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[TR] Mount Stuart - Upper North Ridge W/Gendarme 7/10/2015


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Trip: Mount Stuart - Upper North Ridge W/Gendarme


Date: 7/10/2015


Trip Report:

On July 10th, Ian, Ryan and I set off for the North Ridge of Mount Start as part of the Boealps ICC. We had originally planned on completing the full North Ridge, but had to change plans to the Upper Ridge when our 4th had to pull out the morning of due to an injury. We left the cars at 3:30 on Friday and started the long hike to Goat Pass.




No trip to ingalls is complete without some goats




Hiking around the lake




Last scree field to Goat Pass


The trail was hot and featured more ups and downs than my tired legs want to remember. We refilled water at Ingalls Lake and continued around towards Stuart’s West side. After skirting the lake, we dropped a little too far into the next basin and had to climb back up to the ridgeline to Stuart Pass. The entire approach was snow free but certainly wasn’t goat free, they are everywhere as always around Ingalls area.


We reached Goat Pass (no goats to be found here) at 8pm and decided to stop there for the night and refill water. We could see movement at the notch of the upper North Ridge and knew we would have company on the route. We melted snow to refill and hit the hay quick as the bugs were pretty relentless.




Beta photo for those doing the full ridge, you can easily get down without an ax or crampons




Stars over Stuart




Cool purple glow coming from either cities to the west or perhaps distant glow of the sun.


Alarms at 5am and walking by 5:30, we descended to the rock glacier and crossed over to the Stuart Glacier. Crossing the Stuart Glacier was straight forward, though a little sketchier than I expected. It did not freeze overnight and so our aluminum crampons on approach shoes; while completely sufficient; required some careful steps on the steep start and end of the glacier. In those snow conditions, falling was not an option. The step across to the gully is melting out fast, we found an easy snow bridge to step across but you could see where it was starting to get undercut. You can leave the axes at home if you are doing the complete ridge, there are clear rock paths leading down to the base.








Alpenglow on the approach and North Ridge




Bugs were pretty bad, make sure to bring them a sacrifice




Stuart Glacier




A little steep getting into the gully, but not hard


The gulley to the notch has a little snow in places, but it is easily avoided. We reached to notch and the base of the route at 6:30 and were simulclimbing up the ridge by 7. About 3 pitches up, we caught up with a group of Mazamas out of Portland that had climbed the lower ridge the day before and bivy’d at the notch. We slowed our pace so as not to crowd them as we couldn’t see a good way to pass. We pitched out the 5.7 at the start of the route, one short section of mid-5th in the middle and the famous slab with a crack but simulclimbed everything else.




Leading out




Clouds being held at bay by the ridgeline








The views did not disappoint




Not much left of the ICG




The famous slab with a crack, but here comes the clouds



We reached the base of the Gendarme at 11am just as a cloud layer encompassed the peak and the temps dropped, so much for the view. At about 2pm, the Mazamas had finished hauling their packs and left the ledge between pitch 1 and 2 and we sent Ian up the 5.9 lieback. Ryan and I followed with our packs on to save time. I personally found the lieback harder than the offwidth but that might have been due to the weight and my preference for crack climbing. There is a fixed #1 on the traverse of the 2nd pitch and the fixed #4 is still in place. Our leader actually finished the 2nd pitch without placing our #4.





Base of the Gendarme looking at pitch 1




Mazamas on route




Friendly Mazamas pack haulin




Ryan is a little cold




Now cold and sad




At the belay ledge between the Gendarme pitches








Coming to the belay alcove of pitch 2




Breaking back out of the clouds




Short rap to get to what we assume was the 5.8 pitch




5.8 pitch????




Simulclimbing near the summit


After the Gendarme pitches, I led out above the belay alcove just as the clouds lifted and our view returned but ended up possibly going too high and had to downclimb maybe 20 ft to a sandy ledge and then back up to find a rappel station to get to what we assume was the short 5.8 described in the beta. The area was mostly free of lichen, so if we weren’t on-route, we definitely weren’t the first going that way. There was a fixed #3 at the wide part of the crack of what we assume is the short 5.8 but it is an old style C4 and the sling has seen better days. From there we wandered through the 4th and low 5th to the summit, topping out at 6pm.








Looking back at Ingalls Lake




So much for getting down in the light




Clouds cresting the ridge the next morning



At this point we were all just about out of water and there was no flowing water to be found between the start of the route and the bottom of the Cascadian. There are a few snow patches still between the summit and the start of the Cascadian, but we were out of fuel to melt snow and decided to just book it for the creek. We were descending by 6:30 and hit Ingalls creek at 10pm. For those new to heading down the Cascadian, yes it sucks, not it is not the living hell that some describe, but yes it is bad. For those that claim this is the worst descent ever imagined, go descend the Boston Ledges and then talk to me. About 3/4th of the ways down the Cascadian, when it starts to get really gnarly, look for a trailing heading west into the trees to cut off a little bit of time and avoid some of the real bad choss at the outwash of the couloir. After refilling on water, we decided to just crash for the night instead of trying to hike out and drive home at 3am. The hike out the next morning was pleasant and easy.




Gear Notes:

We carried was too much gear. Set of nuts. BD cams .2-4 with doubles of .5-3. We did not actually use our #4 on the offwidth pitch as the stuck one is still there.


Approach Notes:

Snow free to Goat Pass. Those climbing the Lower North Ridge can likely do so without axes or crampons. Axes and crampons are needed for the Stuart Glacier for the Upper North Ridge. We used aluminum crampons on approach shoes which worked fine

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The snow in the approach gully was down below the chockstone (about half way up) but it should still be there this weekend. There was no snow at the notch, but the Mazamas mentioned finding snow by descending on the opposite side from the approach gully into the basin to the east. I did not observe this though.

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