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catbirdseat

[TR] Mount Stuart - Upper North Ridge Including Great Gendarme 7/27/2007

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Trip: Mount Stuart - Upper North Ridge Including Great Gendarme

 

Date: Saturday, 7/28/2007

 

Trip Report:

Neverenough (John), Jennifer, Larry and I left the Ingalls Lake TH on Friday and hiked to Goat Pass arriving about an hour before sunset in company with a threesome from Seattle, Ann, Steve and Ken.

 

We might have liked to get across the Stuart Glacier that day while the snow was soft, but we knew a party was ahead of us with limited sites at the notch, and the sites were so comfy looking we bivied there at Goat Pass.

 

After a chilly night, the snow on the glacier was rock hard at 4:30 am so we skittered down rocks to get on the glacier lower down where the slope was moderate. Arriving at the notch after a two hour traverse, we found a party of four, validating our decision to stay put at Goat Pass. The Notch has two, two person sites and a couple of inferior smaller ones.

 

Shortly after we set off, at least two more parties arrived, one that set out at 2:30 am from the TH and one that had bivied at Ingalls Basin. We were quickly passed by all but two rope teams.

 

We reached the Gendarme around noon with a bit of a lineup so we enjoyed lunch and views as we waited. The two Gendarme pitches went uneventfully and I thought they were quite thrilling and enjoyable. We hauled packs: the leader's using a haul line and the second's using the rope. My ice axe extended above my pack and kept catching on things. Next time, I'll haul it upside down or get a shorter axe.

 

We topped out at about 5 pm with only the Seattle party behind us and one other far below, which had started very late. We scrambled down the right branch of the Cascadian Couloir, which we reached by going over and around the false summit, except for me. I downclimbed the slabs. It wasn't worth the risk for the 15 minutes it saved, but it was kind of fun actually.

 

The Cascadian Couloir was the usual dusty, boring, interminable slog it always is. We reached the nice campsites below Long's Pass about an hour after dark and slept very comfortably. The hike out in the morning was cool, easy and pleasant with lots of wildflowers to enjoy on the way.

 

Sorry but no cameras were taken.

 

Gear Notes:

Single cams from 1/2" to 4" Friends, doubles in Green to Yellow Camalots. The #3.5 and #4 Clogs (=Friends) protected the offwidth on the Gendarm perfectly. Brought too many nuts. Hardly used them. I'd suggest just a handful from #5 to #10.

 

Bivy sacks and down jackets, no stoves. Crampons or instep crampons.

 

Approach Notes:

Last snow is in the gully below the notch. There is some snow just below the summit, not far off the descent route. There is no snow in the Cascadian Couloir, right fork.

 

Mosquitoes were terrible at Ingalls Lake, but not bad anywhere else.

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I think, we've chatted with you and Jennifer at the summit.

We climbed the West Ridge this Saturday.

 

Really nice job, congratulations!

 

Oleg

 

 

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Ah, yes, pleasant time to be on the summit. I hope the photos I took of you turned out well. Had I known who you were, I might have asked you to take a shot of Jenni and I.

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Thanks. The pictures turned out great - we'll have them posted shortly. We had some more adventures coming down the Cascadian Couloir :)

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Good to see you up there CBS. Little Gorilla and i were the ones camped at near Ingalls Lake. LG had the idea to climb ingalls the next day, which of course we had no motivation to do.

we hiked up behind the 2 car to car guys. crossing the glacier with crampons on approach shoes was interesting. we simul climbed all the way to the pillar, passing everyone and getting up the pillar first. we happened upon CBS and partner chilling on a ledge partway up, they looked a little bored waiting for their second party.

we were pretty tired and pitched it out to the summit at 2pm. after the brutal hike down i was wishing we had camped at the base of the couloir. anyways 2 hrs later and a ton of mosquito bites we were back at camp.

 

post climb breakfast in cle elum was the place to be. great climb & awesome rock. the pillar had 2 great pitches with some nice exposure.

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Nice to meet you guys in the parking lot. I was the 4th from Seattle that bailed after bonking hard in the heat. Congrats to each of you!

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Thanks. The pictures turned out great - we'll have them posted shortly. We had some more adventures coming down the Cascadian Couloir :)
Oleg, when I sent you off following the cairns, I didn't know what you'd find after the false summit. When I'd been there before it was June and the slabs were covered with snow. One could put on crampons and walk down. This time, it was bare rock. It was quite appalling to look at. I assume that you found the way up and around the false summit to the other side of the slab?

