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Pete_H

Sherpa Pass as a Descent from Stuart North

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This past Thursday, Chris M and I climbed the CNR of Stuart starting from Mountaineers Creek TH. For the descent we traversed over to Sherpa Pass, and descended back into Mountaineers Creek regaining the climbers trail leading back to the main Stuart Lake trail.

 

This route is a viable option for descending from Stuart to the north later in the season when Sherpa Glacier is out of condition. Our path of travel, however, was not the most efficient as we traversed the rugged south face of Sherpa Peak looking for the best way across; taking us 3 hours from the top of Stuart to Sherpa Pass.

 

In hindsight, the best way to go would have been to directly descend the south facing gully from the notch at the base of the West Ridge of Sherpa Peak approximately 1200 vf to where it is easy to wrap around to the east under the majority of cliff bands that form the south side of Sherpa Peak. From there make a rising traverse east on treed and sandy slopes and benches until you can see Sherpa Pass; which will be about 30 minutes and approximately 300 vf higher. Continue rising traverse to the east to Sherpa Pass.

 

From Sherpa Pass the descent was very efficient, taking us only another 2 hours to gain Stuart Lake Trail. Descend the relatively gently snow slope and talus into the upper Mountaineers Crk Basin. Follow the Talus down into the lower Mountaineers Creek Basin to where talus turns into slide alder and brush. Keep the creek on your right and you will soon rejoin the Mountaineers Creek climbers trail. There were some sucky sections through here involving dead fall, large boulders, and slide alder, but they were relatively short.

 

If done efficiently, I would expect this descent route would take about 4 hours from the summit of Stuart back to Stuart Lake trail.

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You guys are fast. Very helpful info. It's a shame to pass on summiting Sherpa, but after climbing nearly 3000' of rock already who cares? Besides your way avoids a bivy.

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I didn't feel so fast yesterday Kyle. The Sherpa Pass descent is definately a good option for getting back to Mountaineers Creek and knocking that climb out in a easier day than heading south and out. As Pete said, drop all the way down before trying to traverse the gully's of hell over to the pass.

 

Sure liked the climb. Enjoyable climbing throughout.

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Originally I wanted to summit Sherpa too but the East Ridge would have been a lot of suck to descend.

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I thought the NW Buttress was a great descent for going back into North Stuart. I think if someone documented the descent it would be the best way to get back to the North side of Stuart from the summit as long as there isn't too much snow. Maybe the next time I climb the CNR I'll try to remember more about it and post something here.

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For those doing the Sherpa Pass descent later in the day: pons/axe will make your life a lot easier, as of 9/2 there is still snow that is kind of annoying to get around when it gets icy. Otherwise it's pretty fast.

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IMG_0066.JPG

 

Sherpa Glacier and environs on 09/01/11 from below Cashmere Mtn.

 

Pete, I stand properly corrected here.

 

All these years I thought Sherpa Pass was the low point between Sherpa Peak and Mt. Stuart (above the Sherpa Glacier). The CAG clearly indicates Sherpa Pass to be the low point between Sherpa and Argonaut Peaks. Sherpa Pass is well depicted from the Ingalls Creek side by Alpine Dave.

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Hey Dan

 

Thanks for the pic of the north side of Stuart, but that pic does not show Sherpa Pass which lies east of Sherpa Peak (between Sherpa peak and Argonaut). You may be confusing it with the Sherpa Glacier.

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mtneercreek_medow.jpg

 

Felt long when I did it, but what descent off Stuart isn't long? I think that the round trip via Teanaway is probably easier though.

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You guys are very fast! We used this descent route this weekend (after climbing Stuart via Sherpa Glacier). Our times were a bit longer, but we did make some mistakes that cost us time.

 

We didn't go all the way to the base of the West Ridge of Sherpa Peak before heading down the gully, so we had to meander our way through the gully to avoid cliffs and what not. Looking back at the top, the line from the base of the West Ridge down into the Gully looked good and would have saved us some time.

 

We couldn't find a good spot to head east to wrap around the cliff bands on the south side of Sherpa Peak. We ended up going farther down the gully before heading east. From there, we had about a 1000 vf traverse up to Sherpa Pass, where we camped for the night.

 

Yesterday morning, we left the pass and followed Mountaineers Creek down until we hit the meadow and rejoined the Stuart Lake trail. It was pretty rough travel, but we managed to make it through.

 

Our Times:

Stuart summit to Sherpa Pass- 6 hrs

Sherpa Pass to Stuart Lake trail- 3 hrs 45 min

 

So almost 10 hours compared to your 4...yes we are slow!

 

I'll be writing up a TR of our climb up Sherpa Glacier soon.

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Thanks for the report jstluise. That descent option is definitly circuitous and has the potential to be very time consuming. I hope your bivy wasn't too bad! At least Sherpa Pass is a nice spot. Look forward to your TR.

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Good job on pushing through. The trick is figuring out exactly where you can stop dropping down and cross over toward the pass.

 

You'd be fast too if you were drafting behind Pete "The Machine".

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Were you guys rock climbing your way around the south side to the pass? It seems like you had to have been, since we waited until we were below the rocks at the beginning of the tree line.

 

I think you guys are just plain fast, since you blew us out of the water on the descent from Sherpa Pass to the Stuart Lake trail. It felt like we were moving pretty good (given the conditions), so you guys must have been hauling! Good job!

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