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#725897 - 09/22/07 10:37 AM [TR] Mt Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21/2007
off_the_hook Offline
member

Registered: 05/15/03
Posts: 186
TRs: 90 Photos: 7856
Loc: San Carlos, CA
Trip: Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb

Date: 9/21/2007

Trip Report:
Scott G. and I speed climbed the West Ridge of Mount Stuart in 8 hours roundtrip, starting just before 6 am and finishing just before 2 pm. We reached the summit 4:50 after beginning, took a 35 minute break at the top, and wrapped up the climb via a swift Cascadian descent for 8 hours total.

I was home for the week from CA and I wanted to squeeze in a climb if the weather allowed. The forecast for Friday looked ok, but the weather turned out to be idyllic with clear skies and cool temps. Anything hotter would have made the Cascadian descent and subsequent ascent up Longs Pass uncomfortable. This was my first time up Stuart on any route and Scott’s first ascent of the West Ridge. However, the only route finding error we made the entire day was missing the exit off I-90 in Cle Elum while we were talking about climbing.

I thought the route was really fun and Scott was an awesome partner for this speedy ascent. We roped up for two half pitches, once while on the north side where new ice and snow on the rock made it more hazardous and the second time on the crux moves in the crack below the summit. The West Ridge probably takes the prize for the most bivy sites on a climbing route!

Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time
Ingalls Lake TH : 0 / 0 / 05:57
Ingalls Lake : ~1:10 / ~1:10 / 07:07
Start of West Ridge Route : ~2:00 / ~50.00 / 07:57
Arrive Summit : 4:50.25 / 2:50.25 / 10:47
Depart Summit : 5:25.32 / 35.06 / 11:22
Ingalls Lake TH : 8:00.49 / 2:35.17 / 13:58





Early views of Rainier, Chimney Rock, Lemah.




The beginning of the West Ridge route. I thought the scrambling for a couple thousand feet in the couloir and up Long John Tower was super fun.


West Ridge notch.


Climbing on the cold north side. Recent snow and ice on the rocks made the north side alpine-feeling and it was cold and windy on this side of the mountain.


Summit view to Rainier.








Ingalls Peaks and Ingalls Lake


Glory Optical Phenomenon. The winds were picking up the moisture and snow crystals from the recent snow creating "insta-clouds".




Stuart Glacier.


Awesome lighting on Stuart from Longs Pass.






Gear Notes:
30 m rope, a few cams, sticky-soled trail runners (La Sportiva Exum Ridge). A pole and gaiters for the Cascadian descent was nice to have.

Approach Notes:
Good shape.
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#725902 - 09/22/07 10:49 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21/200 [Re: off_the_hook]
Bug Offline
sprayer

Registered: 02/22/02
Posts: 6654
TRs: 5 Photos: 127
Loc: Redmond WA
Good time! Way to cruise it.
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#725905 - 09/22/07 10:53 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: Bug]
chucK Offline
sprayer

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 5926
TRs: 20 Photos: 60
Loc: the ruthless 9 to 5
Yeah speedy, especially for an onsight. But you don't yet hold the unofficial cc.com speed record ( speedy Steve Stuart summit)!

What was your route between Ingalls Lake and the base of the ridge? Did you stay on the ridge or descend to the trail? Or other?

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#725909 - 09/22/07 11:10 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: chucK]
off_the_hook Offline
member

Registered: 05/15/03
Posts: 186
TRs: 90 Photos: 7856
Loc: San Carlos, CA
We were just below the ridge, then on the ridge (all on climbers paths) until a short traverse through a boulder field brought us to the couloir entrance.

We spent lots of time on the summit and bringing/using a rope probably added at least an hour, but I was happy to have the rope.

We knew about the Miles Smart time (5:45) and after doing the route, we agreed that the time is very impressive, but feasible if one is soloing, has prior knowledge of the route, and decides to eliminate breaks.
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#725915 - 09/22/07 11:27 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: off_the_hook]
chucK Offline
sprayer

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 5926
TRs: 20 Photos: 60
Loc: the ruthless 9 to 5
I hear this frequently, the part about eliminating breaks. But it's not like those breaks don't help you. That is, I doubt you'd have been an entire 35 minutes faster by just tagging the summit and continuing on.

You could certainly better your time by rolling the dice and soloing, but obviously you didn't. Seems like a very sound decision to me. Significantly increasing your risk of death clearly seems like a very steep price to pay for a quicker time report. I respect your decision, but it does seem a bit silly to imply that you could have done it quicker. Doing it quicker would have required doing something that you weren't willing to do.

Maybe next time.

If you didn't have the icy conditions up top, it may have been more feasible to go ropeless. Also, there is a way to avoid any fifth class on the final summit block (i.e. that crux near the top with the fixed pin). You can corkscrew around the summit going up and around ledges to the left, then squeezing behind a big block, which puts you just below the summit to the NW.


Edited by chucK (09/22/07 11:44 AM)

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#725923 - 09/22/07 01:00 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: chucK]
Bug Offline
sprayer

Registered: 02/22/02
Posts: 6654
TRs: 5 Photos: 127
Loc: Redmond WA
I was just up there a week ago and bivied.
I also free-soloed it 13 years ago in about 9hrs.
You guys were blazing.
It's big and we can't all be Peter Croft.
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#726058 - 09/23/07 01:10 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: chucK]
scottgg Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 369
TRs: 19 Photos: 258
Loc: Seattle
Originally Posted By: chucK


You could certainly better your time by rolling the dice and soloing, but obviously you didn't. Seems like a very sound decision to me. Significantly increasing your risk of death clearly seems like a very steep price to pay for a quicker time report. I respect your decision, but it does seem a bit silly to imply that you could have done it quicker. Doing it quicker would have required doing something that you weren't willing to do.


