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bedellympian

[TR] Mt. Stuart - Complete North Ridge 8/25/2013

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Trip: Mt. Stuart - Complete North Ridge

 

Date: 8/25/2013

 

Trip Report:

Travis Holman and I hiked in to climb the CNR on Sunday Aug 25th. It rained a bit on the approach but we were optimistic the weather would improve the next day, or at least the day after that. It did not.

 

We bivied near the base of the ridge and started climbing Monday morning with the intention of summiting and starting the descent that day. The day started clear but soon socked in. We had some route finding difficulties. It rained a bit but not too bad. We got to the Great Gendarme around 7:30pm. I pulled on some gear to speed stuff up. It started snowing while I was on the OW pitch. We found a bivy ledge just past the Gendarme.

 

The next morning the visibility was even worse. We eventually found the summit and the descent cairns. Maybe we are just used to Oregon choss and scree but the Cascadian seemed really easy and we were both puzzled as to why people complain about it so much. The cairns lead right into it and some loose talus up high quickly resolves to a well defined trail through the scree. We both thought that climbing South Sister via the trail on its south side is just as bad or worse.

 

I would also like to thank those climbers who choose to use brand-new, light-weight biners for retreating from this route. I have 5 nice new biners and Travis has quite a few also!

 

Here is my blog post with more pics and details...

 

Mountain Mischief

 

Gear Notes:

single rack from small to #4 camalot, lots of alpine draws, 60m rope, a rain fly for bivies, no pons or axes were taken and we didn't regret that decision at all

 

Approach Notes:

Ingalls to Goat Pass, descent via Cascadian and Long's Pass

 

bottom of n ridge

IMG_8594.JPG

 

sherpa peak

IMG_8602.JPG

 

sherpa and ice cliff glaciers

IMG_8603.JPG

 

rap tat near our bivy, which we used to get back on route

IMG_8608.JPG

 

me on the summit in stellar conditions

IMG_8619.JPG

Edited by bedellympian

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Nice adventure! I went down the Cascadian a few weeks ago, and while I agree it's not as bad as reputed, if you had to hike up the Ingall's Creek trail to get to the Long's Pass turnoff, you went down the south shoulder trail, not the Cascadian. I went down the south shoulder trail earlier this summer, and it was quite a bit better than the Cascadian (but, the Cascadian is still faster). The Cascadian trail breaks off W/SW from the main trail down from the false summit at around 8k and currently connects directly to the Long's turnoff. I say "currently", because the bottom of that "trail" gets overgrown and re-established every year.

Edited by Good2Go

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Ah, you are probably right, we did have to hike up Ingalls Crk to reach the Long's Pass trail. I was really blown away by how much people complain but that makes much more sense.

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Although after rereading the description in the Nelson/Potterfield Guide I think that we were in the Cascadian. His description matches perfectly with the snow field and also the sandy trail in the couloir. Since the Cascadian is not actually labeled on maps its possible that it's become a matter of climber opinion which is the "real" Cascadian? Who really decides these things anyway? Fred Beckey? My main point: follow the cairns to the sandy trail and the descent is pretty easy.

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I got off route on the backside of the gendarme. I'd heard there was a rap so I traversed right early and did some shitty climbing on lichen covered loose rock. is the rap mandatory or is it an easy downclimb? I didn't bother to check it out once I passed it.

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Keenan: where the rap is would difficult to downclimb to the gully; slightly overhung with not good feet or hands. We left new webbing and a locker on it last month. The first time I climbed this route we stayed lower and didn't need to rap.

 

Sam: Nice job on the route. It is definitely a big one. I'd recommend doing it again in a couple years to see how much you've improved. It is a good litmus test.

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One does have to hike up the Ingalls' Creek trail to get to the log crossing and up to long's pass after descending the Cascadian Couloir. I think the litmus test is if the descent sucks because it is steep and crappy and may have some rappels it is Ulrich's Couloir, if the descent sucks because it is loose scree and boulders it is the Cascadian, if it doesn't suck it is the ridge between Sherpa basin and Mount Stuart.

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Keenan: The rap tat in my photo was next to our bivy ledge. In the dark we climbed up behind the GG a full pitch to find our bivy. I believe that if we had continued traversing from the top of the GG's OW we could have reached our same location that we did after the rap (Nelson/Potterfield don't mention a rap). From the bottom of the bivy rap it was another pitch to the notch and base of the 5.8/5.9 crack/headwall. Not sure if that is what you wanted to know? Maybe you topped out the GG? We didn't do that.

 

Kevin: Thanks man. I was stoked to get it done and felt it was a good experience for me at this point. Maybe next time I'll do it in winter!

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sounds like I went the right way, I was just wondering if the hundred feet of licheny loose rock was avoidable. It sounds like it's not.

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How long does it take to get from the car via the Ingalls pass etc to base of direct north ridge? We're planning on simuling (grigri and t-blocks) everything 5.8 and under and wondering if car to car in 1 day would be do-able.

 

chris

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Yes it is doable. We did the complete north ridge in I think 19 hours last year. Frieh did it in something stupid like 12 or 14 hours.

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Yes but i think that most if not all that are doing it that fast: pitch out the first two and the gendarme and solo the rest. Take a light rack no pons or Axe, and no over night gear other than a light puff and have done it before. But I could be wrong.

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