Trip Report    

Basic Glacier Climb - Mount Stuart/Sherpa Glacier

Sunny weekend with stable spring snow on route. Turned around after topping out Sherpa Glacier Couloir due to high winds on the ridge to the summit.

  • Road impassable/closed
  • Road closed at Bridge Creek Campground requiring 4 additional miles on the road before Stuart Lake TH. Road was dry with the exception of a small snow patch near the trailhead. Trail was mostly snow covered to camp. Mountaineer Creek was accessible at camp (5400 ft) for filtering. Snow on route was consolidated enough to kick steps without snowshoes and by mid morning softened to take plunge steps well. Ridge winds were high (forecast at 30 mph, gusts to 50 mph) and received an update from another party at camp that they saw a report forecasting 80 mph gusts. We turned around at the ridge due to winds and the high consequence of falling on this slope.

Our group of 4 stepped off at 10a on a sunny Saturday and made quick time to the trailhead. The trail from Stuart Lake TH to the Colchuck Lake turnoff was mostly snow, but was melting out quickly. Snowshoes were not needed for this portion, but expect occasional post-holing. 

Once we arrived at the first switchback climbing to Lake Stuart, we stepped off the "trail", crossed the large creek on a log, and wandered a bit trying to find Mountaineer Creek. This section was easy to get turned around due to the slope angles. Once we found the creek, navigation was straight forward as we stayed close to the creek most of the way to our camp at 5400 ft.

The bench at 5400 ft has plenty of good camping spots near the creek and we were able to find a spot where the creek was open and flowing allowing us to filter/boil water rather than melting snow.

We departed camp shortly after 2a on Sunday morning and were able to kick steps easily up the steep snow slope. We roped up for the brief glacier crossing and took ropes off once we were above the glacier in the Sherpa Glacier Couloir. Once we topped out of the couloir, the wind picked up significantly and it was difficult maintaining balance. We continued another 200 vertical feet on the South side of the ridge to the top of the Cascadian Couloir and decided at that point to turn around due to high winds and the consequence of a fall at this point.

The decent down the Sherpa Glacier Couloir was uneventful as the snow took plunge steps well.

The hike out from camp was long and grueling with overnight packs and snowshoes. We ended up gaining and losing 7400 ft on the trip over 25 miles.


  1. Cars to Stuart Lake TH: 1 hr 20 mins
  2. Stuart Lake TH to exit from Stuart Lake Trail: 3 hrs
  3. Stuart Lake Trail to Camp: 2 hrs 30 mins
  4. Camp to top of Cascadian Couloir: 4 hrs
  5. Top of Cascadian Couloir to Camp: 1 hr 30 mins
  6. Camp to Cars: 6 hrs