After climbs, I often look back and analyze how thing went, then see how I can improve for my next foray into the hills. Did I eat enough? Was there extra food/water in my pack when I was done? How many route-finding errors did I make, and how can I avoid them in the future? Thats exactly what OTH was doing here by speculating that we could have gone faster by eliminating the rope. Not to say that we would ever do that on an route such as this, but it gives others an idea of what to expect...

Leor's a good guy; very fast on the easy terrain, and a fun dude to be around. I figured the fact that he placed 2nd in the Cle-Elm Ridge 50k last Saturday would mean I could keep up with him (because I thought he'd be tired, which he wasen't), and I think we worked well together.
Cool route, now bring on the winter!

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#726130 - 09/23/07 10:55 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: scottgg]
Bug Offline
sprayer

Registered: 02/22/02
Posts: 6654
TRs: 5 Photos: 127
Loc: Redmond WA
I just look at my pictures and wish I was still there.
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#726239 - 09/24/07 11:39 AM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: scottgg]
BigSteve Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 9
TRs: 0 Photos: 0
Loc: Seattle
Small world -- I am one of the three 12-time Cle Elum Ridge 50k finishers, and climbed the West Ridge of Stuart with 9-time CER50k finisher Ted Mueser several years ago. BUT, we took waaaay more than 8 hours -- hell, we bivied at the West Ridge Notch.

BTW, there are no 13-time CER50k finishers -- Mark Konodi DNF'ed this year. I DNS due to a mountaineering injury, and Ron Warner DNS.

Speedy work, men. And congrats on a swift 50k at CE.


Edited by BigSteve (09/24/07 05:52 PM)
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Seattle

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#726271 - 09/24/07 12:27 PM Re: [TR] Mt Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21/2007 [Re: off_the_hook]
clintcummins Offline
journeyman

Registered: 07/23/03
Posts: 65
TRs: 0 Photos: 6
Loc: Palo Alto, CA
Nice onsight, Leor + Scott. One of my favorite mountains - gotta love granite. I was going to say it was pretty fine for a day trip, but at 8 hours it's too far under 1/2 day to say that!

I think Steph and I contributed one of those many bivy sites last summer when we had to halt our descent down the West Ridge just above that jog onto the north side. We didn't think of looking on that side until the morning light.

And I like the part about missing the exit while talking about climbing - I do that too!

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#726274 - 09/24/07 12:34 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: BigSteve]
spotly Offline
old hand

Registered: 03/27/05
Posts: 867
TRs: 33 Photos: 50
Loc: Mead, WA
Nice work. That's one of the neater Glory Optical Phenomenon shots I've seen too.

Chuck - thanks for the pointer on the scramble option!

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#726761 - 09/25/07 01:37 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: spotly]
SmilingWhiteKnuckles Offline
member

Registered: 04/07/03
Posts: 133
TRs: 23 Photos: 1
Loc: Seattle, WA
Dang Scott and OfftheHook! Blazing fast. Nice work. So after the cold spell on the north face, you followed Bug's pink line to the top??

Makes me want to hit it before the winter comes in to stay, but maybe we're there already...
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#726772 - 09/25/07 01:59 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: SmilingWhiteKnuckles]
Bug Offline
sprayer

Registered: 02/22/02
Posts: 6654
TRs: 5 Photos: 127
Loc: Redmond WA
The Herons have left already.
Get on it.
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#726788 - 09/25/07 03:02 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: SmilingWhiteKnuckles]
scottgg Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 369
TRs: 19 Photos: 258
Loc: Seattle
Howdy Amigo!
I modified Bug's nice picture to show our route (in green) on the upper mountain. After the north side traverse, we dropped down a bit on the south side then set up a belay at a fixed hex with blue tat below a bombay chimney with twin cracks. Felt 5.6ish.


Edited by scottgg (09/25/07 03:07 PM)

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#726804 - 09/25/07 03:26 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: scottgg]
chucK Offline
sprayer

Registered: 01/12/01
Posts: 5926
TRs: 20 Photos: 60
Loc: the ruthless 9 to 5
You're lines drawn in above prompted me to look back at the other pictures.

Where is this taken? That's Stuart Lake in the background, which should pretty much be behind the summit from anywhere on the West Ridge.


I'm really confused now.

OK, now it looks like you guys might be very near the summit. Did you traverse around left (to the North side) then climb back up SW to the crest?



Edited by chucK (09/25/07 03:48 PM)

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#726814 - 09/25/07 03:44 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: scottgg]
Bug Offline
sprayer

Registered: 02/22/02
Posts: 6654
TRs: 5 Photos: 127
Loc: Redmond WA
Originally Posted By: scottgg
Howdy Amigo!
I modified Bug's nice picture to show our route (in green) on the upper mountain. After the north side traverse, we dropped down a bit on the south side then set up a belay at a fixed hex with blue tat below a bombay chimney with twin cracks. Felt 5.6ish.


There is also a really nice 5.6 crack in a right facing corner from the high point of the red dots past the green and purple lines to the green line. Very exposed but very easy and easy to protect.
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#726820 - 09/25/07 04:02 PM Re: [TR] Mt. Stuart - West Ridge Speed Climb 9/21 [Re: chucK]
scottgg Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 369
TRs: 19 Photos: 258
Loc: Seattle
Pic is taken from a notch looking back at the traditional north side traverse (hence stuart lake in the background).... only part of the route that I wouldn't solo.

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