Peak Climbed: McHenrys Peak

Peak Height: 13.327'

Route: McHenrys Notch Couloir

Difficulty: 5.4

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Trailhead: Glacier Gorge

Mileage & Gain: 12 mi & 4,200 ft RT

Date Climbed: June 11, 2022

McHenrys Peak is probably my favorite 13er in Rocky Mountain National Park. I have climbed it five times to date including one prior ascent via McHenrys Notch Couloir. This couloir stands out in my mind as one of the more aesthetic moderate snow climbs Colorado has to offer. It is guarded by a lengthy, nontrivial approach that will ensure its continued obscurity. You can't see it until you arrive at the very head of the Shelf Lake basin. The walls are tall, steep and beautiful. Combining this with a descent of McHenrys standard route down to Black Lake is a spectacular little tour in the Park.

The couloir ends in the notch between McHenrys Peak and Mount Powell. The climb to McHenrys from here is straightforward and begins with a few hundred feet of low 5th terrain. I have climbed this in rocks shoes, trailrunners and mountaineering boots and a rope never seems necessary. Christopher wore his crampons on this occasion.

The descent via Stoneman Pass was the crux of the day, as I had feared. The snow had a thin wet layer on top that was sloughing. It was fairly early but there had not been a decent freeze overnight. I was freaked; I hate descending steep snow to begn with. Skier Christopher was not and led the way.

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