Trip Report    

Basic Alpine Climb - McMillan Spire/West Ridge

A classic introduction to the Pickets.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The descent into the Terror Basin begins with a couple hundred feet of dirt and rock that is steep and loose.

The trail is long and steep but well-trod and easy to follow.  Our party of four took a little less than seven hours go from car to camp.  This includes some time on a side trail that was probably a shortcut when snow covers the brush but doesn't go anywhere now.  (You shouldn't trust every GPS track you find on the Internet.)

We camped at the nice camp site in Terror Basin: it was large and flat, had running water, and presented close-up views of the southern Pickets.

Despite a favorable weather forecast, it began to drizzle shortly after we went to bed.  It proceded to rain lightly most of the night.  At four a.m. we awoke to dense clouds everywhere, leaving very poor visibiliy and damp conditions.  It was the same at five, six, and finally at seven we packed up and headed down.  When we were about a mile from the trailhead we saw the sun for the first time the entire trip.  Welcome to the Pickets.