This route climbs the ridge connecting McHenry's and Arrowhead. The ridge itself is 4th class if you follow the easiest line.
There are several ways to get to the saddle between McHenry's and Arrowhead. A non-technical route starts from Lake Solitude, and reaches the saddle from the north. A 5.6 route, called "The Shaft", was climbed in 1957 to reach the saddle from the south. This area contains several rap anchors and appears from above to be harder than 5.6, so bring a more serious rack if you go for this option (also consult the guidebooks). A third alternative is to climb the South Ramp route on Arrowhead (called "Summit Ramp" in Gillett's guide) and continue along the ridge. This involves less bushwhacking than the first option but you may not need to carry a rope if you are comfortable free soloing 4th class terrain.
From the saddle, climb up the NE Ridge, or the face to its right. The sharp NE Ridge crest can be climbed all the way but you will probably want a rope for that, and there are two gendarmes that you may have to rappel off of (one is climbed by "Kidnapper Van"). At the start, you can climb the NE ridge, but then the easiest line diverges to the right of the ridge. Near the top, the easiest option is to move right into a shallow gully, but you can also climb the face to the left of this, or go back to the NE Ridge itself.
The climb ends a few feet from the summit. Descend by downclimbing the normal scrambling route, the SE ridge, to Stoneman Pass. It can be tricky finding the easiest route near the top, but is only 3rd class if you find it. Move right (south) of the ridge to find the easiest line.
|By Charles Vernon|
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 31, 2003
This was my first ever roped climbed and I have wonderful memories--I would highly recommend it, although it may be best thought of as a good solo, in conjunction with Arrowhead's "South Ramp" (which is how we did it). If you like the easy 5th class Flatiron scrambles/solos, you'll like this route. When we climbed it there was a fair bit of snow which forced us onto harder but clean and low-5th class climbing near the ridge crest, and we didn't have to do any rappels.
|By David Neckels|
Apr 1, 2003
I solo'ed the ridge one beautiful fall day. This is my favorite 4th class route to date. I drank a beer on top (had to try it). The descent was a bit spooky because I got quite a buzz from one beer up there (I came down through stoneman pass). The magnitude of this peak is clear from Black lake... I realized from there after this climb how amazing the human body is to go the distances it does...
|By Brendan Sheehan|
Oct 13, 2005
Did this route from the Solitude Lake side in late September of 2005. Great route. The difficulty was greatly increased by a lot of early season snow, some of which had melted and refrozen into genuine ice. Since the terrain tends to be slabby, a rope is justified if it's wet, snowy or icy. We brought a rope thinking we might not need it, but in the conditions we ended up using it.
|By Ernie Port|
From: Boulder, Colorado
Aug 19, 2007
I led a party of 3 guys up this 7/21/07 in perfect weather and would say it was spectacular. We didn't bring a rope and were all comfortable on the class 4 terrain. The entire route was dry and in perfect shape. In getting up to the Arrowhead ridge from Solitude lake we took a very loose, steep gully that ended at a large cave. We ascended out of the gully to the right near the cave entrance and went straight up, with a class 5 move over a chockstone (there was an old piece of webbing to grab if needed, wedged into the back of this rock) which took us to class 2 talus all the way to the ridge. Farther up the ridge, between the two towers, is a another steep gully which can be passed easily at the top, right at the ridge line. It's pretty straightforward class 3 & 4 to the summit from there.
|By Page Weil|
Nov 6, 2012
Did this route on 11/4/12. We did the approach from Solitude Lake, leaving the car ~4AM. Getting to the saddle with Arrowhead was not too difficult, though cold and windy. Once we were on the arete, early season snow on the rock slabs made for scary soloing. We roped up 3 pitches before the as the sun was setting. We did (3) 35m rappels to get us to walking terrain to get to Stoneman Pass. The descent from Stoneman was a long, snowy downclimb where we were nearly cliffed out numerous times.
This is a really fun route, though winter conditions made our trip 19 hours car-to-car. Next time I will do this in the summer.