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#1150672 - 08/01/16 10:46 PM [TR] Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge 7/30/2016
Jaime Offline

Registered: 06/12/13
Posts: 19
TRs: 15 Photos: 72
Trip: Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge

Date: 7/30/2016

Trip Report:
We climbed Stuart via the Complete North ridge, approaching from the South via Ingalls Pass and descending by the Cascadian and over Long's Pass.

Time-relevant beta
  • The road is no longer blocked off a mile before the Esmeralda Basin trailhead! The washout isn't entirely fixed, but our tiny two-seater Honda Insight was able to make it over the bumps so it should be passable to anyone.
  • There's some snow remaining on the descent from Goat Pass to the base of the route. It was passable in approach tennies (although I didn't like it much)
  • The melting glacier means there is water near the base of the route.
  • There's still snow at the bivy sites at the 8200' notch. We brought a stove but were actually able to fill up on water just from drips from the melting snow.
  • There's ~20m of relatively steep unavoidable snow near the top of the Cascadian descent. However, there's also a rap anchor, so we just set up a quick arm rappel.

The lower four pitches of hard climbing and the two on the gendarme were very obvious. Other than that, our beta generally was "follow the ridge". Unfortunately, we weren't very good at micro-navigating and kept finding ourselves climbing harder-than-expected, lichen-encrusted rock. Probably the best beta to follow is: if it seems hard and/or has lichen on it, there's probably an easier way. We got better at this on the second day and had a much more enjoyable time.

0430: Leave car
0630: Ingalls Lake (paused for short water stop)
1030: Reach base of route (paused for lunch)
1100: Start climbing
1830: Reach bivy site at notch (including 45min of being passed)

0600: Start climbing
1130: Reach Gendarme
1530: Summit!
1630: Leave Summit
2000: Reach Ingalls trail
2230: Car

Photo Credit: Jason Curtis

Google Earth views of our route (GPS track here:

Bags packed in the car the night before:

Goats at the North end of Lake Ingalls

Topping out at Goat Pass:

Following the 5.9 pitch:

Collecting the snow melt at our bivy at the notch:

Looking back somewhere on the ridge:

Obligatory "slab with crack" photo:

Starting up the slab with crack:

Looking back at the party of three behind us, who apparently believed in ropes but not pro (needless to say they were much faster than us):

That party quickly passed us. The leader went on to solo the first pitch of the Gendarme, although he did belay his followers up:

Summit shot:

Summit register:


Gear Notes:
- SR .3-3, plus a .75 link cam and extra #2. Probably could have gotten away with fewer cams, but I was happy to have them on the Gendarme pitches
- 1 microtraxion - greatly extended the length of simul pitches we were willing to lead, since we could place it above hard moves to isolate the leader from a follower fall
- 8 singles, 4 doubles
- 60m rope (30m would have worked except we wanted to haul packs on the Gendarme)
- No boots/crampons/ice axes, just approach tennies and one pole each
- We shared a single bivy sack and sleeping bag (and each had a puffy and long johns) and were toasty warm all night. The notch was very windy in the middle of the night, so we were glad to have the bivy sack.

Approach Notes:
We followed beta from Ilia's trip report: It was generally accurate, although I wouldn't have called the cliff drops "easily passed" by hugging the left side. Those step downs definitely involved loose rock, some downclimbing, and even a bit of bushwhacking. Ilia's report also mentions a trail cutting to the right at a flat spot somewhere between 5900-6200'. We never saw the cairn or the trail breaking off from the couloir itself, so we just blindly forged into the forest a little ways and then gave up and headed back to the couloir and happened to cross the trail (this was just below 5900' but the trail must have started higher). It was a lovely trail through forests and meadows as advertised - definitely worth finding!

When he climbed the West Ridge last year, Jason had taken a "shortcut" descent route which has some similarly uncomfortable sections, but at least spits you out on the Ingalls Creek trail 15 minutes closer to the junction with Long's pass:

Edited by Jaime (08/02/16 08:59 AM)

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#1150673 - 08/02/16 08:29 AM Re: [TR] Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge 7/30/2016 [Re: Jaime]
JeffreyW Offline

Registered: 05/11/15
Posts: 28
TRs: 10 Photos: 155
Loc: Seattle, WA
Way to go you two! I like the minimal bivy setup smile Just gotta watch out for the jimmy leg...

Edited by JeffreyW (08/02/16 08:30 AM)

#1150677 - 08/02/16 10:24 AM Re: [TR] Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge 7/30/2016 [Re: Jaime]
Good2Go Offline

Registered: 06/09/06
Posts: 157
TRs: 3 Photos: 27
Regarding the descent, if you find yourself 15 mins or more away from the Long's Pass trail junction when you hit Ingalls Creek Trail, you probably did not descend the Cascadian proper. It's easy to miss the Cascadian turnoff and continue down the south shoulder, which often has a better trail at that elevation.

#1150686 - 08/02/16 01:13 PM Re: [TR] Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge 7/30/2016 [Re: Jaime]
andybob Offline

Registered: 07/04/11
Posts: 4
TRs: 1 Photos: 0
As G2G mentions, you bypassed the Cascadian Couloir for the inviting basin skier's left of that big dividing ridge. Looking at your GPS track over the Google Earth image, the Cascadian is the direct line from the snow field to the Longs Pass trail.

#1150688 - 08/02/16 03:43 PM Re: [TR] Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge 7/30/2016 [Re: Jaime]
Priti Offline

Registered: 02/20/15
Posts: 20
TRs: 2 Photos: 63
Awesome job guys! microtraxions are pretty great. +1 to your advice on avoiding the lichen, and finding the easier way.

Who is going to bring a new pencil up to the summit register? :tongue:

#1150690 - 08/02/16 03:58 PM Re: [TR] Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge 7/30/2016 [Re: Jaime]
pcg Offline
addicted to

Registered: 08/25/10
Posts: 454
TRs: 0 Photos: 51
Loc: OR
Great trip and thanks for the report! How much snow is left in the Cascadian Couoloir? I've never seen the steep section at the top steeper than 50 deg. Was it steeper than that? Is it still an easy decent on snow the rest of the way down the couloir?

#1150691 - 08/02/16 04:01 PM Re: [TR] Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge 7/30/2016 [Re: Jaime]
ilias Offline

Registered: 06/14/15
Posts: 104
TRs: 21 Photos: 339
Nice work! Glad you found my TR useful smile

#1150698 - 08/02/16 05:50 PM Re: [TR] Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge 7/30/2016 [Re: Jaime]
olyclimber Offline

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 25303
TRs: 47 Photos: 895
Loc: In Love with You
Great report, and congrats. BTW its cheating if the shared bag bivy is with a member of the opposite sex (well...depending on your orientation).

#1150718 - 08/03/16 09:52 AM Re: [TR] Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge 7/30/2016 [Re: pcg]
NDrake Offline

Registered: 01/07/14
Posts: 44
TRs: 6 Photos: 10
Originally Posted By: pcg
Great trip and thanks for the report! How much snow is left in the Cascadian Couoloir? I've never seen the steep section at the top steeper than 50 deg. Was it steeper than that? Is it still an easy decent on snow the rest of the way down the couloir?

There is still snow quite a ways down the Cascadian. When we went last wednesday we stayed high an traversed skier left of the snow, staying on a rock rib as long as possible. We traversed skier right when the rib ran out and dropped back into the Cascadian. I found it easier than the rock on climber right and it minimized our time on the snow.


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