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JZickler

[TR] Mt. Stuart - Gorillas in the Mist 7/7/2012

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Trip: Mt. Stuart - Gorillas in the Mist

 

Date: 7/7/2012

 

Trip Report:

Scott Coldiron and I took advantage of the splitter weather this weekend and climbed this gem up the impressive West Wall of Mt. Stuart. We raced out of Spokane Friday evening after work and arrived at the trailhead around 11 pm. The parking lot was packed – not surprising given the great weather on a weekend following a holiday. After situating gear, we rolled out our sleeping bags in the parking lot and racked out for a few hours of sleep. Of course, I woke up 10 minutes before my calculator watch alarm chirped. After a quick breakfast of Dave’s Killer Bread, peanut butter and lukewarm coffee from the night before we hit the trail. We maintained a casual pace up to the trail and gained the pass just after daybreak and got our first glance of the route up the shady NW aspect. There’s still a tremendous amount of well-consolidated Spring snow in the Stuart Range making travel fast, easy and reasonable to do in lightweight approach or tennis shoes if you don’t mind slightly soggy feet at the end of the day. We made Stuart Pass at 7:30 and dropped down to the snowfield where our line was immediately visible. We scrambled up to the small ledge that marks the base of the route and flaked the rope and racked up. I took P1, the crux, up the splitter hand crack. The climbing was pretty cruiser until the last couple of awkward moves pulling on to the first big ledge. I set up the belay on a large ledge to the right of the “hanging corners” at the base of P2 and Scott quickly followed. From then on we switched leads, chatting about how fun and varied the climbing was when we met at each belay station. Blake provided some beta in the days prior that made route finding easy. This wall is highly featured and complex and having a route overlay with pitch descriptions was very helpful (thanks again Blake). By P8 the wall was in full sun and it began to get uncomfortably warm. Had we been a bit quicker we would have been rapping just as the sun hit. We hit the West Ridge and poked around looking signs of a rappel station with no luck so we built our own directly in line with where I thought the route began. On the second to last rap I slightly miscalculated where the ends would touch down and I was forced to hike the rope to where I could kick off the wall and swing over to a small tree I slung and redirected the ropes so Scott wouldn’t end up in the same position. Ascending the rope was the last thing I wanted to do after a long day. That said, ***DO NOT FOLLOW THE RAP LINE THAT STARTS WITH BLUE 6MM Cord!!!*** I promise it will ruin your day. The route description below is not mine – it’s copied directly from Mountain Project. It’s tits accurate.

 

P1 - 5.10+ or 5.11- Locate obvious hand and finger crack/splitter. A small ledge exists, maybe 15-25 feet above the snow or talus. Follow splitter to ledge, mantle, move right up yellow corner/chimney, and belay.

P2 - 5.9 Move left, up hanging corner, around an arete, up another hanging corner, left around another arete, and hand traverse left to bolted belay ledge.

p3 - 5.10+ Climb face holds up and left to 4" crack and slung flake/horn near large orange roofs. Follow diagonal cracks up and right to the continuation of the big corner. Might be easier in 2 pitches.

P4 - 5.10- Head up and slightly left, past Yosemite-style V-slot and finger cracks/stemming features.

p5 - 5.10 Up and Right on obvious features, past small tree, to belay on long, narrow ledge.

p6 - 5th - Move the belay rightward, well past a large detached flake. It may give the impression that the W. Ridge or top of the wall are very near. It's not.

p7 - climb up and right, mostly easy, with one 5.8ish spot 25' off the ledge. You want to get into a clean, grey, v-slot, chimney/gulley/groove.

p8 -5.8 Step right in the top of the V-groove, and follow the long corner for 60m of awesome 5.8 cracks and corners, even a small roof. Ends on finger cracks on a slab.

p9 - A short thin-hands splitter leads to lower angle ground, and one can keep climbing endless low 5th class to the summit, rappel the wall, or descend the West Ridge/West Ridge Gully.

 

Here’s a link to a few photos -https://picasaweb.google.com/Zickler1981/StuartWestWallGorillasInTheMist?feat=email

 

Gear Notes:

#1, 2 & 3 Mastercams, .5 to 2 C4s X2, 1 - #3 C4, yellow and purple Link Cams, set of nuts.

 

Approach Notes:

Tennis shoes

Edited by JZickler

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Sweet! Glad to see this climbed by someone i'm not friends with. One day this route will get the traffic it deserves as a mega-classic.

 

Just wait til you try the direct finish!

 

Still waiting for the one day ascent to the summit....

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