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Ascent of McDonald Peak on 2013-07-12

Climber: Rob Woodall

Others in Party:Alan Bernier
Shannon Dillmore
Greg Slayden
Date:Friday, July 12, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:McDonald Peak
    Location:USA-Montana
    Elevation:9820 ft / 2993 m

Ascent Trip Report

Th 0915, summit 1600-30, th 2315.

My first peak of a 4 week trip to the northwest. Problems with flights hence late start time. Met Greg, Shannon and Alan at turnoff from highway 93 (Out West grill bar, plenty parking at junction, note the Red Horn Road sign is no longer there). Track to canal crossing a bit rough; Greg Slayden's Subaru AWD made it ok.
About 30 mins drive to upper trailhead (N47.37360 W113.99279), ok in Shannon's rented GMC Yukon.

Basically followed the Bolton/Gilliland/Bjorstad/Poulin route using Dennis's Gps track posted on peakbagger - very useful - a few variations but no improvements to report.
Decent trail up ridge with a fair bit of fallen timber to go over/round.
Crossed a nice little rocky top, Pt 6495, N47.38146 W113.97772. On the way out only I visited it, so it came to be called Woodall Peak, with apologies to the Mississippi state HP!
Just before the cliff band is crossed, the lower approach is the one to go for.

Side hilling involves a lot of grass which is quite slippery. This contouring seems to go on forever, but the views down on the lakes, across to the opposite ridge and out across the valley are very fine.

It's good to reach Duncan Lake (outflow at N47.37532 W113.93737), a nice place in its own right and from here there's no more of this wretched contouring. Nice terrain leading to the main col N47.37271 W113.91876. From here the climb is mostly on snow, quite soft but at about 35 degree angle with rocks below, crampons and some care needed. Alan ascends the looseish rocks to R of snow - quite a bit quicker than us, but then he is quick.

Summit reached along short snow ridge, a little exposed. Cairn, although the highest point is a neat little snow cone N47.38267 W113.91933.
Descend at 4.30 pm, carefully until below halfway rocks then crampons off and glissade down - I enjoy what in the UK we call a bumslide, with ice axe steering to avoid the odd boulder.
Below main saddle is a group spending a few days backpacking.

Back at the lake we fill water bottles then back to the sidehilling. We cross the cliff band a bit higher on the return but it's a bit more technical and less convenient.

Last hour is in darkness, no great problem with Gps tracks to follow but not easy to keep to an efficient line in the dark. 7 hours up, the same down!

However despite the late start we're glad to get this "awkward" peak done, in good company and conditions.

Next day Alan and I climb Trapper Peak on our way south to Diamond Peak.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5479 ft / 1668 m
    Extra Gain:328 ft / 99 m
    Trailhead:4997 ft / 1523 m
    Grade/Class:YDS 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
A few spots of rain
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:7 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:7 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Rob Woodall
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO resposibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file




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