Guiding Mt. Stuart’s North Ridge
Last week I had the chance to guide another one of the 50 classic climbs of North America–the North Ridge of Mt. Stuart. It had been years since I was on the route and I found it to be just as fun and high quality as my route-overloaded mind remembered. Anyways, we approached via Ingalls Lake to Goat Pass and onward to our bivy at the notch in the North Ridge in a long, but mellow day. The night was warm, clear, and calm, yet sleep wasn’t easy to come by given the near-constant scratching of snaffle hounds (Bushy-tailed Woodrat) on the side of the tent. Our food and gear was safely hung, so the periodic awakening was merely annoying and not cause for alarm.
The morning dawned even nicer than the previous evening and we took off up the route about an hour after first light. Pitch after incredible pitch flew by under our rock shoes until we ran headlong into the Great Gendarme. Given our overnight packs and time constraints, we opted for the original route and rigged our rappel towards the NW Face (someone should replace the manky, 1/4″ bolts at this rappel). The following two traversing pitches seemed dubious from the rappel, but they unfolded uneventfully (pitons lead the way) and we were soon on easier ground and out of the rockfall gully. The summit appeared after a few hundred more feet of largely solid climbing (stay out of any gully encountered) and we unroped for a well-deserved break around 2pm. All that separated us from the car was the Cascadian Couloir, which is as little fun as most folks say it is…maybe less. Soon enough, we were strolling along Ingalls Creek and spying our exit climb back over Longs Pass–the barrier between us and the trailhead. The climb back up the pass helped us forget the suffering in the Cascadian and an hour later we were back at the cars and scheming up another trip!
60 meter rope (a 50M will suffice)
Single cams to 3″, set of stoppers
8 single slings, 1 double sling, 1 6mm cordelette
rock shoes, harness, helmet
38cm ice axe, aluminum crampons
bivy kit (firstlight tent, Jetboil Sol Ti, NeoAir, 1lb sleeping bag)