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Trip Report    

Ingalls Peak/South Ridge

This climb too place on August 26th, 2014. There were 6 climbers on the team. We hit the trail at 6:10am.

On our way up to the pass we encountered a pair of young women at the turnoff to Longs Pass. They indicated they were planning on climbing Mt. Stuart via the Cascadian Couloir. We warned them that the area had considerable rockfall risk and I found out later that they had commented to one of the members of our group that they didn't have helmets. I was worried about them most of the day.

We planned to climb Ingalls E Ridge the next day, so some of the climbers brought up camping gear to overnight. We stopped to hastily stake out a camp site which ate up some time. There were only a few campers in the area.

We were pleased to find we were first on the route. We opted to climb the first pitch rather than scramble it's top. The climbing went well and everyone quickly reached the top of the route.

I lowered on toprope to the edge of the cliff west of the top of the climb to look for a students backpack that was lost on August 26th. I had hoped to verify the pack was still there and attempt to recover it. However, the pack was gone.

There was another pair of climbers coming up behind our last team. They had a very bright colored roped which I admired as it was so visible and thin. When they topped out I noticed it was actually 1/2 of a twin-rope set they were climbing with. They indicated that they had read on the Mountaineers web site that one could save weight by climbing with a 1/2 rope and last year they bought this rope at REI for their climbing. I warned them that the rope was not designed for dedicated use as a single rope which surprised them.

The rappel went well. I was concerned that the two climbers we met at the top would be able to safely rappel on their single 60m half rope so I offered to let them use the double-rope rappel line we rigged. The gratefully agreed and this worked out well. I was the last on down and when I arrived at the top of the first pitch they were rigging a rappel to the bottom of the first pitch. We opted to scramble down and around as we had not left any gear at the top of the first pitch... except it turned out my approach shoes. So I had to suck it up and fetch them.

There was another team of climbers, 4 in total I think, starting the climb as we started the descent. We were glad to be off the route and not stuck waiting for them to top out before we could rappel.

It was un uneventful return to the cars. We stopped at the camp site. The weather conditions were worsening and we suspected the weather the next day would not permit a climb of the E Ridge. So unfortunately the would-be campers opted to pack up their gear and lug it back down to the parking lot. Oh well... call it conditioning. We decided to go to Cle Elum for dinner, check the forecast and then if weather permitted crash at the trailhead.

There were not a lot more campers moving in for the night. On the way down we encountered a couple hiking from the pass over to the camping area. They had with them three dogs. The guy and a fairly young mid-sized black dog. The lady had two smaller dogs, lighter in color. I reminded them (politely) that a) Dogs are not allowed in this area and b) I am not the law nor did I care to be I was only reminding them in case they didn't notice the clear sign at the top of the pass that said "NO DOGS". He muttered something about a "service dog" and sped off down the trail.

We encountered the couple with the half rope at the intersection of Longs Pass. They indicated they were going to bivy that night and attempt the Cascadian Couloir the next morning (with helmets). I told them that we thought the weather was worsening and are likely clearing out of the area and wished them well.

At the parking lot we encountered the two young ladies we met at Longs Pass that morning. I was relieved to see they were OK. They said that yes, they did get into a few areas where they definitely wished they had helmets. They added that they reached the "false summit" before turning around.

We returned to Cle Elum for dinner where the forecast indicated that we should cancel the trip the next day. Unfortunately we were unable to contact one of the climbers driving in that evening to meet us at the climb the next morning. So after the group finished dinner they went home and I returned to the trailhead. Unfortunately it was late and I could not find the climber nor any signs of people so if he was there and asleep I had no hope of locating him. So I spent the night in my car. He didn't show up at the appointed starting time. Turns out he got the text message we sent when we were at Cle Elum but didn't notice it while he was driving up. When he got to the trailhead he saw the text message and voice mail indicator but couldn't get VM at the trailhead. So the text message was a great idea as a backup to voicemail.

We think there was another Mountaineers group on the E Ridge that day. We saw signs of them... heard them yelling and saw ropes and people on the E ridge, especially as we were descending after our climb. We didn't encounter them all day however.

Overall a great trip with great climbers. We went car-to-car in 11.5 hours and could have gone a little quicker if we skipped setting up the camp. This was not a busy day for this climb and if it was busier it could have been a lot longer day.