28 Aug 2000 - by Bill Strand
Three of us climbed McHenry's via the standard walkup route described in
Gerry Roach's RMNP guidebook (Southeast Ridge). This is a spectacular peak
that is seldom visited and has some very exciting scrambling. The route was
surprisingly well cairned and easy to find. We shared the peak with four
others on Saturday August 26th. This is amassing compared to the four
hundred or so who were climbing Long's Peak only a mile or two away. Roach
describes the peak as the hardest peak over 13,000 ft. in RMNP. We felt the
scrambling was more difficult than the Keyhole Route on Longs. For the most
part the rock was solid and enjoyable. We chose to pass Black Lake to the
east (left) and hike up the drainage before circling back to the southwest.
My only tip is to look for a slender cairn about one to two feet tall on the
south side of the stream as the trail begins to flatten out. If you find the
McHenry's trail at this point you are set. This trail leads from the Black
Lake drainage to the rubble filled gully that leads to Stone Man Pass. Climb
the gully instead of trying to climb directly to the Stone Man. The last 100
to 200 feet of the gully is filled with loose scree which can be somewhat
avoided by staying to the extreme south (right) side of the gully and using
the rock wall for hand holds. The gully does not exceed Class 2. Reports
from the party of four indicated that climbing directly below the Stone Man
required Class 3 moves. If you want a wilderness experience in the heart of
the tourist filled park this is a peak will do it. Enjoy.
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