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[TR] Mt. Stuart: (winter ascent)- Complete North Ridge 12/24/2004


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According to CAJ v73, 1990, p 71: The upper ridge had a winter ascent prior to 1988.


Alex Frid and Jack Stewart climbed the FNR to the summit via an ice line apparently between the '63 Beckey start and the more common summer start (CAJ v70, 1990 p72-74). After reading their account, I give full credit to them for the first winter ascent of the Full North Ridge of Stuart.


And then this! 4) I think the main thrust of my reply was to reinforce the need to do research before making any claims. Wayne and DP did a fine climb, but unfortunatly marred their trip report with a claim which can be construed as nebulous.


It appears that someone isn't very good at "research". yellaf.gifyellaf.gif How do you know what WE researched? wave.gif STFU!!!! moon.gif

Edited by David_Parker
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  • 1 year later...

Hi Off,

Just found this site last night and it was realy quite fun to find myself in it in various forms, Canadian, Jack Steuart etc! Just for the record, it was Alex Frid and I that made an attempt on the upper ridge in December of 1988. We were too squeemish at the time to say it was a first ascent attempt and honestly figured we could not possibly be the first, so we said "attempted the second winter asscent". It was a very memerable experience and was good training for the trip we took to Patagonia the following winter together.


As for the route that Jack Lewis and I did, I dont think we ever realy thought of it as "the official, complete, first ascent of the north ridge in winter" It was an ascent of the north ridge (as a feature) and a wonderful climb. When we stood at the base the day we hiked in and saw the iced gully to the west of the "regular" route the choice between aiding up dry, snow covered cracks or moving over perfect ice, was a no brainer. We wanted the best, most interesting climb we could put together.


Are you getting into the mountains much these days? It has been some time for me. (several years, broken leg, being a parent, etc...) All the Best. See you around Olympia. George.

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Howdy Senor Sharrett-


A couple years before you guys did Surrogate Panama my partner and I tried for the first time getting in there to do the lower ridge. That ended up in failure due to illness, but was also the first of 10 or 11 trips in there to try various things, including the lower ridge. I've got to say that your CAJ article contributed in part to this addiction, particularly the photo of Jack in this killer iced-up goulotte. That was some inspiring shit!


Cheers man,


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Stuart's North Ridge in Winter

By Dougald MacDonald


Taking full advantage of fine conditions, Mark Bunker and Colin Haley did the first winter ascent of the complete North Ridge of Mount Stuart in Washington state. One of the North Cascades' great classics, the North Ridge requires nearly 3,000 feet of superb, remote granite climbing. Bunker, 42, had attempted the winter ascent five times previously over 17 years with Don Preiss before teaming up with Haley, 20. The two tried the route once in December but retreated from halfway up in deep snow and severe weather.


This time, a warm spell and rain followed by a deep freeze had set up the snow perfectly. The two approached the route on their first day and bivied at the base, then climbed two aid pitches and fixed their ropes. On the third day, they jugged the ropes, tossed one down, and continued on mostly dry rock to the North Ridge Notch. After a third bivy, they aided the crux Great Gendarme pitches and continued up easier ground in the dark, reaching the summit at 11:15 p.m. They downclimbed the Sherpa Glacier Couloir, retrieved the gear left at the first bivy site, and hit the sack after 3 a.m.


Bunker and Haley have formed a superb partnership over the past few years, completing the first full traverse of the Southern Pickets in the Cascades in 2003, with Wayne Wallace, and the second full Waddington Traverse in British Columbia in 2004.


This was on the Climbing web page... Sounds like it' been done...

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And this, in the first person with more details


Mount Stuart, Full North Ridge, Winter Ascent


On February 19, 2005, Mark Bunker and I left the car at around 6:00 am and hiked all the way to the bivy boulder in around 6.5 hours. On Sunday we slept in then fixed the first three pitches with two ropes.


The next morning we left the base at 6:00 am and began jugging the ropes. We chucked one of the ropes after jugging it and we also left one of our sleeping bags at the base. We made much better time on the lower ridge than we had back in December, arriving at the notch just as it got dark. We kicked out a small platform for the tent (BD Firstlight), and shared the sleeping bag that night with a special "V" of nylon Mark had made to be zipped into the bag. This system worked great. It is obviously light, but quite warm as well.


On Tuesday morning we didn’t leave the notch until 7:30 am. We made good time on most of it, arriving at the base of the Great Gendarme at around 12:45 pm. The first pitch of the gendarme was straightforward aid climbing, but still time-consuming, of course. The second pitch took a long time (we finished leading it right as it got dark) and was quite challenging because our biggest cam was a #3 Camalot and more significantly because most of the cracks were totally choked with ice. The second jugged with two packs on the gendarme pitches so that the leader could climb without one. The remaining four pitches went fast except for the “5.8 crack”, which was also time-consuming aid. We finally topped out at 11:15 pm. Then came the straightforward descent down the Sherpa Glacier. We pitched the tent down in the boulders. Mark starting melting water and making dinner while I hiked back up to the base to get our rope and sleeping bag. We didn’t get to sleep until around 3:00 am and then slept in until about 10:30.


-Colin Haley



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