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mtnear

TR: Stuart West Ridge (7 Jun 2003)

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My bro & I joined up with Capt. Amazing (avater = Tod) for a run up Stuart's West Ridge. Came in Long's Pass with a bivy ~5400 ft near Ingalls Creek below the route. Nice warm night for a bivy! Approach gully to the shoulder not bad, thin in spots - motored up kicking steps. Near the top of the ridge enjoyed class 4 and low 5 scrambling to gain the ridge... got a little off route but not too bad, lost maybe 45 minutes. Recommend taking Beckey description plus 1 other this time of year. After that mostly a long traverse of alternating snow fields and more class 4-5 scrambling; couple of nice exposed spots, always fun with a pack. cool.gif

 

Soloed the whole trip with the exception of the last summit block pitch (5.7-ish?) - lots of harder variations available. Overall a nice, fun route. Thanks Capt Amazing for the route finding ability!

rockband.gif

Could be done in a day traveling fast and light. I found it a little longer, slower, and hotter than planned. No speed demons here but no turtles either. Left bivy 5AM, summit 4:00PM, car at 8:30PM. Nobody else on route but saw a group of 4 ascended West Coulour late in the afternoon - assumed they were planning a bivy. Descended Ulrich's, smart choice. Shorter and less dirtier than Cascadian. In the basin high water flow in the creek... crossings few and far between... we picked a nice "Fear Factor" tree crossing. smile.gif

 

Bring an axe, no need for plastics or crampons in this weather. Some chocks, small cams and long slings should suffice. Ridge is long and hot, take lots of water or suffer.

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i personally think that making a judgement of the amount of snow on the north ridge from the west ridge would be a bit tricky and not really helpful if one wants to go climb the north ridge in the immediate future...just my opinion tho. bigdrink.gif

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There wasn't much of a view of the North Ridge. However, from what we could see the steeper sections of the north side of Stuart, that side of the mountain seems to be mostly snow free. When we ventured out onto the north side from the upper West Ridge it was pretty clean with only snow sticking to gulleys below. The climb from the glacier to the North Ridge notch would probably hold the most snow, after that it's probably okay. If it's not good now it'll probably be good real soon! cool.gif

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We were the group of 4 coming up the West Ridge Couloir that mtnear mentioned. He was right, we enjoyed a planned bivy on top. I did take a look at the North Ridge from near the false summit. It looks to have maybe a bit less snow on it than it did last year when a partner and I climbed it on about June 15. The snow created no real climbing problems then on most of the route (we stayed in boots all the way to the gendarme), but I wouldn't go up there right now unless you are ready to do the direct finish on the gendarme, which is what we did. Last year those pitches were bare and dry, but the standard finish looked very difficult due to the amount of ice you'd have to deal with following the rappel. For what it's worth, there is FAR less snow on the summit right now than last year in mid-June.

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So, since folks are asking about the north ridge, can the bivy site below the gendarme accommodate a Bibler I-tent? And ya, ya, light and fast; but two bivy sacks and extra layers for two people = I-tent. And I am not saying that's what our party will carry.

 

Thanks in advance for a response. smirk.gif

 

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Not to my recollection. There's a fair ledge at the end of the hand traverse, about a pitch below the gendarme, but I don't think it's I-tent shaped.

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There are a couple of ledges below the hand traverse, each just about big enough for one person. You'll not get a Bibler on either of them, we slept on separate ledges. The only ledges I think you might get a Bibler on are the ones around the notch at top of the couloir, but I may have missed some others.

 

 

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Thank guys. I've not had to bivy-sac before, always doing either one-day climbs or multiday trips were I could find a place for a small tent. I guess I borrow or find a cheap sac on ebay or something.

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You are not missing anything, I've just not completely timed out the route via the map & guidebook yet. But my first read through the guide book says "most people will not do the route in one-day." Hence the conideration of the bivy site. But perhaps the guide merly implies most will not do the route car-to-car in a day, and that one simple bivies at the toe of the ridge the night before.

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vegetablebelay said:

Am I missing something? Why plan a bivy there? confused.gif

 

Well, its a great bivy. I spent the night at the end of the hand traverse with my son on his first alpine climb, it was a great night's sleep in a cool place.

