Mount Stuart/Sherpa Glacier

Early season climb basic glacier of the north side of Mount Stuart approach through The Enchantments in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. April and May are ideal times partly because permits for The Enchantments are not required until June. The couloir reaches steepness about 40 degrees.

driving directions

Drive US 2 east to Leavenworth. Just before entering town, turn right on Icicle Creek Road. Follow Road 8.5 miles to Bridge Creek Campground. Turn left and drive through campground, cross the river to Eightmile Creek Road (Forest Road 7601). Drive 4 mi to start of Lake Stuart Trailhead (3,600 ft).


Begin at the Lake Stuart-Colchuck Lake Trail (No. 1599). At about 2.2 mi (4,500 ft) there is a fork. The left goes to Colchuck Lake, right goes to Lake Stuart. Continue on the Stuart Lake trail through the beaver meadows. In another 1.5 mi, the first switchback (right) is reached. Depart the trail here to the left (south) finding an obscure climbers' trail.

Cross the Stuart Lake creek over logs. This trail has not been maintained in decade. It is riddled with blowdown, re-route, questionable cairnes, and is hard to follow. Generally follow along Mountaineers Creek, with it on your left. Do not follow the cairnes into the bouldfield (4,675 ft at UTM NAD27  10 T 661036 5261934), but rather, stay low along the creek.

Follow a creek up the Sherpa/Ice Cliffs Glaciers drainage. As you ascend, that creek will be on your left. Be sure to keep the creek in sight/earshot on the way down.  Obtain the bench at 5,400 ft. One could find good camping in the wood, however, continuing further to a boulderfield obtains great camp areas near water (depending on snowpack). A little further, camp could be set at the base of the glacier allowing ropes, harnesses, and prussiks to be setup the night before.

ascent route

Ascend the Sherpa Glacier directly. Find the best route either to the left, or right of the lower rock island. The right is more direct and climbable. Continue up the right (westerly) couloir. As it steepens, place pickets and necessary. Follow the dogleg right to the top of the couloir. From the top of the couloir, continue up, west, along the ridge to the false summit, then true summit. Along the way, the Cascadian Couloir is met.

descent route

Descend the climbing route.


SEGMENTMilesElevation Gain (FT)Time(HR)
Trailhead to Camp 6.1 2,000 4
Camp to Summit 2.0 4,000 6-8
Summit to Trailhead 8.1 7-8


Standard glacier equipment and helmet. Pickets for running belay. Provisional ice screws.


  • Approach via The Enchantments before permits required in June.
  • Depending on snowpack, approach may be via climbers trail as described, or over snow.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: March, April, May, June
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb
  • Length: 16.2 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 5,833 ft
  • 9,415 ft
  • USGS Mt Stuart
  • Green Trails Alpine Lakes East (Stuart Range) No. 208SX
  • USGS Enchantment Lakes
  • Green Trails The Enchantments No. 209S
  • USGS Cashmere Mtn
  • Red Marker
    47.527875, -120.820749
    47.5278753901 -120.820748806
  • Red Marker
    47.475176, -120.902372
    47.4751759138 -120.902371924

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