Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt. Stuart via Cascadian Couloir 9/27 -28
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wildernessed
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 1:47 pm 
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Conditions Location : NE of Cle Elum, Wa.
Access: Teanaway River Rd. > North Fork Teanaway Rd. to Esmeralda TH
Guidebooks : Climbing Washingtons Mountains by Smoot
Maps: USGS Quad and GTM – Mt. Stuart, Custom TOPO
Stats : 12.3 mi, 8500’ r/t from TH

Mt Stuart 9415' via Cascadian Couloir
Mt Stuart 9415' via Cascadian Couloir

I have always admired this mountain from trails, ridges, and peaks around it, both near and far, and have wanted to climb it for quite some time. Kyled and GeoTom had both took an interest in the same, and after scheduling and weather aligned, we finally made it happen.
So with some nice fall weather and a high pressure ridge in place, we met at the Esmerelda TH and began backpacking to the Ingalls Way Trail and after quite a few switchbacks and emerging views of Esmerelda, Hawkins, Fortune Peaks and others came to Longs Pass with sweeping views from Stuart Pass, Ingalls Pass, Ingalls Creek valley, Mt. Stuart, and the Enchantments.

Color along Ingalls Way Trail
Color along Ingalls Way Trail
Esmerelda - Hawkins - Ingallls Pass - Fortune
Esmerelda - Hawkins - Ingallls Pass - Fortune
Fall Color
Fall Color
Mt Stuart from Longs Pass
Mt Stuart from Longs Pass

We descended the climbers path /trail, which is in good condition down to, and across a low Ingalls Creek which was easily rock hopped to the Ingalls Creek trail. As we walked I told them to keep an eye out for a possible climbers path heading left of trail (North), and at 4800’ at the edge of a grassy slope near the treeline we spotted a prominent path, I checked my GPS and sure enough the Cascadian Couloir was due North, and to top it off there was an empty horse campsite, with a nice stream running through it, so we setup camp there. We later walked the path up 600’ or so to the beginning of the small boulder field and could visualize the route, Sweet !

W's flat
W's flat
GeoTom Bivy Way
GeoTom Bivy Way
Kyles House
Kyles House

We were hanging around the campsite and I saw someone coming down the path and mentioned it, and when we went to check it out, we ran into the Schmidts and Yukon222, who were heading East after doing Fortune and S. Ingalls, they planned on doing Mt. Stuart from the couloir North of the Ingalls – Beverly Turnpike jct. and ended up camping next to us for the night. It was nice meeting them, I rarely see people on the trails I frequent, let alone nwhikers members, so they settled in, and we all talked awhile, before I got cold, and bid everyone good night.

Schmidts - Yukon222 Fortune - S. Ingalls - Mt. Stuart TR

Kyled, GeoTom, and I were on the trail before dawn initially heading up by headlamp, wanting to give ourselves time, and some sun-free elevation gain, we made good time going up, the gulley wasn’t as bad as advertised, they pulled away fairly quickly, I didn’t feel like I had any energy, so I downed a couple GU’s and some Shot Blocks.

Looking back down in the a.m.
Looking back down in the a.m.
Sunrise
Sunrise
Cascadian Couloir
Cascadian Couloir

They were out of sight with time, and we hit the boulder field before the sun started shining on us, which was pretty good, I went to the left of the gulley, where you can avoid a lot of the boulders, but not all, they went to the right into another gulley avoiding all the boulders, and we met at the bottom of the snowfield gulley below the false summit.

Boulder field
Boulder field
Section of Ridge.
Section of Ridge.

They had already taken a break, and started heading up the gulley on the right side of the snowfield, I had to rest, fill my bladder with some snow, and more GU . The snow was hard like ice, but fragile, and I broke through to the loose rock below, so I went up the left side where there was more rock, though the rock below the false summit area is all loose and I would argue the crux of the trip is the loose rock around and leading up the False Summit gulley.
As I peeked across the ridge from the False summit, I saw Kyled on the summit, and GeoTom near it on the ridge. The ridge was a welcome break from the climb, with nice blocky rock easily navigatable (class 2-3), eventually I made it over to the final section, and the much talked about slab to the summit, which wasn’t bad at all, there are huge cracks for feet and hands that made the transition easy.

