Peak(s):  McHenrys Pk  -  13,327 feet
Date Posted:  08/18/2020
Date Climbed:   08/15/2020
Author:  dbolton
Additional Members:   ronbco
 McHenrys standard route suggestion  

I have two major points I'd like to make about the standard hiking route up McHenrys, based on a successful climb with my dad in mid-August:

  1. To reach the ridge from the shelf above Black Lake, I recommend aiming directly for the south side of the Stone Man (the rock itself, NOT the pass!) and then traversing northwest over to Stone Man Pass on top of (or slightly to the west of) the ridge. See below for details.
  2. I want to clarify the standard hiking line from Stone Man Pass to the summit by showing a picture with a line on it. Again, see below for details.

On the way up, we took the route we had read about: a gully leading to Stone Man Pass (which is northwest of the Stone Man rock). There were two patches of steep snow in this gully, one below and one above. We avoided both. We took class 3 ledges to the climbers left of the lower patch and then crossed to the climbers right to ascend loose scree beside the upper patch.

Image #1

Again, as I mentioned in point #1, I'm going to recommend a different route to get to Stone Man Pass. The route I recommend is what we took on our descent. Here is my route description, starting from approx 11100, when finish your climb out of Black Lake's bowl. First, hike west-southwest across the glacial shelf until you are past (but still below) Frozen Lake but have not yet reached the point where Image #1 was taken. Next, turn straight toward Stone Man rock and ascend class 2 ledges all the way to the ridge, hitting the ridge just to the climbers left of Stone Man rock. Image #2 was taken near the top of this climb.

Image #2. When I say "rough", I don't mean "difficult", but rather that I do not recall the more fine details of the line.

We found this route up to Stone Man Pass to be easier, safer, and more enjoyable (at least in summer conditions) than the standard gully. Having now taken both routes, I can't imagine a reason for taking the gully that leads directly to Stone Man Pass.

On to main point #2. Here, I want to describe the standard route from Stone Man Pass to the summit of McHenry's. Unlike my point #1, I am not recommending a non-standard route for this portion of the climb. Instead, I hope to clarify the line, because we messed it up on our ascent. What follows is the standard route.

Image #3. When I say "rough", I don't mean "difficult", but rather that I do not recall the more fine details of the line.
Image #4. Taken from approximately the point when the route turns left in Image #3. When I say "rough", I don't mean "difficult", but rather that I do not recall the more fine details of the line.

Locate the major rib shown in Image #3. Near the top of this rib is a huge pinnacle/block that appears to be vertical slabs of rock glued together (see the top of Image #4 for a closer view). Aim straight for this pinnacle, but before reaching it, traverse climbers left to the "keyhole" that is shown in Image #4. Cross over the rib at this keyhole and then climb the gully on the far side of the rib to the summit. There were some carins along the route, but nothing to worry about if you don't find them. At typical hiking pace, it is less than an hour from the pass to the summit.

The standard route as described above has no class 4 climbing, is less exposed than Longs, and is very enjoyable. A must climb!

In case it's helpful, here is the mistake we made on the ascent from the pass to the summit: We planned to follow the standard route: up the first gully, cross a rib, and up the second gully to the summit. We thought the rib we needed to cross was the one in the background of Image #3 and thus proceeded to the bottom of the rib indicated in Image #3, thinking the gully behind it was the first gully (it's not!). The gully behind the rib indicated in Image #3 (which is actually the second gully) was filled with snow in the bottom (as can be seen in the image) and our initial attempts to climb the rock on the climbers right in this gully quickly became class 4/5. We realized our mistake and traversed the rib, moving to the climbers right until rejoining the standard route near the keyhole. It was fun climbing with several class 4 sections, but unnecessary, as the line I've shown in Image #3 is solid class 3.

I isolated the key part of the route from my .gpx file for the day. What I've uploaded came from our descent, and it is my recommendation for the easiest route to McHenry's summit. Note that while editing the file, I reversed the direction so that it can be followed for an ascent.

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

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4

 Comments or Questions

Nice details
08/19/2020 12:05
I have been eyeing this one for a while, and these pictures should prove helpful. Thank you.

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2021®, 14ers Inc.