Back in early May, George and I glissaded the backside of Peak 9115 near Stanley Lake and stopped below the Northeast Couloir of McGown Peak. We gave it a half hearted attempt, but the snow was thigh deep and we wallowed. It was no fun. We pledged to return when the snow was firm and likelihood of amusement was greater. That time is now.
There remains an amazing amount of snow in the Sawtooths, especially on the northern exposures. The snow is not only present, it is dense and ideal for rapid ascents. The NE Couloir starts out gentle at about 40 degrees but near the top it steepens to over 55 degrees (we measured). No need for a rope. Crampons and ice axe will do. If you've been waiting for the right conditions, wait no longer.
McGown Peak NE Face.
George at bottom of NE Couloir.
George topping out near a remnant of the old cornice.
Lots of snow below.