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Nice work CBS. :brew:

 

Sounds like a fun trip. The lower NR is worth putting on your list as it has some excellent climbing too.

 

Cheers,

Rad

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We followed a trail for a short while traversing towards the Cascadian Couloir, then saw the slab and didn't like it. We climb back up about 200 ft and over the ridge down to the snowfield. After we crossed the snowfield, we followed a sandy trail all the way to the trees. In a little while we saw a trail dropping steep down. We decided to traverse right (climber's left) and ended up in the dense forest. At this point we had to downclimb bushes heading straight south - until we hit the Ingalls Trail.

Any idea where we lost the exit from the couloir?

 

 

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We followed a trail for a short while traversing towards the Cascadian Couloir, then saw the slab and didn't like it. We climb back up about 200 ft and over the ridge down to the snowfield. After we crossed the snowfield, we followed a sandy trail all the way to the trees. In a little while we saw a trail dropping steep down. We decided to traverse right (climber's left) and ended up in the dense forest. At this point we had to downclimb bushes heading straight south - until we hit the Ingalls Trail.

Any idea where we lost the exit from the couloir?

 

Sounds like you went down the left fork of the couloir? We went down the right. The sandy trail ends up turning into a rocky wash for a while, and then several washes. If you stay in the right most one, eventually you'll come to place where there are cairns and a trail heading off right into the trees and much easier going.

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Nice work CBS. :brew:

 

Sounds like a fun trip. The lower NR is worth putting on your list as it has some excellent climbing too.

 

Cheers,

Rad

I have to agree with you, but we felt this was the best choice at this time, considering this was Jenni's first alpine rock climb leading.

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I've got to say that the lower section really isn't all that great. It is nothing like the upper in terms of quality. However it makes for a big day so if that's what you are after then go for it. Granted I've never climbed only the upper, and have done the complete twice now so what the hell do I know.

 

If you (or someone in your party) was the owner of the 8 ball, I talked to you in the parking lot. I was in the "late" party.

 

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Would one of you who was recently up there mind marking this elusive "non-slab" descent to save us some time? :) I'm going next weekend but have only been up there in the snow.

 

Also, how is the creek for crossing on our way to Long's Pass?

 

Thanks!

 

untitled1.JPG

 

Edited by ClimbingPanther

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Would one of you who was recently up there mind marking this elusive "non-slab" descent to save us some time? :) I'm going next weekend but have only been up there in the snow.

 

Also, how is the creek for crossing on our way to Long's Pass?

 

Thanks!

 

 

I would just say cross over the ridge to the Cascadian just below the false summit, stay off the snow, and as you head down, stay to the right of the big black pillar. The route in the lower couloir is crappier than usual, probably due to washouts. Creek crossing is not an issue.

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This map shows where the slabs are and how to avoid them. It shows the descent down the shorter but steeper right fork of Cascadian Couloir. I am told that the left fork is easier going, but I have not done it myself.

Mount_Stuart_North_Ridge.JPG

Before anyone says anything, I'm now pretty sure I located Goat Pass incorrectly.

Edited by catbirdseat

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Black tower is at the top of the ridge where the red line veers descender's right at elevation 7500.

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Hmm. We found a little squeeze tunnel in the ridge well below the false summit, marked with a large cairn on the ridge top. After the tunnel was a small, crappy ridge that led down to the Cascadian, which had snow in it at the time(rap slings at the top).

 

Not sure if that descriptor makes sense but...where are these slabs in relation to that? Perhaps under what was snow for us?

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I agree with Lizard.

 

The first time I descended Stuart we went down those upper slabs farther down the ridge line. We ended up downclimbing past rap stations and scrambling down dirty 4th class to snow. I will not do that again. Last time we dropped off the shoulder/false summit very high and that was much better.

 

Creek crossing is a non-issue. You will welcome the water at that point!

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nice trip. we're headed up this weekend, possibly for the full ridge. did you guys run across any snow patches and/or water trickles on route?

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Snow patches on the approach gully to the notch, below the summit (with a trickle), and below the false summit, and that's about it. No water at all on the ridge unless you bypass the Great Gendarme. You might be able to find a trickle below the slabs above Cascadian Couloir.

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