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[TR] Stuart - West Ridge 8/16/2008

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Nice adventure. My first (and only) trip up the W ridge was a marathon outing as well, starting at 5:00am from camp below Ingalls lake and returning to the same spot the following 2am.


We learned a lot of lessons on that outing. I look forward to going back at some point.

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Sweet! Brought back some memories from my own trip up there in early June of '05. Last trip in the Cascades before the three year sentence/exile commenced.


I was wondering how things were going over there smoke wise, as we looked on from Condor Buttress in the AM, where things went from late-70's Vegas-Lounge air-quality to nice and clear in the space of a couple of hours when the wind changed directions.


Hot(!) Out there this weekend. The heel-rubber on my old pair of 5.10 Ascent's started to melt off on the descent...





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I was going to do this route a couple weeks ago with some friends but the weather looked shitty for a summit bivy. Also looks like I should read more about it to diminish route-finding confusion. Or maybe I shouldn't read anything and just climb.


Anyway, we ended up doing the east ridge of North Ingalls and saw the fire right around the time it started. Ran into a ranger on the way out with a shovel. He said he had put up a sign to stay away and that the fire had mostly burned itself out. Lets just hope his job didn't depend on him being right!

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Trip: Stuart - West Ridge


Date: 8/16/2008




At LJT we dug out our route descriptions. Go left and it's low class 5, go right and it's class 4. The other party said it was "easy" class 3/4 in their description, so we opted to get a closer look.

Break time. Pull out route descriptions again.



From here I went straight up in the direction Paul is facing. This put me on top of the point directly above LJT.

It was easy hiking, 3rd and a tiny bit of 4th all the way to the notch at the base of the main summit pyramid. I went n of the ridge until dropping toward the notch and then dropped a little bit to the s.



So I was on the other side of the ridge on the LEFT side of this frame a lot of the time. I may have crossed over and back a couple times.

Looking at your pic, I went left of the ridge and came onto your red line at the bottom of its left most point. Then I pretty much followed your line.

Edited by Bug

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Ahhh...like a lot of other folks, reminds me of my experience on that ridge. I bivied near the summit and had some great views from the top at sunrise.

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Excellent TR and photos, 5K. I thought FWB was the famous one all along until your more recent post. I want to pass on some Cascadian descent info toward Long's Pass, but have to do a little chest-beat as well since this summer I'm mostly living off my own past trips and other's adventures.


My first time on the WR was with another first-timer, and was one of my better days in the mountains, on a dry October weekend in about '94. Was worried about getting off-route and bivying since that's what happened to almost all friends who'd done it, and we had a Saturday of stellar blue-sky high-pressure weather before a major low pressure system was forecasted to move in by Sunday afternoon.


From the Ingalls Lake side, we climbed straight up to the West Ridge, never traversing underneath it toward LJT. Turned out to be loads of fun. One of the last moves to gain the top of the ridge was an awkward (especially with small pack) 5.8 mantle with an angled roof in the way. Once on top of the ridge proper, we hopped back and forth on it to gain the West Horn just above Ulrich's Couloir, with a great view of the summit pyramid.


From there took a lunch/snack break and could see the 2-person party we met in the parking lot before sunrise. One was a smaller guy who had confidently identified himself as "Fred." I just knew it wasn't Beckey. Anyway, they were pitching it out at the top of Ulrich's to gain a big belay ledge at the bottom of the summit pyramid. From where we sat, it was an easy scramble to the couloir, and from there I could see a right-to-left (south-to-north) horizontal traverse along ledges that would take us in one pitch to the base of the summit pyramid, and the same spot Fred and his partner were trying to get to in two pitches from the north side of the top of Ulrich's.


My competitive side took over and we tried to beat Fred to this single obvious ledge that started the pitches up the summit block. I was just about to pull over at the end of my pitch when Fred, with big, full-shanked leather mountain boots, popped around his corner on the opposite side: I was bummed because I knew we'd have to follow this slower team to the summit.


Turned out we could barely keep up, as this Fred--leading all the way--could climb exceptionally well with his big boots, and it looked like he knew the route.


Once on top, I embarrasingly asked Fred about the Cascadian Coulior descent. No problem, he said, he knew it well and we were welcome to descend with them: he was even going to try and find a new trail off the Cascadian that would cut off time, established the previous weekend by a friend of his also named Fred.


Okay, I had to ask: what is your last name? Turned out it was Fred Stanley himself--THE man of Mt. Stuart, and North Cascades climbing rescues--and his friend was Fred Dunham. I almost bowed to him in reverence.


Even then Fred Stanley was in his mid-60s, and hopped down the Cascadian like a goat. We couldn't keep up with him, but we all had to wait for his youngish twenty-something partner. :/


At a point about two-thirds of the way down the couloir, Fred started looking for a trail toward the west that would traverse the hillside toward Long's. Sure enough, his eagle eyes spotted boot tramples and turned alder leaves where Dunham and party had passed previously. Saved us at least an hour on the descent, and I presume the trail is well beaten in by now.


We all had climbed the West Ridge (Fred and partner via Ulrich's, my partner and I via the entire WR) in 19 hours car-to-car, getting back at 11 pm. Slow by Fred's standards; we were just happy we hadn't bivied. We drove out early the next morning and had a killer Sunday breakfast before driving the rest of the way home. A low pressure system moved in that afternoon as promised, and dumped four feet of snow over the next 36 hours for the first dump of the winter season. I felt like a very successful thief.


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