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[TR] Sherpa Peak North Ridge - North Ridge Variation 06/13/2020

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Trip: Sherpa Peak North Ridge - North Ridge Variation

Trip Date: 06/13/2020

Trip Report:


Timeline Saturday 6/13


7:00 a.m left Stuart Lk TH 

11:00 in upper basin below sherpa and argonaut 

3:30 On the Ridge at 2nd notch 

6:30 On the Summit

8:00 At Bivy Site on South Side of Sherpa Peak 

Timeline Sunday 6/14

8:30 a.m left bivy site 

11:30 at sherpa pass

3:00 Back to the car 

Approach Notes

Others trip reports mentioned turning off of Stuart lake trail at the first switchback heading up to the lake. We must have missed that and departed a bit later.  Was not a problem though. The bushwhacking was not bad at all and we continued making our way towards mountaineers creek. We actually ended up hitting a boulder field and remembering some trip reports mentioned that thought we were in the right spot. Followed cairns through the boulder field for a bit before realizing we were heading right towards the north ridge of Mount Stuart. We checked the map and dropped down off the boulder field until we hit mountaineers creek. Once at the creek we followed the climbers trail up into the basin.  We crossed over the creek to the east side to wander up a boulder field before crossing back over to the west side above the slide alder and onto another boulder field.  We continued up the field for a short bit before crossing back over mountaineers creek near the basin's entrance.  We cruised on up the basin to views of our route. 

This is the meadow you read about in trip reports. We somehow ended up having to walk through the meadow on our way back and it was horrible bushwhacking leading up to the meadow and of course the meadow is a swamp so we were wet not that it mattered hiking out. On the way in we went a bit past the meadow before leaving the trail. You can see colchuck peak on the left, argonaut, sherpa pass, and the destination peak Sherpa on the right. 


The next picture shows our route in red up onto the ridge and shows the standard approach route onto the ridge in blue. 


We decided to to head up the couloir in red on the picture to gain the ridge early and make the summit that day. It looked like it went and directly to the 2nd notch which would put us right at the start of the reported 5.8 pitches. It did go and we made the notch at about 3:30. The snow was fairly easy to kick steps in approach shoes and we switched to crampons about 1/2 the way up the couloir. 

On route up the couloir 


A little over halfway up we hit a rock band we had to ascend over to get back on snow. Maybe low 5th class? I am not good at grading. It was exposed but mostly easy scrambling back onto snow. Pictured below is my partner on the rock section. 


We hit snow again for a short bit before getting back onto rock and gaining the ridge. Looking down the couloir below. 


Pictured below is my partner on the ridge at the 2nd notch and there is the start of the technical climbing.  


The first pitch and the 2nd pitch were short and loaded with rope drag. Partly due to my poor placement of a few pieces and due to the nature of the route. I also had to be careful on the pitches of poor rock. At one point my foot completely gave out as a rock I was standing on gave way down the mountain.  The 3rd pitch was almost a full rope length and much more ascetic.  The 4th pitch my partner led was close to a full ropes length and put us on the summit. The last 2 pitches were by far the best. 


Pictured below is my buddy belaying me at the start of the 3rd pitch. This and one other spot was the only snow on the ridge we had to step through. 


My Buddies vantage point of the start of our 3rd pitch. 


Below is my partner starting out on the 4th and final pitch to the summit.  He reported quite a bit of rope drag as he belayed me up. This pitch I found the climbing fun though and was surprised and happy to find myself on the summit at the end of it. This was the other spot on route with a bit of snow. 


The Summit. We had white out conditions with some light snow flurries the whole way up. It was cold when belaying but warmed up while climbing.  


We descended the first rap down the "west ridge" into a 3rd class gully. The descent was not as arduous or horrible as many have described or at least that is how I felt. After the first rap you descent the obvious gully climbers left until you run into another rap station around a big boulder. We rapped down onto a gradual snow slope.

Below is looking down the gully we followed to the 2nd rap station. 


Looking back up the gully 


Start of traversing at 8000 feet 


 We followed Lemke's descent route which was spot on.  After that second route and descending the snow slope it opened up and we headed climbers left at about 8000 feet. Then we ran into the most wonderful bivy site. 


Looking back at our route down. 

route down.tif

The next day we traversed for just a short bit at 8000 feet before dropping down a longish snow ramp (loose rock late season I imagine) towards 7000 feet. At 7000 feet we made our traverse pretty easily over towards sherpa pass.  

Below looking back up sherpa pass on the the left and our peak on the right. 


Rad trip all in all.  We got snowed on a bit that night and it was 24 degrees in the morning but the weather cleared a bit and we could see mount rainier.  



Gear Notes:
Gear to 3" Doubles of .75" and 1" I don't think you need doubles of anything. Set of nuts.

Approach Notes:
Reference trip report above


Edited by firebeard
fix pictures
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Not sure why some photos could be embedded but others just links to download. Anyways you should be able to access them. 

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On 6/19/2020 at 7:31 AM, firebeard said:

Not sure why some photos could be embedded but others just links to download. Anyways you should be able to access them. 

I've noticed it makes links for the photos for me if I use the "Choose Files..." link. It will embed them normally for me when I drag them from my photo software.

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I loved this route, even if it was done in a major summer storm and we were benighted. Felt more like 5.9 to me although like with any route such as this many little variations are possible. Someone needs to snatch the FWA. Be a nice prize

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On 9/26/2020 at 4:35 PM, kukuzka1 said:

Someone needs to snatch the FWA. Be a nice prize

Duly noted, thanks. I'll add that to the list of all the other FWAs that MarkO will scoop me on. 

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