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reddirt

Stuart N Ridge S Approach & Enchantment Q's

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I have less than 2 weeks to plan my first PNW trip. Climbing time will be mid week. I'm flying 3000 miles to do this so I wanted to make sure of a few things.

 

How necessary are boots/spikes/axe for the last week of July (south approach, Sherpa Glacier or NW Butt if SG's melted out)?

 

Is Sherpa Glacier melted out yet?

 

Do I need a permit for Stuart? On summitpost it's listed under "Alpine Lakes", which according to the "2009 Alpine Lakes Wilderness Permit Information and Application" button on http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/wenatchee/passes/enchantments/ I get this pdf http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/wenatchee/passes/enchantments/enchantments-2009.pdf that shows Mt Stuart being right inside the border of the "permit needed" area. But it's not part of the highly coveted "Core Enchantment area".

 

Thanks a bunch!!

 

jpw

 

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You do not need an enchantments camping permit for Stuart.

 

You will not need crampons/axe/boots for the southern approach.

 

You would probably want all three for descending the Sherpa. I'd wager that late July there will be one or two open crevasses and the bergshrund will be somewhat open, but passable.

 

I don't have any recent beta on the condition of the Sherpa glacier, but I bet someone will speak up soon.

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the snow you will encounter on the Stuart Glacier and crossing below the west ridge face on your way to the north side of the peak can get very hard after a cold night. If you plan to cross it in the early morning, take crampons and ice axe. If you plan to cross in the afternoon, you probably could get away with not having either.

 

While you don't need permits to climb Stuart or camp at the base, you do need a Northwest Forest Pass to park at the trailheads. $5 for a one day I believe, available from most local gear shops and often at the trailhead too.

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the snow you will encounter on the Stuart Glacier and crossing below the west ridge face on your way to the north side of the peak can get very hard after a cold night. If you plan to cross it in the early morning, take crampons and ice axe. If you plan to cross in the afternoon, you probably could get away with not having either.

 

When the freezing level is >9000' (as it probably will be in late July), I don't think crispy snow will be an issue.

 

One trick is to grab a stick or a couple pointy rocks for the little snow traverse bits you will encounter getting to the base of the NR.

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Hey, I have a general Enchantments question: I've never been there before but I'm planning to head up there around the end of August or beginning of September when the larch are golden. I definitely want to go up to the "core Enchantment zone" and am interested in doing some scrambling on Little Annapurna, etc. (nothing technical - no ropes). In general, what are the conditions with respect to rockfall, overall rock sketchiness, etc.? Should I have a helmet? Are the little peaks up there fairly easy to summit, or are they more exposed scrambles? Any other relevant info appreciated. The area looks amazing!!

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Bosterson: http://tinyurl.com/mzy7mb

 

OK. Thanks so much for the responses on Stuart! Very helpful. Guidebooks en route.

 

Sounds like water availability for the way down isn't as much as an issue for as it might be for the way up.

 

I'm thinking we want to do the 15p direct lower ridge to the beginning of the 15-17p abbreviated start.Maybe I'm a wuss but I'm not super crazy about carrying more than 2-3L on a grade IV route for what sounds like 30 pitches. I've never done anything of this grade w/o water sources along the way. Then again, perhaps I'm over-thinking it. Any comments or suggestions re: water for the way up or spots to reload/melt snow etc would be super helpful.

 

Thanks again!!

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Your questions are very specific and hard to answer -- but generally, a lot of the "30 pitches" are simulclimbing ones, so it's hard to compare it to a 30-pitch route at a higher grade of climbing. There may be snow along the way, there may not ... 2-3 liters should be ample, and I bet you can refill off of the glacier or the Upper North Ridge shortly before you begin either one.

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Just got back from Stuart yesterday. Not much snow up there, but everyone we saw was happy to have crampons and ice axe for the few hundred feet of snow fields you must cross. It's pretty steep, and while not crispy it was firm through late AM, then slushy enough for slip-sliding into the boulder field.

 

If you're thinking Cascadian (especially on a weekend with lots of people), bring a helmet too.

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I'll echo the goatboy:

 

Most people only stop and belay a few pitches on the full N ridge (2 low on the lower NR, 2 at the gendarme, and one up higher). The rest is 4th class to 5.6 or 5.7, and this is where simulclimbing swiftly and safely is very helpful. It may be worthwhile to practice or at least talk about simulclimbing with your partner.

 

There should be water running near the base of the lower NR, and there should be snow near the top of the Cascadian. In between is a crapshoot. 2-3 liters should be ample, but even that sounds awfully heavy. Fast and light certainly has advantages.

 

Finally, WATCH the weather forecast. It can snow up there any time of year.

 

Enjoy!

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Nice "crappy" TR. Glad it was in 2006 & that there's def been precip since! Just a glimmer of hope of running into water is letting me psyched for this.

 

Bosterson, glad you didn't take the link too personally. I'm not looking since I only have a weeks worth of climb time & the possibilities too many : )

 

 

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