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Shelf Cirque

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Shelf Cirque Traverse T 

Shelf Cirque  

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Elevation: 11,500'
Location: 40.2733, -105.6481 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 4,664
Administrators: Ben Mottinger, Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monomaniac, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Bill Duncan on Apr 15, 2011
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View of the upper Shelf Cirque at sunrise. McHenr...


The stunning Shelf Cirque is formed by 4 mountains and their connecting ridges. Clockwise they are: Arrowhead, McHenry's Peak, Powell Peak, and Thatchtop. Within the cirque lie Solitude Lake and Shelf Lake (and a bunch of ravenous marmots). You must pass through Shelf Cirque to reach McHenrys Notch Couloir, Hourglass Couloir, and is also the easiest approach to NE Ridge or Arrowhead Arete of McHenry's Peak.

Getting There 

Approach as for Black Lake, but approximately 1 mile after Mills Lake, look for a small meadow with a faint trail heading west. There may be a sign here now. Cross the creek and follow the faint trail straight up the hill to Shelf Lake.

Climbing Season

Weather station 7.9 miles from here

1 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Shelf Cirque:
Shelf Cirque Traverse   Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c     Trad, Alpine, 19475'   
Browse More Classics in Shelf Cirque

Featured Route For Shelf Cirque
The Shelf Cirque Traverse.

Shelf Cirque Traverse Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c  CO : Alpine Rock : ... : Shelf Cirque
This has 4 summits, excellent exposure, tremendous views, and some climbing. Start at Solitude Lake. Climb Arrowhead. Traverse west on the McHenry's-Arrowhead ridge, and then climb the NE Ridge of McHenry's. Descend from the summit to the NW, then off the west side of the ridge to the upper reaches of the gully behind McHenry's Notch. 1 rap gets you into the gully. Climb Mt. Powell. Descend to the NW until you can drop on to the NE ridge that leads to Thatchtop. This ridge i...[more]   Browse More Classics in CO

Comments on Shelf Cirque Add Comment
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By jeremy long
May 19, 2011
I think there may be good FAs in the back of this cirque. Has anyone heard of anything back there? Check it out on Google Earth. From the top of Arrowhead, you can see a wall in the back that looks awesome from that perspective.
By mark felber
From: Wheat Ridge, CO
Aug 23, 2012
No sign for the trail up to Shelf Lake, but the trail is pretty obvious. There are quite a few downed trees on the trail once you start uphill. Since this is a user trail and not a trail maintained by NPS, I would expect the down trees to be a fact of life for a while.
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