McHenry's Peak

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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