Peak(s):  Clinton Pk  -  13,857 feet
McNamee Pk  -  13,780 feet
Traver Pk  -  13,852 feet
Date Posted:  03/12/2016
Modified:  02/06/2021
Date Climbed:   03/11/2016
Author:  BillMiddlebrook
 Clinton-McNamee-Traver ski day   

Winter peak-bagging, with skis!

Date: Friday, 3/11/2016
Trailhead: Mongomery Reservoir
Elevation Gain: 3,300'
RT Distance: ~12 miles
RT Time: ~8 hours (thanks to a 3,200-foot ski descent)

Another weekday where I couldn't find a partner so I decided to take advantage of the calm, sunny forecast and finally get these three, easy peaks in calendar winter. Avalanche ratings are still at green but I knew the south slopes of Clinton and McNamee would be heavily-loaded so I didn't expect to get more than a ridge ski on the first two peaks. My main goal was to ski the southeast slopes of Traver Peak. It's a large, mellow slope which would provide an excellent end to a tour of the area.

Red=skin, Blue=boot, Yellow=ski

Approach to Wheeler Lake

If you've ever been up the Platte Gulch road on a summer weekend, you know how busy it can be; Jeeps, ATVs, UTVs and hikers galore. Well, not today! In 12 miles round-trip, I didn't see another person or even fresh tracks beyond the lower road. It wasn't until I returned to the reservoir that I could hear some ice climbers talking up on the Lincoln Ice Falls.

So, at 5:15am I was on my way up the road. After 2 miles of skinning, the sun finally started to come up.

Skinning into Platte Gulch.

Morning light. Traver is on left and McNamee center.

A beautiful morning.

Once I reached the point where the road turns up to Wheeler Lake, the day was in full swing. Before heading up to the lake, here's the view of Mt. Democrat:
Looking southwest to Mt. Democrat before turning north up toward Wheeler Lake.

At 7:30, I was at Wheeler Lake.
Complete silence.
Wheeler Lake and Wheeler Mountain (center).

To Clinton Peak

I passed along the west shore of the lake and located a slope where I could safely skin to the upper basin. In the following pic, you can see my skin track where I can up from the lake.
Looking back at North Star Mtn and the lake after ascending west.

Another look back at North Star Mtn

In the high basin, heading west toward Traver Peak. Somehow, someone got a snowmobile up here a few weeks back.

Traver (left) and McNamee (the small point just right of center).

Near 13,300', I finally reached the bowl below the three peaks.
Skinning northwest with the McNamee-Clinton connecting ridge in full view.

I turned right and continued north to see that there was a safe line to skin up the right side of Clinton's south slope. I continued up semi-steep terrain to reach 13,600' before finishing with a short boot to reach the ridge, just east of Clinton's summit.
Near 13,300', I turned N/NE and began my ascent of Clinton's south slope.

Above 13,600'.

As soon as I arrived at Clinton's summit... The dull roar of trucks and machinery running down in the Climax Mine
On the summit of Clinton, looking over the Climax mine "Glory Hole." ;)

This hole deserves a closer look!

To McNamee

Clinton was the only one of these three that I had skied in the past so I wasn't even going to consider a line down the loaded slope between Clinton and McNamee. Instead, I did a boring ridge ski over to McNamee. Boring but not without risk - it involved quick turns to keep from getting too close to the long cornice. Once I was close to McNamee, I shouldered the skis and booted to the summit.
The ridge to McNamee.

Skiing along the ridge. Sad.

Approaching McNamee's summit.

Looking back at the traverse from Clinton.

On the summit of McNamee, looking SE to Traver.

To Traver

Albeit short, the ski down to the McNamee-Traver saddle was fun. The snow was firm with some sections of blown-in powder.
Looking back at McNamee after skiing the south ridge.

Next up, the boot up Traver.

The climb of Traver is the crux of the route because of rocky terrain near the summit. I put the skis on my pack and made quick work of the ridge until I hit the rock section. I went around to the left and fought bottomless snow (between the rocks) to reach the summit.
This stuff is "fun" in ski boots.

On Traver's summit, looking north to Clinton Peak.

The views of the Lincoln 14er group are pretty sweet.
The view of Mts Lincoln, Cameron and Democrat.

The Prize

Finally, some solid skiing was ahead. I took a few steps down from the summit, put on the skis and scoped out a line on Traver's southeast slopes. There was plenty of snow but a few areas were clearly loaded and need to be avoided. I skied about 200 feet down along the left side of the ridge before cutting left into the slope and letting them ride.

The following photo was taken from Mt. Democrat in 2015 and shows the approximate line of my ski descent off of Traver.
The line off of Traver.

Starting the ski down Traver's SE slope.

Not bad!


I skied down to 12,700', in a hanging basin between Traver and Mt. Democrat, before skiing northeast->east down a drainage which dumped me into upper Platte Gulch, near 11,900'.
The ski out was a lot of fun and continuous.

Exiting a high basin to regain Platte Gulch.

Back to upper Platte Gulch.

Before reaching the center of Platte Gulch, skied northeast along the left (west) side to return to my approach line.
Skiing back out of lower Platte Gulch.

Almost back at the trailhead, on the road around the reservoir.
Montgomery Reservoir and the start of the hike.

And here's a link to the route description for this hike, in summer:
Clinton+McNamee+Traver Combo

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

Comments or Questions
03/12/2016 15:39
Very Nice Trip Report! Great photographs too. Love the ridge line shots. Thanks for putting this together. Fantastic work with the multi-summit endeavor. Making it look easy out there sir. Cruise Control

Nice route
03/13/2016 16:48
Went up for traver today. Your maps really help. Speaking of maybe you can give advice on how to upload google maps and distinguish skin from ski. I'll post in the forum.

03/13/2016 17:33
for the Beta. Its rough out there this year. That El Nino guy is full of shit.

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