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05 - Convict Lake & McGee Creek

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05 - Convict Lake & McGee Creek Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 7,581'
Location: 37.58831, -118.85972 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 20,316
Administrators: Chris Owen, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Chris Owen on Aug 5, 2015
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Mount Morrison from Hwy 395


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.

Climbing Season

For the High Sierra area.

Weather station 6.8 miles from here

21 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',9],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in 05 - Convict Lake & McGee Creek

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for 05 - Convict Lake & McGee Creek:
Northwest Couloir   WI3-4     Trad, Ice, Alpine, 8 pitches, 1600'   Mt. Morrison : North Face
North Couloir   WI2-     Ice, Alpine, 1500'   Red Slate Mountain
Northwest Ridge   3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a     Trad, Alpine, 3000'   Mt. Morrison : North Face
Mendenhall Couloir   Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c     Trad, Alpine, 3000'   Laurel Mountain
East Rib - North   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, Alpine, 3000'   Laurel Mountain
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in 05 - Convict Lake & McGee Creek

Featured Route For 05 - Convict Lake & McGee Creek
Rock Climbing Photo: 16-October-2010: North Couloir as viewed from Lake...

North Couloir WI2-  California : High Sierra : ... : Red Slate Mountain
Couloir is about 40 degrees maximum. About 3/4 of the way up the couloir turns left.In the late summer / early fall this last part may be partially melted out, making for some easy mixed climbing....[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of 05 - Convict Lake & McGee Creek Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The fun exposed slab moves on pitch 3.
The fun exposed slab moves on pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Red Slate Mountain from the north.
Red Slate Mountain from the north.
Rock Climbing Photo: How do we get down to the hot tubs? Tavis contempl...
How do we get down to the hot tubs? Tavis contempl...
Rock Climbing Photo: Laurel Mountain from the shores of Convict Lake, S...
Laurel Mountain from the shores of Convict Lake, S...

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