West Ridge on Mount Stuart

Sunrise on larches and Mount Stuart

Sunrise on larches and Mount Stuart

After comically getting snowed and rained out of Boston Basin on Saturday, dashing hopes of climbing the East and North Ridges on Forbidden Peak, Skye and I drove South to the trailhead of Mount Stuart, arriving at about 10pm. We slept until a little after 5am, packed, and were moving around 5:45am.

We did the approach pretty quickly, passing a beautiful field of larches near Ingalls Lake at sunrise and reaching the talus traverse below the route at about 9:30am. The gully starting the climb went quickly and was fun 3rd and 4th class scrambling. We reached the top of the gully in about 1:15, then spent the next 3 hours weaving our way up the ridge. As described, there's a bit of steeper climbing on the way up to Long John tower, one airy step around the West Horn, and then a little more easy 5th climbing past the West Ridge Notch to the summit, with the last pitches being the most fun. We had a great time and roped up for some simul-climbing any time we needed to.

The descent went better than my experience coming down from the North Ridge with Dale, but still hurt. There's no great way down the Cascadian Couloir. Unfortunately, near the bottom, I'd descended faster than Skye and she'd taken a turn out of the couloir, so we didn't end up in the same place. After a few feverish moments yelling each other's names, we reunited on the trail and hiked out via Long's Pass. Just as we were getting to Long's Pass, the sun was setting, lighting up the West and South faces of Mount Stuart—it was gorgeous. We descended back to the car, finishing around 8pm. It was a perfect fall day for an easy ridge climb.