Ascent of Mount Stuart on 2018-07-13

Climber: Brook Peterson

Date:Friday, July 13, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Stuart
    Elevation:9415 ft / 2869 m

Ascent Trip Report

Our party of 4 ascended by the upper north ridge in a day. Left the TH at 2am, reached Ingalls lake just after 4 and filled up on water; each of us took 2 to 2.5L with us from the lake. Snow on the Stuart Glacier was pretty soft, and we all crossed in approach shoes+crampons. Crossing the glacier was mellow, but getting off the glacier and into the gully was a little spicy; the snow steepens, the fall line is directly above a set of big open crevasses, and there was an opening moat to negotiate. Fortunately moat was not very developed and we were able to make it around and into the gully on snow. The gully up to the notch had some snow cover (also soft) and we were able to kick steps and ascend a fair bit on the snow, or by moving on and off snow; we kept crampons on until probably the last 100 or so feet, when we scrambled the rock to the notch. Reached the notch at about 8:20 and roped up to simulclimb.

We simulclimbed up in a few pitches until reaching the base of the Great Gendarme; we probably could have done it faster and in fewer pitches had I placed less gear / brought more slings and placed more nuts. The Gendarme pitches are fantastic - the lower is a corner with good hands, and whenever it gets a little thin for hands, can be lie-backed with great feet. Lots of rest, as it is relatively short, and every difficult section is followed by a broad ledge you can rest on. The upper has two stuck pieces, including the ancient #4 in the offwidth, which has new-ish looking webbing on it. We brought an additional 4 to protect the offwidth, and the first team to lead left it for the second team to use following. Offwidth went with arm-bars, some creative feet, and a lot of grunting. We climbed a bit too high on the gendarme and had to downclimb to follow the route to climber's right, where we discovered a sandy ledge and small stuck piece. We also hauled packs on the crux pitches instead of climbing wearing them, which took some additional time.

After the Gendarme, the route was less straightforward, and we ended up making some wrong turns that cost us time; I tried to take us more directly up the ridge, but the easier climbing traversed climber's right to the base of the short 5.8 pitch. That went quickly, was followed by more route-finding issues; 2 of us ended up going straight up to reach the summit ridge somewhat to the east of the actual summit, and 2 stayed low, continuing to traverse climbers right (westward), and then ascended to pop out basically at the summit. We reached the top at about 5pm I think.

There is enough snow at the top that it can be melted for water if needed, but we had enough, so started the descent. The scramble route past the false summit is melted out and we followed cairns down to the top of the broad descent gully. There was soft snow in the top, and again down where the more narrow Cascadian Couloir branches off. Reached the car at about 11:30 pm.

Gear: we took .2 - 4 (only one 4 for two teams), doubles from .5-2; don't need that much for the Gendarme, but we brought a lot to get longer simul pitches. I did the glacier crossing in La Sportiva TX3s with BD neve crampons and petzl ride axe and it was fine.

Trip photos:
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