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Mt. Stuart Upper North Ridge Direct (Late August '13)

Original Post
Taylor Bentz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 230

Attempt 1: From Leavenworth side...Too lazy and took too much gear so bailed before getting on route (Laziness)
Attempt 2: From Leavenworth side...Got rained out in the middle of august (lacked mental fortitude)
Attempt 3: From Cle Elum side in early June, wore tennis shoes with crampons and realized there was more snow than I wanted to do in my tennies (Laziness)
Attempt 4: From Cle Elum side:

Thursday: Got to Ingalls TH at 6:30pm, camped below Ingalls Lake at 8:30 pm

Michael packing up after a wet night with no bivy sack
Friday: Woke up at 8:30am, made decent time to Stuart Glacier, but we took forever to cross the glacier because I was in my approach shoes, and we were only each wearing a single "insole" crampon, and each only had one ski pole (no piolets)
The wrong way to cross Stuart glacier. But it sure was lightweight!
I then accidentally dropped my pack about 50' down into the gap between the Stuart Glacier and the rock at the gulley leading to the North Ridge's notch.
Looking up from down in the glacier after having descended the wet freezing rock to retrieve my pack.. Lesson: if you're going to throw your pack into a hole, do it somewhere dry.
After retrieving it, we roped up and started simuling. 2 1/2 hours and 2 simul blocks later, we arrived at the Gendarme. This time would have been shorter except my buddy spent 15 minutes trying to get out a fixed nut that I had forgotten to tell him was fixed... : ) my bad
Pre-Gendarme climbing notes:
1. Bring crampons if crossing the glacier (probably obvious to everyone but me)
2. Just rope up at the bottom of the chute going up to the Notch.
3. The climbing is extremely easy up to the gendarme and very easily naturally protected.
4. If you just run the rope around features on the hand traverse, it protects easily and without gear.
5. We continued simuling through the "Slab" pitch and found it to be exceedingly easy. Placed three pieces ofgear on it.
6. If you bring the rack (see below) that we did, you could conceivably simul from the Notch to the Gendarme in a single block.
Michael enjoying the amazing simuling
Looking up the slab at Mr. Great Gendarme
Gendarme: there is one #4 fixed still, and we also placed another #4.
The 5.8 lieback pitch of the Great Gendarme
We slept right after the Gendarme when it got dark. We took a little longer on the Gendarme because I again forgot to note a fixed nut, and because we were pretty tired.
Excellent bivy protected from the wind and featuring amazing sunrise views at the top of the Gendarme
Next morning it took about an hour to get from the top of the Gendarme to the summit.
Me feeling happy on the top
Descent: We went down Ulrich's Couloir but had run out of food the night prior, so despite summiting at about 10am (lazy starting time, again : ) we didn't get back to the car until 6pm. Some awesome ladies offered us some gatorade which totally recharged us while descending from Longs pass. Thank you awesome ladies!
Belaying on the Gendarme while the sun set.
Remarkable Mt. Stuart
Michael happy to be at Longs
(10X) Alpine draws
(2ea) BD Camalot C4s .5-3
(1ea) Red, Gray, Yellow, Green Aliens
(1ea) Metolius Master Cam Purple-Orange
(1ea) DMM Aluminum Offset Nuts
(1ea) DMM Brass Offset Nuts (only two largest sizes)
(1X) 60m 9.8mm rope (50m 9mm would suffice)
One ski pole per person
One insole crampon per person
Water pump

I wore approach shoes, Michael wore hiking boots. I would recommend light shoes but with full crampons on both shoes, and a ski pole in each hand. Cross the Stuart Glacier later in the day. I took a bivy sack, a sleeping pad, and a 15 degree bag, which was a bit warm. Michael just took a pad and one of those 55 degree synthetic travel bags, and he got soaked the first night, and froze the second night. And he sleeps warmer than the devil, so that was probably a little too lightweight.

More rack notes: As mentioned above, we had an EXCESSIVELY LARGE rack. This made it so we could lead in very long blocks. I would bring only singles of small cams next time. The offset nuts were very useful with the exception of the large blue one.

