Ascent of Mount Stuart on 2016-08-28

Climber: Evan Battaglia

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, August 28, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Stuart
    Elevation:9415 ft / 2869 m

Ascent Trip Report

12:00 Leave TH
Took 4.5 - 5 L of water from Ingalls Lake, which turned out to be the perfect amount, but it was pretty cool weather. If it had been hotter, more water would have been better.

Made it up pretty easy without any serious navigation issues until I approached Long John Tower. As I came over the notch before where the final climb up to the tower notch can be seen (there are a couple beta pictures on the internet of the 4th class route up
taken from this point), clouds moved in and obscured my view of the route. I went a little too far right I think and got on to some low 5th class terrain here. It was short but then I had to also make a slightly exposed traverse back left to get on the main route. I'm pretty sure this was avoidable though.

~ 20:00 Camp at Long John Tower notch. Got here as it was getting dark. It was cool and quite windy, but the only good flat place I could find was the bivy site at the notch. It had protecting stones, but that did not keep the wind from howling most of the night and keeping me both cold and awake :( I set up my Gatewood Cape using slings and cams (one on the wall above the bivy site to keep the middle of the shelter up) since I didn't bring stakes or the middle pole. There were a couple sprinkles at a couple points throughout the day but fortunately it didn't really rain -- had it rained in the night it could have been a bit dangerous as the Gatewood Cape was not pitched that solidly (not a lot of room, for one thing).

Left at 7am. Smooth sailing through the notch and up the first bit of scrambling to the start of the "1st pitch", on the north side. At first this pitch looked challenging but I was relieved to see that it really was just simple class 4! Fun, too.

Next I ascended a short 5.4 crack / two parallel cracks. There was supposedly a way around those to the right on class 3/4 terrain, but the crack was easy/protected enough. After the crack I think I was supposed to go left, back over to the other side of the ridge, however it looked a bit difficult. I started up another way just a few (maybe 20) feet to the right, but after about 10 feet this also turned into class ~5.4. It was really just one or two moves but took me a while because I was trying to self-protect with my cams and lengths of dynamic rope tied to my harness. I'm not sure if the way to the left would have been easier, or if the class 3/4 way starting under the crack would have avoided this.

From here I scrambled up class 3 onto the "knife edge" (if you can call it that) and downclimbed to the sandy ledge. Climbing up class 3 and a little to the right I arrived at another sandy ledge. From here I went straight up on about 40-50 feet of what was called "loose class 5.4", which sounds about right. It was pretty bad. I don't recommend it -- I would try to avoid it whether or not I was soloing. I believe you can go further to the right here, but it may be harder climbing (5.6)? I'm not sure.

After that loose 5.4 stuff was an awkward (especially with a pack) but easy move to traverse right onto a large ledge. Soon enough I found what may have been Beckey's dihedral alluded to in other accounts. IIRC it was also two parallel cracks. Anyway, there was a piton in the middle. It felt about 5.6. It was a bit challenging to solo with a pack but was pretty protectable, even with my limitations as a soloist. It was also only about 20 feet. This and the loose class 5.4 bit before (which I was more scared on) were the only unavoidable class 5 parts I encountered on the route.

After this I reached the rib and scrambled up to the top. Victory!

10:15 - 11:15 -- Summit

I then descended the awful Cascadian Couloir. Only one section of about 500 ft felt truly dangerous, the rest was just very, very tiring. I slipped a couple times lower down. "When does this thing ever stop?" I begged. I took a side path into the woods near the end that was often better than the couloir had been, but even then there were some very steep dirt sections that really weren't any better.

I finally made it down and up and over Longs Pass. Arrived at the car at about 17:30, completely exhausted. My legs ached for days afterward.

An incredible adventure. I might do it again if it there were a class 1 descent option.

Not sure what to put down for gear. I used a helmet, harness, cams, and "tiger tails" or "cow tails", a length of dynamic rope (~8m) with loops (Yosemite bowlines) on each end tied to my belay loop with a butterfly knot -- similar to a via ferrata lanyard. (see -- but note that dynamic cordage should be used rather than static slings). I had a 35m rap line in my pack (just in case) but didn't used it.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:6765 ft / 2061 m
    Total Elevation Loss:6765 ft / 2061 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Rope, Bivouac
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5465 ft / 1665 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 5165 ft / 1574 m; Extra: 300 ft / 91m
    Loss on way in:300 ft / 91 m
    Route:West Ridge (solo)
    Start Trailhead:4250 ft / 1295 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:6465 ft / 1970 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 5165 ft / 1574 m; Extra: 1300 ft / 396m
    Gain on way out:1300 ft / 396 m
    Route:Cascadian Couloir
    End Trailhead:4250 ft / 1295 m

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