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Jaime

[TR] Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge 7/30/2016

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Trip: Mount Stuart - Complete North Ridge

 

Date: 7/30/2016

 

Trip Report:

We climbed Stuart via the Complete North ridge, approaching from the South via Ingalls Pass and descending by the Cascadian and over Long's Pass.

 

Time-relevant beta

  • The road is no longer blocked off a mile before the Esmeralda Basin trailhead! The washout isn't entirely fixed, but our tiny two-seater Honda Insight was able to make it over the bumps so it should be passable to anyone.
  • There's some snow remaining on the descent from Goat Pass to the base of the route. It was passable in approach tennies (although I didn't like it much)
  • The melting glacier means there is water near the base of the route.
  • There's still snow at the bivy sites at the 8200' notch. We brought a stove but were actually able to fill up on water just from drips from the melting snow.
  • There's ~20m of relatively steep unavoidable snow near the top of the Cascadian descent. However, there's also a rap anchor, so we just set up a quick arm rappel.

Route

The lower four pitches of hard climbing and the two on the gendarme were very obvious. Other than that, our beta generally was "follow the ridge". Unfortunately, we weren't very good at micro-navigating and kept finding ourselves climbing harder-than-expected, lichen-encrusted rock. Probably the best beta to follow is: if it seems hard and/or has lichen on it, there's probably an easier way. We got better at this on the second day and had a much more enjoyable time.

 

Timeline

Sat

0430: Leave car

0630: Ingalls Lake (paused for short water stop)

1030: Reach base of route (paused for lunch)

1100: Start climbing

1830: Reach bivy site at notch (including 45min of being passed)

 

Sun

0600: Start climbing

1130: Reach Gendarme

1530: Summit!

1630: Leave Summit

2000: Reach Ingalls trail

2230: Car

 

Photos

Photo Credit: Jason Curtis

 

Google Earth views of our route (GPS track here: http://peakbagger.com/climber/ascent.aspx?aid=686309)

Stuart_track_1.PNG

 

Stuart_track_2.PNG

 

Bags packed in the car the night before:

DSC00334-Edit.jpg

 

Goats at the North end of Lake Ingalls

DSC00368-Edit.jpg

 

Topping out at Goat Pass:

DSC003762.jpg

 

Following the 5.9 pitch:

DSC004281.jpg

 

Collecting the snow melt at our bivy at the notch:

DSC00436.jpg

 

Looking back somewhere on the ridge:

day_2_near_start.jpg

 

Obligatory "slab with crack" photo:

slab_with_crack_bw.jpg

 

Starting up the slab with crack:

DSC00494.jpg

 

Looking back at the party of three behind us, who apparently believed in ropes but not pro (needless to say they were much faster than us):

DSC00503.jpg

 

That party quickly passed us. The leader went on to solo the first pitch of the Gendarme, although he did belay his followers up:

DSC005101.jpg

 

Summit shot:

DSC005312.jpg

 

Summit register:

File_000.jpeg

 

Alpenglow:

DSC00540.jpg

 

Gear Notes:

- SR .3-3, plus a .75 link cam and extra #2. Probably could have gotten away with fewer cams, but I was happy to have them on the Gendarme pitches

- 1 microtraxion - greatly extended the length of simul pitches we were willing to lead, since we could place it above hard moves to isolate the leader from a follower fall

- 8 singles, 4 doubles

- 60m rope (30m would have worked except we wanted to haul packs on the Gendarme)

- No boots/crampons/ice axes, just approach tennies and one pole each

- We shared a single bivy sack and sleeping bag (and each had a puffy and long johns) and were toasty warm all night. The notch was very windy in the middle of the night, so we were glad to have the bivy sack.

 

Approach Notes:

Descent

We followed beta from Ilia's trip report: http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1141828. It was generally accurate, although I wouldn't have called the cliff drops "easily passed" by hugging the left side. Those step downs definitely involved loose rock, some downclimbing, and even a bit of bushwhacking. Ilia's report also mentions a trail cutting to the right at a flat spot somewhere between 5900-6200'. We never saw the cairn or the trail breaking off from the couloir itself, so we just blindly forged into the forest a little ways and then gave up and headed back to the couloir and happened to cross the trail (this was just below 5900' but the trail must have started higher). It was a lovely trail through forests and meadows as advertised - definitely worth finding!

 

When he climbed the West Ridge last year, Jason had taken a "shortcut" descent route which has some similarly uncomfortable sections, but at least spits you out on the Ingalls Creek trail 15 minutes closer to the junction with Long's pass: http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ascent.aspx?aid=565928.

Edited by Jaime

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Way to go you two! I like the minimal bivy setup :) Just gotta watch out for the jimmy leg...

Edited by JeffreyW

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Regarding the descent, if you find yourself 15 mins or more away from the Long's Pass trail junction when you hit Ingalls Creek Trail, you probably did not descend the Cascadian proper. It's easy to miss the Cascadian turnoff and continue down the south shoulder, which often has a better trail at that elevation.

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As G2G mentions, you bypassed the Cascadian Couloir for the inviting basin skier's left of that big dividing ridge. Looking at your GPS track over the Google Earth image, the Cascadian is the direct line from the snow field to the Longs Pass trail.

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Awesome job guys! microtraxions are pretty great. +1 to your advice on avoiding the lichen, and finding the easier way.

 

Who is going to bring a new pencil up to the summit register? :P

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Great trip and thanks for the report! How much snow is left in the Cascadian Couoloir? I've never seen the steep section at the top steeper than 50 deg. Was it steeper than that? Is it still an easy decent on snow the rest of the way down the couloir?

 

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Great report, and congrats. BTW its cheating if the shared bag bivy is with a member of the opposite sex (well...depending on your orientation).

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Great trip and thanks for the report! How much snow is left in the Cascadian Couoloir? I've never seen the steep section at the top steeper than 50 deg. Was it steeper than that? Is it still an easy decent on snow the rest of the way down the couloir?

 

There is still snow quite a ways down the Cascadian. When we went last wednesday we stayed high an traversed skier left of the snow, staying on a rock rib as long as possible. We traversed skier right when the rib ran out and dropped back into the Cascadian. I found it easier than the rock on climber right and it minimized our time on the snow.

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