recall correctly.
The views of the rugged side of McClellan and Grey's/Torreys are awesome.
looking back to McClellan showing gnarly NW sideAnd of course, looking back on the SE shoulder of McClellan it is clear how steep it is from this side view. When will I learn not to trust gauging a slope with no background to frame it!
From Edwards we went almost over to the Argentine pass before descending to the road. The wildflowers were great..even in August!
If we had not been meeting some of our party near the pass I think it would have been more enjoyable to descend from Edwards directly east for a shorter return.
We did this trip in 4 hrs, 5.5 miles, about 2k total vert.