From the trailhead at the end of Summit County 851(known as the McCullough Gulch Trailhead), hike for a mile to a small lake. The route is directly above the south end of the lake.
Climb a clean but hard to protect 5.4 slab until it turns into a loose rock pile.
Scramble up the rock pile to the base of a steeper wall leading to the upper ridge, and climb a short 5.3 pitch to a grassy bench on the ridge crest. Walk a few hundred feet along the grassy bench on the left side of the ridge to the base of a steep gully. Climb a long hard to protect 5.4 slab in the gully and set a belay wherever possible. One more pitch leads to easy but loose rock. Scramble up easy 3rd and 4th class rock to the start of a menacing looking chimney. One pitch that felt like 5.6 to me climbs inside the chimney with bomber gear in interesting horizontals.
Once on top of the chimney, the rest of the route is an easy 3rd class scramble to the east slopes trail, and then follow the hordes to the summit.
Descent: Descend the east slopes trail. We bushwhacked down through trees and steep scree to get back to the McCullough Gulch trailhead, but this was incredibly unpleasant.
Route finding on this can be a little difficult, and an easier way is almost certainly possible(though some summit register entries complained about the 5.6 chimney also). It is great fun to be totally alone on a technical route, and top out in the middle of hordes of tourists.
Update: I (hadley) didn't write the above description but would like to add to it that that the rock quality is extremely poor and some pitches have no protection/belay anchors. Never climb this route under another party--rock fall is a certainty.
Update again. The above comment is just not the case. There is loose rock, but I had good belays and runouts were not particularly serious for an alpine route. The rock isn't as solid as RMNP, but neither does it compare to truly loose rock like the Maroon Bells or most of the San Juans.
Submitted by: atg200 on 2002-07-23
Route ID: 7802