From Ingalls Lake hike the ridge towards Stuart Pass (stay mainly on ridge). When possible cut right across the talus slope and head towards the 2nd prominent gully.
This is the start of the climb, but mainly 3rd and 4th class scrambling will take you all the way to Long John Tower, which is gained by going to the top of the gully and then moving right and down a little into another gully.
The easiest way up to the notch behind Long John Tower is on the right side (see pic.). Once to the notch head almost straight up and then start veering right on ledges. This is mainly 3rd and 4th class and sometimes exposed. Go almost up to the West Horn and traverse around it on a large ledge.
From here, keep moving right until you reach the West Ridge Notch, which is the second prominent notch. Climb up to its right and onto another large ledge that will take you around to the North Side (and the most fun climbing of the route). Climb up and left on the North side on easy fifth class rock and then pull back onto the ridge. From here, climb up to the summit. There are many options (some of which are up to 5.6).
The route can be done with very little technical climbing, but route finding can be confusing at times (although not as bad as many say). The best part of the route comes once you reach the North side and all the way to the top.
Descent: The Cascadian Couloir is the easiest, but lacks any aesthetic qualities. Once you get to the bottom take the Ingalls Creek trail (trail 1215?) back to Ingalls Lake.
Hike in from Cle Elum via the Ingalls Way Trail. Drive to Cle Elum, follow signs to Wenatchee, after about 7 miles turn left onto Teanaway River Rd. and follow to its end (about 23 miles).
On hike: At about .5 miles go right at trail split, at about 2.5 miles go left and in about 1.5 miles you will reach the crest of the hike and campsites. Stay left to get to Ingalls Lake, which is about 1.5 miles more.
Standard alpine rack: Helmet, set of nuts, small to medium cams (roughly #2-#8 metolius), long runners and carabiners.
The easiest way to the notch behind Long John Towe...
|By J. Thornton|
Jan 19, 2014
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
A more direct approach to the notch below the Upper West Ridge is the West Ridge Couloir route. This route goes up couloirs and gulleys to the notch. In early June long sections of 35-degree snow where encountered, and ice ax and crampons were used. Follow the approach to the South Headwall route, but depart from that at the fork at the 7000-foot elevation. Go up the left couloir and continue to the notch. The South Headwall route description has a photo of the south slopes showing the approach for this. This is shorter and quicker than the West Ridge route, but might not be as good.