Elevation: 7,581 ft
GPS: 37.588, -118.86 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 88,451 total · 1,170/month
Shared By: Chris Owen on Aug 5, 2015
Admins: Chris Owen, Lurker -, Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Vicki Schwantes, Justin Johnsen


This area encompasses the trail heads at Convict Lake and McGee Creek. The high peaks are easily visible from 395 on your way to Mammoth Lakes, Mount Morrison in particular is very impressive, especially in winter when it's covered in snow.

West of Mount Morrison the peaks, except for Red Slate Mountain, lay back a bit on the main crest, with Morrison, Laurel and Bloody Mountain therefore gaining dominance. The rock east of the main crest is not granite, but sedimentary in nature.

The McGee Creek trail follows a flat valley southwards for quite a distance before kicking in and heading steeply up to the Big McGee Basin. The trial eventually heads over McGee Pass and down into Fish Creek, which is quite a hike. To the west of Big McGee Lake lies Red and White Mountain - a very worthy and daunting peak.

There are some easy peaks on the west to east ridge south of Big McGee Lake which have some very nice views down into Pioneer Basin and across to the Abbot Group.

The Convict Lake Trail heads west then south down a spectacular and slightly creepy canyon guarded by sentinels on both sides before reaching the lakes north of Red Slate Mountain.

Getting There

McGee Creek Trailhead
McGee Creek Trailhead is at the end of the McGee Creek Road past Crowley Lake, turn west off 395. There is a paved parking lot at the trailhead.

McGee Pass
This is a long hike, and quite flat at the start, following the canyon south towards the beckoning high tree-filled bowl and peaks behind it. After a second creek crossing (the first one can be a challenge) there's a long uphill section which will get your attention until it levels off and from there you cross meadow like terrain and up benches to Big McGee Lake (2600 feet elevation gain from the trailhead), take along rest here, the next section is grueling. The trail heads northwest past Little McGee Lake, for another 1500 feet of elevation gain, up switchbacks and red and black cobbles to the pass, where you realize, in the descending sun, it's along way yet to a nice camp site.

Convict Lake Trailhead
Turn west off 395 onto the Convict Lake Road. Convict Lake Trailhead is located at the end of a spur road which cuts off right just before the Convict Lake Resort - there is a lonely paved parking area here too.

Are available here.

27 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: 05 - Convict Lake & McGee Creek Change
Type:  to 
Sort by:   then:

Classic Climbing Routes at 05 - Convict Lake & McGee Creek

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
WI2- Mod. Snow
North Couloir
Ice, Snow, Alpine
WI3-4 Mod. Snow
Northwest Couloir
Trad, Ice, Snow, Alpine 8 pitches
M4 Steep Snow
Caught Inside
Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine 9 pitches
M4+ Steep Snow
Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine 8 pitches
M5 Steep Snow
Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine 6 pitches
3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a
West Ridge
Trad, Alpine
4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b
Northwest Ridge
Trad, Alpine
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
Mendenhall Couloir
Trad, Alpine
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Northeast Buttress
Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
East Rib - North
Trad, Alpine
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
North Couloir Red Slate Mountain
WI2- Mod. Snow Ice, Snow, Alpine
Northwest Couloir Mt Morrison > N Face
WI3-4 Mod. Snow Trad, Ice, Snow, Alpine 8 pitches
Caught Inside Mt Morrison > N Face
M4 Steep Snow Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine 9 pitches
Psychopomp Mt Morrison > N Face
M4+ Steep Snow Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine 8 pitches
Inconceivable Pyramid Peak
M5 Steep Snow Trad, Mixed, Snow, Alpine 6 pitches
West Ridge Mt Crocker
3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a Trad, Alpine
Northwest Ridge Mt Morrison > N Face
4th 1 2 I 2 M 1b Trad, Alpine
Mendenhall Couloir Laurel Mountain
Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c Trad, Alpine
Northeast Buttress Mt Morrison > Torre De Mierda
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad, Alpine 5 pitches
East Rib - North Laurel Mountain
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad, Alpine
More Classic Climbs in 05 - Convict Lake & McGee Creek »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season