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One Photo, One Story: Climbing McGown Peak in Idaho’s Sawtooths

One Photo, One Story: Climbing McGown Peak in Idaho’s Sawtooths

By Michael Lanza

Early on a sunny but freezing October morning, my friend Chip Roser and I set out from the trailhead at Stanley Lake, in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, hiking in the direction of the peak that forms the picturesque backdrop to the lake: 9,860-foot McGown Peak—not only one of the most-photographed peaks in the Sawtooths, but one of the most exciting, one-day hike-scrambles in the entire range.

After more than an hour of hiking, we left the established trail and hiked cross-country into a cirque on McGown’s south side, where glassy alpine lakes reflected the rows of toothy, stone pinnacles above us. From there, the hike gets steep: We scrambled a rocky rib on McGown’s south face, ascending 1,200 feet in less than a mile to the knife-edge summit ridge, where I shot this photo of Chip minutes before we reached the tiny summit.

I’ll write about that adventure in a story I’ll post later this year at this blog. For now, you can view a menu of all of my stories about Idaho’s Sawtooths at The Big Outside, including this photo gallery from the Sawtooth Wilderness; this story about Chip and I climbing another prominent Sawtooths peak, Mount Heyburn; my story “Going After Goals: Backpacking in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains;” and an Ask Me post where I answer a reader’s question: What are the best hikes in Idaho’s Sawtooths? And click here for a menu of all of my stories about hiking at The Big Outside.


About The Author

Michael Lanza

A former field editor and primary gear reviewer for Backpacker Magazine, Michael Lanza created The Big Outside to share stories and images from his many backpacking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures, as well as expert tips and gear reviews to help readers plan and pull off their own great adventures.

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Welcome to the Big Outside

photo of Michael Lanza

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside now to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. And click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

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