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Trip Report    

Mount Stuart/West Ridge

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Mt Stuart is a beautiful mountain and the West Ridge route was spectacular. We camped in the meadow about 1/2 mile from Lake Ingalls on Thursday night and started the climb at about 6am. West Ridge conditions are great. There were a few very small snow patches close to the route that could be used for melting snow, but they won't last much longer. Despite being a group of 6 people, we were able to move fast since all group members were fit, efficient and confident scrambling 4th class. We scrambled the route until a couple hundred feet above the West Ridge notch and then roped up for 6 short technical pitches (low 5th class with maybe a few 5.6-7ish moves). We used 30 meter ropes and a small alpine rack (0.5-2" cams, a few nuts, slings and double slings) which worked out perfect. We reached the summit in about 7 hours. Most of the route is in the shade in the morning, so we stayed fairly cool despite the beautiful weather.

The descent via the Cascadian couloir was painful and long. There is still a good size snowfield below the false summit, but it can be easily avoided. We did not have (or need) crampons or ice ax. Everyone carried 3-4 liters of water and that was sufficient until we reached Ingalls Creek at the bottom of Cascadian C. The hike back to camp via Lake Ingalls added 4miles/~1,000+ feet elevation gain, so that the descent ended up taking about the same time as our ascent. We were back at camp around sunset and to view the rise of a beautiful full moon. Great day!

 

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