Ascent of Mount Stuart on 2015-08-22

Climber: Caleb Morris

Others in Party:Chris Albertson
Date:Saturday, August 22, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Stuart
    Elevation:9415 ft / 2869 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was a weekend I had been trying to arrange a climb of Cusick Mountain in the Wallowas with my friends for two years now, but we cancelled in the week leading up due to the massive amount of wildfires in eastern Oregon and Washington. A local friend and I decided on Stuart as our alternative, as the weather was pushing the smoke east from the Cascades and it looked like we would be in the clear. That was mostly the case, there was definitely smoke wafting in and out of the region, but at times visibility was excellent.

Anyway, we hiked in to Ingalls creek friday and set up camp right at the creek crossing. We arrived pretty early in the day so we explored the area and surveyed the route. Late friday night smoke blew in turned the sky an eery orange color right at sunset. Saturday we awoke at 4am and were off by 430. The smoke had largely cleared off, and the previous nights wind was completely gone. Cascadian couloir was pretty much as bad as many people have expressed. Something like 4000 vertical feet of rough scrambling. Going up was the "easy" part. We ignored the trail and bouldered as much as possible, which I think at least adds some enjoyment to what would otherwise just be a long horrible sandy trail climb. At the false summit, we totally missed the route and went right around the false summit, which was fine and didn't result in any difficulties.

The summit ridge itself is kind of fun, with dramatic drop offs to the north and south. If you get a little off route, the bouldering is pretty enjoyable, and even on route there are a few sections with short climbs. Views to the north and south are pretty amazing. I believe we were 1st to the top, and two other parties arrived as began the long climb back to camp. Shortly thereafter climbing parties started summiting from the north and west ridges, routes that appear pretty amazing.

Downclimbing the couloir was just awful. One of the least enjoyable mountain experiences I've had, and the smoke was really moving in at this time to boot. Anyway, we got off the mountain safely, and enjoyed an amazing meal in Ellensburg on the drive home. Glad to have this one done!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:7900 ft / 2407 m
    Total Elevation Loss:8515 ft / 2595 m
    Round-Trip Distance:14 mi / 22.5 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:6600 ft / 2011 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4900 ft / 1493 m; Extra: 1700 ft / 518m
    Loss on way in:1700 ft / 518 m
    Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Start Trailhead:4515 ft / 1376 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:6815 ft / 2077 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 5515 ft / 1681 m; Extra: 1300 ft / 396m
    Gain on way out:1300 ft / 396 m
    Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    End Trailhead:3900 ft / 1188 m

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