Cloud glacier in Glacier Gorge.
Arrowhead is the name given to a collection of spires in the Spearhead Cirque attached to McHenry's via its northeast ridge, directly above Black Lake. Up until a few years ago not many routes had been put up here, probably due to the long approach and relatively short climbs (most are 4 to 5 pitches in length). Recently, however, the abundance of clean, aesthetic lines compacted into a relatively small area has drawn droves of first-ascentionists looking for virgin rock in an otherwise mostly climbed-out Park. The rock here is quality granite, and if the entire formation were picked up and moved to a place like Lumpy Ridge there would already be 100 named routes on it.
To get there, park or take the shuttle to the Glacier Gorge lot and follow the trail that goes to Black Lake via Mills Lake. Once at the lake, skirt around the right side and scramble up directly underneath the long prominent fracture which leads straight upslope to the base of Arrowhead. Once at the beginning of the fracture, work your way diagonally left up grassy ledges until you're up in the cirque near the base of the rock. From here, you can either head up and left to access routes along the ridge connecting Arrowhead to McHenry's, or scramble up and right for the routes above Black Lake. You can also head up the left side of Black Lake as if you're going to Spearhead, but it's farther and takes more time. For routes on the far right side of Arrowhead, bushwack up and right from Black Lake.
Weather station 7.8 miles from here
21 Total Routes
['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',8],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in Arrowhead
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Arrowhead:
Rain Dance 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine, Grade III
Warhead 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Alpine, 7 pitches, 700'
Arrowplane 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 800'
Airhead 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 600'
Ithaca 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Trad, Alpine, 6 pitches, 800'
Featured Route For Arrowhead
Airhead 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a CO
: Alpine Rock
: ... : Arrowhead
It's hard to believe that Airhead, which climbs the plumb line dihedral and crack system up the center of Arrowhead's south face, isn't an RMNP mega-classic. Not only is the line itself the most obvious directissima on the wall, but the climbing is really good and the crux pitch is one of the gems of the Park. After approaching via any of the methods listed for Arrowhead, begin climbing from the highest of a series of ledges below the obvious, hanging, left-facing dihedral. This feature is se...[more] Browse More Classics in CO
Local Information for Arrowhead
Latest Regional Forum Messages
By L. Hamilton
Nov 5, 2004
Yep, that's McHenrys at left and Arrowhead in the middle. The right-hand "mountain" in Ernie's photo is actually two mountains, I believe -- a low ridge descending from Thatchtop, at far right; and the higher, snow-streaked summit behind it, which is Powell Peak (see Powell Peak and Snark descriptions for photos of the E face of Powell).
By Josh Janes
Aug 29, 2008
The two raps from the low point on the McHenry's-Arrowhead saddle can be done with a single 70m rope (despite the recommendations for having two 60m ropes in the descriptions for Ithaca, Airhead, and Arrowplane) and a little bit of very easy down climbing after the second rappel.
By Greg Sievers
From: Estes Park, CO
Jan 24, 2011
I'm seeking some input before I dare suggest we did an FA up here. Scott Kimball and I climbed a 3 pitch route (8-1-10 up a fairly plumb LFD on the shortest part of the Arrowhead south-facing wall. It's about 200' right of the rap line. It's such an obvious line that it seems hard to believe it wasn't already done. In fact, we thought we heard rumor that maybe Pete Takeda had done something in this area?? See photo for route. Most of the climbing was 5.9 with a few short moves of low-5.10. Community comment is welcome.
By Alex Shainman
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 4, 2011
I second the recommendation that one 70m rope does work well for the "low-point" raps starting under the big visor block, which is marked by a large cairn.
Be advised you will have to downclimb maybe 5.5ish terrain after rap #2.