Peak(s):  McHenrys Pk  -  13,327 feet
Date Posted:  03/27/2012
Date Climbed:   03/24/2012
Author:  Winter8000m
 Addicted to the Game  

The mountains are calling....I must go.



Some of my best moments in climbing have been out by myself. You only are responsible for yourself and not for anyone else. Ever since I started climbing, going solo in whatever way has been a part of me, if you should say. Staying away from the crowds and pushing myself as a climber. I kind of need it every once in a while. I like to challenge myself and I learn more about myself then anything else in these experiences. I hate following society's way so maybe that's why I'm a rebel against society, maybe that's why climbing fits me.
Attempting winter ascent of a route on Longs

My obsession with climbing never goes away. Whenever I'm not climbing, all I can do or research is other mountains or routes around the world. Sometimes I wonder deeply where it's taking me and sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me. It's not normal but it's better then doing drugs. All I know is that deep in my heart, it's what I was made for.
Route follows center ice to McHenry's Peak in the back

I had been wanting to do the Grade V link up of the ice route West Gully above Black lake in RMNP to the Right Gully on McHenry's Peak. I thought it would be a challenging day out by myself with lots of scrappy climbing along with some ice. I packed the rope and gear to rope solo the crux M5ish pitch on Right Gully and planned to third class all the ice and more moderate mixed terrain above. Sleeping is hard before a big climb. The whole day was playing out in my head, pitch by pitch. But soon....

"BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP," the alarm rang right in my ear at 2 A.M.

'Oh shut up! I could just stay in bed and sleep in," I mutter as if the alarm clock hears me.

I get on my clothes and head out with my pack, hoping that the only money I have will give me enough gas for there and back.
West Gully

I arrive at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead with not one car around and start on the trail around 4:30 A.M. The breeze makes the tree's sway making a creaking sound. I continue on arriving at Mills Lake. I walked around the Lake fearing breaking through the ice with all these warm temperatures. The trail then took me straight over Jewels Lake. Then navigation past all the dead fall had to be made before I arrived at Black Lake at sunrise.

This is why I do this! A beautiful glow cast in the sky. I started walking straight across Black Lake which was pretty frozen, so I thought. Cracking sounds started to be made. I rushed to the side and got off the lake.

Come on Noah, be smart, don't do anything dumb.

I got to the base of West Gully and pondered.

This looks really wet. Maybe I should just head back to the trailhead.

It's the fear that always bubbles up inside my head. I push it away. I come in contact with my senses constantly knowing which senses I should listen to and which ones I need to ignore.
Endless ice slabs


McHenry's Peak with intended line up the right side of face

I flake out the tag line rope I brought as it's better tagging it then carrying it and up I go. It was a shower and then some. On the crux, some stemming between the rock and ice was made until I was presented with the top two pitches, WI2+ slabs that went on forever pumping your calves out. Good exposure. I was sure I was the last ascent of the season. All this warm weather is melting all this ice and all the mixed climbing is rock climbing right now. Sad day.

After topping out, I realized some recent slides had come down McHenry's. It was just too hot already for conditions to be safe. Since Right Gully includes a lot of snow climbing as well, I opted for Stone mans pass. I continued on Class 4 and low 5th class ridge to the summit.
Looking down at some of the scrambling near the summit



I laid down in the sun thinking about life. What a great experience. No one anywhere near me. I had been wanting this peak for a while. I soon descended along with a rappel and steep snow down climbing to get off West Gully. Soon I was approached with many on the trail. I got back to the car after around 9 or 10 hours. I usually want to kill myself walking back to the car, after a day in the park. This time I felt good the whole way with no problems.
Amazing view


Sometimes the mountains call and you must go. So what are you waiting for?



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions

Absolutely amazing
03/27/2012 21:55
I love how McHenry Pk looks and this is sort of climbing I am not able to do. Great job.


Not miserable. :D
03/28/2012 05:19
There's a smile for ya from the same spot


You da man!
03/28/2012 14:27
It was a pleasure Cappin it with you this winter. We should get out again

Brian C

Another SP front page in the making?
03/28/2012 14:37
Hmmmm??? You're still on a roll aren't you?

Is it the weekend yet...???


03/28/2012 16:07
Keep it up man and you will accomplish some big things in the mountains.


yeah Buddy!
03/28/2012 17:30
How did the East face routes look?


Thanks for adding that ...
03/28/2012 22:19
We know your routes are serious, but I'm with Fletch ... let's see more smile shots! I know you're lovin' what you're doin'. 8) Thanks for posting. Happy trails!


Thanks for the comments!
03/28/2012 23:16
Brian, probably not this TR. It takes a lot of time posting on both sites and my site! I'll wait till another memorable trip, though I'm not saying this one isn't.

John, I actually wasn't as impressed with the East face up close as I was far away. It was hot! Some slide debris at the base of the routes as well. It's just not mixed up there right now, more rock climbing....all the rock is super dry. I would want to be off the routes by 11 a.m. and with a bit of roped climbing and long approach would be hard....but if you hit a cloudy day, it would be good.

Presto, I'll see what I can do about that

Abe, let's do it.


East Face
03/30/2012 15:03
WOW! thats crazy! maybe next year it will look better. It's just been so dam hot up there!
Nice work buddy, Soloing WI4!?


03/30/2012 15:15
I dig your writing style here. Looks like a long and tough-ish day.

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