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danhelmstadter

[TR] Mt. Stuart - Complete North Ridge 8/20/2010

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Trip: Mt. Stuart - Complete North Ridge

 

Date: 8/20/2010

 

Trip Report:

Dan Hilden and I climbed the full North Ridge on the 19 & 20th, Dan has been schlarping the classic Stuart Range climbs lately, most recently soloing Colchucks NE buttres just a few days ago. This was my first alpine rock climb, and it won't be my last.

 

We only stopped to belay two pitchs on the lower ridge, simul climbing the rest. We bivyed on scenic ledges just below the notch, and woke to a sunny warming day and continued simuclimbing up to the gendarm, where Dan led a pitch of 5.9 layback, then a pitch of 5.9 fistcrack/offwidth. Getting my feet started on the fistcrack was the crux of the route for me, and I'm stoked I didn't fall or have to pull on gear. I led the last bit of simulclimbing from above the gendarm to the summit (my only leed).

 

Clouds and breeze blessed us on the deproach down the rocky Cascadian gully, and back over Longs pass.

 

I hope the 8-mile area fire gets doused with some rain this weekend.

2381708940103935217S500x500Q85.jpg

 

Dan on easy ground

2061601430103935217S500x500Q85.jpg

 

approaching the gendarm

2191107530103935217S500x500Q85.jpg

 

Dan on the gendarm layback

2422000980103935217S500x500Q85.jpg

 

Getting started on the Offwidth with lots of air below.

2211127560103935217S500x500Q85.jpg

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Above the Gendarme there is a short, 5.8-ish wall to surmount before gaining easier terrain, must have been exciting to simul-climb through that. Nice job!

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What an amazing route. I've been talking about doing it for years but had never gotten around to it.

 

There was no snow where we bivied, so we made do for the night with what we had and stopped at the first snow we came across in the morning (at the notch) to make drinks. Feels like fall up there! I had a long, cold night in my ultralight sleeping bag, the worst in a couple of years.

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when I first saw the thread topic I thought I was going to read that you'd skied it! Awesome pick for a first alpine rock route, nice photos too. :tup:

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What approach did you take?

 

PLanning on going in this week via approach from esmeralda basin TH (ingalls lake). Wondering if I can leave the axe and pons at home. (ie snow conditions between goat and stuat pass)

 

Thx

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What approach did you take?

 

 

Thx

 

Hey Bstach, we were bivied at the notch while these guys were just below. There's no snow between stuart and goat passes. If you're crossing the stuart glacier to get to the notch, we did it carefully with one axe and a set of crampons between us.

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I've climbed that route 4 times and never once did I think crampons (aluminum over approach shoes) and axe (normally a small Grivel 3rd tool) were unnecessary. In fact, I've seen several parties turned away for not having brought them. I find it amusing that folks who " get away with it" one time on a warm day seem to always suggest that they won't be needed on future climbs. If the area just before notch is frozen, it will be very dangerous w/out points (fall = death). Bring lightweight axe and pons, skip the bivy kit and do it car-to-car.

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Bring lightweight axe and pons, skip the bivy kit and do it car-to-car.

 

Sounds like a long car to car climb. Any time estimates for a fairly fit desk jockey?

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I've climbed that route 4 times and never once did I think crampons (aluminum over approach shoes) and axe (normally a small Grivel 3rd tool) were unnecessary. In fact, I've seen several parties turned away for not having brought them. I find it amusing that folks who " get away with it" one time on a warm day seem to always suggest that they won't be needed on future climbs. If the area just before notch is frozen, it will be very dangerous w/out points (fall = death). Bring lightweight axe and pons, skip the bivy kit and do it car-to-car.

 

The "Complete" North ridge doesn't require crampons or an axe this time of year. The light version where you hike up the glacier to the notch probably requires an axe at least. I don't know why you'd skip a thousand feet of fun rock climbing though. Doing the CNR car to car is definitely possible, but would require some pretty serious fitness. Here's the elevation gain for the day, with about 3,000 feet of 5th class climbing in there:

 

http://www.econscience.org/summitpost/stuart_profile_med.jpg

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To get to the base of the CNR without snow gear just be sure to drop way down towards stuart lake once you cross under the west ridge. You can scramble down moraines and slabs to the base. We stayed high and used sharp rocks to get down and across some snow patches and it was somewhat warm so we were able to kick steps.

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Cascade badasses routinely do the CNR car-to-car in under 20 hours. It's always taken me (not a hardman, but cardio fit and can easily climb at the grade) longer. Sometimes much longer. If you're doing the CNR, it can take 7+ hours just to get on the rock from the Ingalls side approach.

 

The 50 Classics version is much shorter. Normal folks should be able to loop it in under 20 hours. That said, you WILL epic if you end up having to either climb the ridge or descend the Cascadian in the dark (makes Aasgard seem manicured). I would operate on the assumption that it will take normal folks about 5-6 hours to get to Goat Pass from the lot and about 2 hours to get on the Ridge from there. If you are likely to be challenged by the climbing and/or a slow hiker or both then expect it to take longer. One option is to approach via Long's and ditch your bivy gear at the Long's Pass/Ingall's Creek Trail junction. Going in this way won't cost you much extra time or vert (about an hour) and if you flash the route you can just grab your bivy kit on the way back to the car. More likely, you'll be very glad to use it when you get there. Good luck!

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