Oh and we didn't bring anywhere near enough food. And dropping the pack with the car keys in it into the glacier was also not advisable. Descending Ulrich's is also not advisable. Basically we had no right to get to the top, but we made it and it was absolutely stunning climbing.
J. Broussard · · CordryCorner · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 50

This was me last summer, & I cannot wait to go back.
Thank for trip report.
I love the pictures

Taylor Bentz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 230

Thanks Jeffeos

Jon H · · MD/DC · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 123

Great TR. 4th time's the charm, eh?

Thanks for posting!

Michael LaMaita · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 35

I need to work on realizing when something's fixed and not one of Taylor's nuts...

Anyways, I'll piggyback my friend's TR with a little beta and photos of my own:

Ingall's is gorgeous, and is guarded by its resident groundhog. We were debating whether it was a beaver or a marmot when we were there, but it's tail seems to lean towards groundhog...if you can tell from the photo correct me!

Ingall's Lake

Ingall's resident groundhog...we think

The ridge climbing is absolutely amazing, communicating more photo opportunities would be nice for the nostalgia when I'm 40 (in 20/20 hindsight) however we were moving quick on the ridge so I didn't capture many photos.
Looking down the ridge, notch visible below

I'll mention that I did get altitude sickness before the Gendarme and bunked on energy after that (limited food). I had reached my physical and mental limit, but managed to dig deeper and get ourselves a nice bivy spot with an amazing view.

Bivy Spot after the Gendarme and below a short 5.8 crack

As Taylor mentioned we got a late start to the summit that next morning, and had no right to make it given our circumstances and previous attempts. We were reminded of our humility upon seeing a mountain goat joining us on the summit.

Taylor and the Summit Goat

Our wingman

The descent, as Taylor noted, was brutal. I recommend hiking poles of some sort that collapse into your pack, as mine were constantly hooking on rocks while climbing the ridge, which is a pain in the ass while simul-climbing quickly. They were extremely helpful with my 5x-operated-on 65-year old knees when descending from the summit.

Don't go down Ulrich's. Endless scree, talus and crud.

The ridge climbing - fantastic. Approach via Long's and Goats...arduous. Descent as noted above, masochistic. Views were beautiful. Alpine Lake's area and surrounding scenery are unbelievable. There's so much rock everywhere! Next time we'll have to tackle it via Complete North Ridge Direct.
RobC2 Cotter · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 240

Man, I guided that one in 1987, I'd forgotten all about that climb...

Barry Collins · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 10

Nice work Taylor. Brings back memories of a 23 hr car to car 11 years ago, I was 40 then. I wore low top approach shoes with Grivel crampons, loose fit but adequate on the Stuart glacier. We solo'd up to the notch, summited at dark, then began the 6 hr descent down the Cascadian Couloir. Woe to the man who mistakes Ulrich's for Cascadian! BTW the #4 you slung in the OW was there when I was! Stumbled back to truck, hallucinating all the while. ( I remember hearing my L knee creak for the first time heading up to Longs, it still does)
Thanks for bringing it all back!

Keenan Waeschle · · Bozeman, MT · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 210

That's a marmot.

If both members of your party are comfortable consider soloing from the notch to the base of the gendarme. It's mostly 5.5 or so, with maybe a move here and there of 5.7. you can make it to the base of the gendarme in 30 minutes from the notch this way (probably less if you're cookin').

The Gendarme can be led in two pitches with a single half rope and a rack consisting of a blue yellow and orange mastercam. and then perhaps one #2 to protect yourself before clipping the first fixed #4 on the "OW" pitch. Once on the top of the gendarme soloing to the top would also be quite mellow. The one pitch in there that's rated 5.9 is more like 5.7+. Perfect locker hands and good feet, all above a notch.

The crux on the OW pitch is one move, and is very secure, the lieback before it is broken up by big ledges every 15 feet.

It's one of the best routes anywhere.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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