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HernyG said:

You are not missing anything, I've just not completely timed out the route via the map & guidebook yet. But my first read through the guide book says "most people will not do the route in one-day." Hence the conideration of the bivy site. But perhaps the guide merly implies most will not do the route car-to-car in a day, and that one simple bivies at the toe of the ridge the night before.

 

Car-to-car in a day is pushing it for the average team, however there is really no reason you shouldnt summit on day1. If you get an early enough start, you can approach from Esmerelda basin to the notch on NR in about 6 hours. After that, allow around 6-8 hours on the route to the summit, if you by-pass the Gendarme. If you do Gendarme, add an extra hour or two. Regardless, you can be on top the first day, and there are nice bivy spots on the summit. The route is very straight forward, and the difficult sections are short. The route is also shorter than guidebooks might lead you to believe.

 

Theres a few different strategies:

car-to-car in a day

into Goat Pass day 1, bivy, up over and out day2

into the notch day1, bivy, up over and out day2

to the Gendarme day1, bivy, ...

to the summit day1, bivy, ...

 

As far as a Bibler, dont take it. There are not spots large enough on the ridge, really, except the large platform at the base of the rappel off the NR into the gully at the base of the Gendarme, and this is exposed to rock and icefall so not a great place to linger. If you have fine weather, the bivy will be awesome.

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Alex said:

Theres a few different strategies:

car-to-car in a day

into Goat Pass day 1, bivy, up over and out day2

into the notch day1, bivy, up over and out day2

to the Gendarme day1, bivy, ...

to the summit day1, bivy, ...

 

More than one party has opted for one of these strategies, and found theirselves out for an extra night. One pair I used to know found the climb more serious than they had expected, and they didn't even make it back on day three! Don't underestimate Mt. Stu.

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Actually, there is one I failed to mention but worked out well enough for my friends Dennis and Jeff:

 

day 1 Camp at Stuart Pass (no water).

day 2 - no bivy gear, go up, over and back to Stuart Pass. morning of day 3, hike out. Its a long day, but you only carry climbing gear, no bivy gear. The final grind back up to Stuart Pass is a bitch, but at least you dont have to go all the way out.

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One more option is to approach from the N, camp in the upper Mountaineer Creek Basin, and descend the Sherpa Glacier.

 

One time with a very slow party of three we camped in the Mountaineer Basin, reached the top at dark and did an unplanned bivi. My partners called for a car at the Teanaway and I hiked back around Stuart and Goat Passes to our camp where I found that a snafflehound had eaten our remaining food. They came back a week later to get their gear.

 

Many years ago I went in thru Lk Stuart, crossed the Stuart Glacier, bivied at the notch between the upper and lower ridge and descended to my waiting wife (and cooler) on the south side. Requires two cars or a shuttle.

 

Probably the worst part about climbing the N ridge is figuring out how you are going to do it.

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I have done it three ways.

Up Mountaineer crk day1. Up and over and out Ingalls day2. OK but need a shuttle.

Up Mountaineer crk day1. Bivy above gulley day 2. Around Sherpa pass and back up mountaineer and all the way out. day3. This way really sucks. Especially with a slow partner.

Up to Stuart Lk Friday evening. Day 1/2. Summit, and descend W Ridge couilour and traverse west and back to Stuart lk and out Day2. Long day 2 could be broken up obviously.

I prefer the Stuart lk approach because the trail is obvious and can be hiked at night.

I prefer the W Ridge descent because it drops you about 3.5 miles from lk Stuart. 2 short raps off the summit block and 3rd & 4th class down the (dry) gulley. The only hard work involved is traversing from stuart pass to Jack ridge.

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YOu can probably pitch an I tent around the 5-6th pitches. I remember some large ledges.

 

The bivy spot 2 pitches below Gendearme is really small. only good for bivy sacks.

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Wow - thanks for the extra information guys! There is a lot there to digest. Over the years, I've actually found these planning decisions to be part of the fun of mountaineering. Such as how much HCL.gif to have along, for instance.

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i like not making those decisions... then i end up taking a lot less shit and get in a lot more trouble... and we all know that trouble = fun! yellaf.gifwazzup.gif

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