Mt McGee

5 Jul 1997 - by Don Martin

I solo climbed McGee near Evolution Valley on July 5. I was part of a PCS affiliated private group led by Bob Suzuki. We started at North Lake July 3 and climbed for 11.5 hours over Lamark Col down to Evolution Valley and up to McGee Lakes basin, where I accidentally got separated and camped at the wrong stream confluence, a mile further ahead than the meeting area.

On July 4 I moved camp to McGee Lakes and enjoyed a great view, taking an easy day hike around the McGee basin. The weather was great. There was plenty of snow on the hills and this created a lot of soggy ground that resulted in lots of mosquitos.(See Steve Eckert's email about McGee's mosquitos).

On July 5 I climbed McGee solo. This required ascending a ridge about 700', then descending all the way to the Davis Lakes basin near Goddard. Then I traversed a half mile to the chute and climbed through heavy loose scree about 1,500', before the south facing chute became clogged with snow. The snow was suitable for crampons, so it actually made the climb easier. However, the steep, narrow chute with snow was a riskier climb than if the chute had no snow. (I enjoyed the risk once I was off the mountain.) At the top of the chute I turned east and did an high class 2 traverse to the summit. I retraced my path to the camp.

On July 6th I solo hiked from McGee lakes to North lake trail head, via Evolution Valley. I left camp at 6:30 a.m. and soon found a use trail that led to Evolution Valley floor. Crossing the stream at Evolution Valley at 8 a.m. the mosquitos were so bad that I ran through the 20' wide, 18" deep stream without bothering to remove my boots. Dozens of them landed on my pile jacket-it was like a scene from a horror movie. After crossing the stream I got to a rocky bench with no mosquitos where I clean the water out of my boots, unfortunately I was soon attacked by mosquitos. I used a ten year old bottle of 100% Deet and got instant relief! Later, going eastward down Lamark Col I encountered three foot deep suncups, which slowed my speed. I spent 12.25 hours traveling from McGee Lakes to North Lake.

Despite the pain of mosquitos, the climb, views and weather made the trip worthwhile.

See also Jim Ramaker's Evolution Climborama trip report.

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