Shelf Cirque Traverse
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The Shelf Cirque Traverse.
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 is amazing in its exposure and views of the Cathedral Spires. Continue to the summit of Thatchtop, and then descend back to Solitude Lake, or to the north if you are familiar with the descent for All Mixed Up.
This is an excellent 1-day outing, or bivy at Solitude Lake for a treat.
You may want to bring ropes and some webbing for the rap into McHenry's Notch. If you are not comfortable soloing easy fifth class with exposure, then bring a light alpine rack.
The sw ridge of Arrowhead.
The ne ridge of McHenry's Peak, as viewed from the...
Climbing the NE ridge of McHenry's Peak with Arrow...
The ridge between Powell and Thatchtop. There is ...
Starting the Powell-Thatchtop ridge traverse, enjo...
Most of the traverse is visible.
|Comments on Shelf Cirque Traverse
|By mark felber|
From: Frisco, CO,USA
Aug 23, 2012
rating: Easy 5th
The rangers would prefer that you bivy in the Solitude Lake bivy area, not at Solitude Lake itself. The folks in the backcountry office were a little upset when they read the route description.
The Solitude Lake area is a great place to bivy, but I'm not sure how much you save by doing so. The trail up Shelf Creek has a good number of downed trees on it, and dragging bivy gear through that stretch is a bummer. Once the Bear Lake road construction is finished and the road closures stop, leaving the Glacier Gorge trailhead early enough to hit the trail up Shelf Creek at first light would be a good option.