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McHenry's Peak
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Big Mac Couloir 
McHenry's Notch Couloir 
Right Gully T 
Snow Bench (McHenry's Peak) 
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Big Mac Couloir 

WI4- M4-

   
Type:  Mixed, Ice, Alpine, 11 pitches, 1200', Grade IV
Consensus: WI4- M4- [details]
FA: Joe Hladick and Scott Kimball, 1979
Season: Winter
Page Views: 7,143
Submitted By: Chris Sheridan on Jan 30, 2007

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Gil following pitch 4.

Description 

This route climbs a prominent couloir system on the northeast face of McHenry's Peak. If you're lucky enough to catch the face in good conditions, the climbing is reportedly somewhat moderate at M4-. However, conditions I've encountered have been a grade or so harder. The climbing tends to be more of a mixed snow and rock route without much ice. The somewhat remote location, length, and proximity to other routes (for enchaining) make this route an excellent venue for some adventure climbing.

One obvious enchainment option is to climb the West Gully of Black Lake followed by this route, or another on the same face. Another less obvious option would be to climb the Hourglass Couloir on Arrowhead. The easterly descent of which would put you right at the base of this face.

Catching this route in perfect conditions may be tough. Both times I've been on the face, late January and early March have yielded tough conditions. However, the route is still very enjoyable when the cards aren't all in your favor.

Location 

Start at the base of short slab which forms a weakness in the initial rock band on the north east face.

Protection 

An alpine rock rack with a few screws, pins, and two specters, the latter being key for the many frozen turf sections.


Photos of Big Mac Couloir Slideshow Add Photo
Eric Harvey polishing his skills, and dulling his ...
Eric Harvey polishing his skills, and dulling his ...
Eric Harvey leading the first pitch after Big Mac ...
Eric Harvey leading the first pitch after Big Mac ...
Chris Sheridan happy to get a good stick in frozen...
Chris Sheridan happy to get a good stick in frozen...
Chris Sheridan negotiating the second overhang of ...
Chris Sheridan negotiating the second overhang of ...
Eric Harvey en route to the Big Mac Couloir on 1/2...
Eric Harvey en route to the Big Mac Couloir on 1/2...
Typical mixed rock and grass/moss climbing in the ...
Typical mixed rock and grass/moss climbing in the ...
This photo, taken from the Black Lake - West Gully...
BETA PHOTO: This photo, taken from the Black Lake - West Gully...
Leading pitch 5 through the rock band. This pitch ...
Leading pitch 5 through the rock band. This pitch ...
25MAY08 Conditions showing ice of Big Mac and rout...
BETA PHOTO: 25MAY08 Conditions showing ice of Big Mac and rout...
Bailing w/ pride from the P1 variation to Snow Ben...
Bailing w/ pride from the P1 variation to Snow Ben...
On the approach after soloing West Gully.
On the approach after soloing West Gully.

Comments on Big Mac Couloir Add Comment
Show which comments
By Caelan
From: Dysfunctional, CO
Nov 10, 2007

B. Gillett and C. Burns both call these routes Grade III, but I respectfully disagree. If the Casual Route on The Diamond is Grade IV, and AMU and the NE Face of Notchtop are Grade III, then these routes seem like they should be Grade IV. Mind you, that's Winter routes vs. a Summer route (e.g. apples vs. oranges), but seriously, the McHenry's/Arrowhead Cirque is both Gi-normous and very far away. Expect a ~16 hr day (which can be difficult in the Winter months) or break it up into 2 days.
By Ross
From: Pinewood Springs
May 26, 2008

Around 2005 time frame we encounter the upper part of the 4th pitch as a detached wall of ice debris, very scary.

If the second pitch has no ice then crossing the large snow band is 80-90m with no rock pro.
By Gil Weiss
Apr 10, 2009

Beta, photos, trip report, and video pullharder.org/2009/03/25/the-...
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