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Joa

easy multi-pitch routes in the Enchantments

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Our family won a lottery slot for the Stuart Zone in the Enchantments in August.  Suggestions for several really nice quality easy trad climbs in the area(~5.4ish)?  We plan to hike over to the Core Zone, etc. and also climb some peaks but want to get in some fun climbs that are a little more technical.  Thanks!

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The west ridge of Stuart is a classic 5.4 climb.  However I get the impression you're asking for short, multipitch recommendations.   The w ridge from Stuart Lake would be a very, very long day with miles of exposed scrambling both up and down.

Unfortunately the Stuart Lake Zone is a long ways from the Core Zone.   From where the trail breaks to Colchuck lake its about 4 miles and  3500' of trail just to access the plateau of the core zone.  West Ridge of Prusik (the classic easy moderate) is a couple miles away from there.   Doable in a long day for a fit, fast party.  Maybe that describes your family?  Further west of Prusik Peak there are a number of short excellent low 5th class routes on Razorback, Comet Spire and other peaks.   But that's not a possible day trip from where you'll be.

Somewhere on this site there's a TR for an easy 3 pitch (5.6?) crag climb by colchuck lake.  That might be your best bet for some alpine amibence.  I couldn't find it.  Maybe someone else can. 

Ultimately based on where you can camp I don't think you have many options.  Maybe leave the gear in the car and enjoy the backpacking and scrambling.   Then do some cragging in the leavenworth area.  Midway on Castle Rock is the classic low-5th multipitch with a nice summit to boot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I agree with everything said above. In my experience, carrying a rope, rack, harness, helmets, and related climbing gear adds a lot of weight. You could do trad multi-pitch lines in Icicle Creek canyon before or after your trip and be lighter and happier without lugging that into the back country.  

Note that the tiny lakes above Stuart Lake are surrounded by incredible boulders and there are plenty of peaks nearby to scramble/climb. There is an unofficial trail that leads up there. Might be helpful to have a topo to guide you. 

Enjoy!

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5.4 will limit you .  northwest buttress on Stuart goes about 5.0 if you stop at the ridge crest.   to continue to the summit, finding a 5.4 line on west ridge of  Stuart might be tricky, likely more like 5.6..  north ridge of stuart (50 classic climbs) goes about 5.6  northwest buttress and northeast couloir (possible ice or snow) on Argonaut go about 5.6.   cross to the south side of mountaineer pass and the south face of Argonaut may have a line at 5.4.   east ridge of Sherpa from mountaineer pass goes about 5.5.  northeast face of false summit on Stuart supposedly goes at 5.6.   possibly a 5-easy line on northwest face of Colchuck, but that is undocumented as far as I know.   all of these routes will have some snow on approach, even in August.  I've climbed ice in Argonaut's northeast couloir Labor Day weekend....   all of these would be fairly long days for a family group (unless your family name is Lowe), but none are terribly committing - escape/retreat would be reasonable in most cases.   do take fishing gear for Stuart Lake.

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Less climbing gear means more alcohol and fishing gear!

Or forget the Enchantments and drive to the Bugaboos and climb the best 5.4 on the planet.

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, dberdinka said:

Somewhere on this site there's a TR for an easy 3 pitch (5.6?) crag climb by colchuck lake.  That might be your best bet for some alpine amibence.  I couldn't find it.  Maybe someone else can. 

Here's your route, Darin: Sunchips.  Not particularly alpine, but looks like fun climbing. 

From a Stuart Zone camp, I'd be looking at the scramble routes up Argonaut or Colchcuck Pks.  Distinctly alpine and all you need are boots and ice axes

Edited by curtveld

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6 hours ago, montypiton said:

5.4 will limit you .  northwest buttress on Stuart goes about 5.0 if you stop at the ridge crest.   to continue to the summit, finding a 5.4 line on west ridge of  Stuart might be tricky, likely more like 5.6..  north ridge of stuart (50 classic climbs) goes about 5.6  northwest buttress and northeast couloir (possible ice or snow) on Argonaut go about 5.6.   cross to the south side of mountaineer pass and the south face of Argonaut may have a line at 5.4.   east ridge of Sherpa from mountaineer pass goes about 5.5.  northeast face of false summit on Stuart supposedly goes at 5.6.   possibly a 5-easy line on northwest face of Colchuck, but that is undocumented as far as I know.   all of these routes will have some snow on approach, even in August.  I've climbed ice in Argonaut's northeast couloir Labor Day weekend....   all of these would be fairly long days for a family group (unless your family name is Lowe), but none are terribly committing - escape/retreat would be reasonable in most cases.   do take fishing gear for Stuart Lake.

It should be noted that most or all of these routes involve mountain navigation and route-finding skills. If the route is 5.4 but you start up the wrong crack or don't cross the crest at the right point you can quickly find yourself in terrain that is 5.9 or harder. 

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18 hours ago, montypiton said:

north ridge of stuart (50 classic climbs) goes about 5.6 

Is this a typo? I wish we'd found that variation on the north ridge! 

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no typo, Alisse - done it several times.  certainly harder if you stick to the ridge crest.   The pitch to regain the ridge after the rappel at the gendarme is shaded, and may be verglassed in early season.  in that condition, 5.6 may be 5- impossible in rock shoes without an alpine hammer.  in August, that pitch is more likely to be dry, but it's wise to be prepared just in case.   if the gendarme rappel pitch does not look perfectly dry, best bet is to either commit to climbing the gendarme itself (5.9) or bail and reverse the route.

 

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On 3/21/2018 at 10:20 AM, montypiton said:

certainly harder if you stick to the ridge crest.   The pitch to regain the ridge after the rappel at the gendarme is shaded, and may be verglassed in early season.  in that condition, 5.6 may be 5- impossible in rock shoes without an alpine hammer.  in August, that pitch is more likely to be dry, but it's wise to be prepared just in case.   if the gendarme rappel pitch does not look perfectly dry, best bet is to either commit to climbing the gendarme itself (5.9) or bail and reverse the route.

Ahhhh I understand now, I think: you aren't including the lower ridge pitches or the gendarme. Got it!

 

Joa, I would highly recommend checking out Horseshoe Lake! I believe it is within the Stuart Zone. Lots of amazing boulders to play on and there's a cool wall with cracks in it that runs right into the lake on the far..west side? I think you could set a top rope from a tree and if you brought a pack raft, belay from the boat 😁 or a deep water solo?! Whatever you do, it should be a great time!

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