Mt. Stuart's summit from the False summit.
Mt. Stuart's summit from the False summit.
Glacier Peak
Glacier Peak
Mt. Rainier
Mt. Rainier
Mt. Adams in the distance.
Mt. Adams in the distance.
Southwest summit area
Southwest summit area
Lake Stuart
Lake Stuart
Enchantments from Stuart.
Enchantments from Stuart.
Ridge from Mt. Stuart's summit to False Summit.
Ridge from Mt. Stuart's summit to False Summit.
Upper section of gulley going to False Summit.
Upper section of gulley going to False Summit.
Sherpa Peak
Sherpa Peak
Looking West from the summit
Looking West from the summit
Glacier from the summit
Glacier from the summit
Baker - Sloan - Glacier
Baker - Sloan - Glacier
Fortune - S. Ingalls - Ingalls - Ingalls Lake
Fortune - S. Ingalls - Ingalls - Ingalls Lake

I just wanted to rest, that is a lot of elevation in a short stretch.It was warm, with spectacular views as the photos will show, very gratifying. We stayed quite awhile eating, resting, and taking pics.
When we did leave we took the low route, we came in the high route. Near the South ridge of the False summit we ran into Yukon and the Schmidts, and chatted briefly, before making our way over the ridge and down below the East side of the ridge.

Kyled looking for route across false summit ridge.
Kyled looking for route across false summit ridge.
Upper section of gulley going to False Summit.
Upper section of gulley going to False Summit.

We descended initially down the couloir coming up from the NE and avoided the boulder field, then crossed over a low ridge back into the Cascadian Couloir, which is a little more tricky going down, with the loose rock and sand, eventually you come to another section where a second couloir goes to the right (SSW), we stayed to the left and remained in the CC. The CC gets narrower, then ends with a small boulder field, and finally the trail down through low brush.

Mt. Stuart summit from brush N of  Ingalls Creek trail.
Mt. Stuart summit from brush N of  Ingalls Creek trail.

I was whipped, but felt better after some food and cold powerade, we packed up, then made the slog back up to Longs Pass, then down to the parking lot on auto-pilot.

Longs Pass from climbers trail in Ingalls Creek Basin.
Longs Pass from climbers trail in Ingalls Creek Basin.

What a great trip, a piece of work for sure, but what a payoff, it doesn’t get any better than that as far as scrambles go. I thank Kyled and GeoTom for sharing the experience with me, great companions, and scramblers. Thanks guys. Also Schmidts and Yukon nice to have met you. All you guys are freaks, in a good way !

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wildernessed
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 1:49 pm 
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Mt Stuart-Enchantments-Ingalls Creek Basin
Mt Stuart-Enchantments-Ingalls Creek Basin
Pano on the run
Pano on the run
Working the ridge to Kyled and GeoTom
Working the ridge to Kyled and GeoTom

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Mtn Man
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 2:27 pm 
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Cool trip, I'd like to do this one of these days!  I was across the way around Lake Ingalls.  Looks like there were a lot of NWHikers in that region over the weekend.

B)

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Mmmmm, backcountry...
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Bloated Chipmunk
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 3:14 pm 
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Wow, great job!  Looks like a lot of work but amazing views from the top.  We were admiring Stuart from atop Esmeralda on Saturday, did you see us?  wave.gif  wink.gif

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Home is where the hiking is. 

"Peaks that have come and gone four times should halt a man in his steps." -- William O. Douglas

A balanced diet is a margarita in each hand.
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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 3:16 pm 
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We waved toward Stuart from Snowgrass too wave.gif

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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TrailPair
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 3:33 pm 
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Since we knew of your plans to conquer Stuart, it was a topic of conversation while we were hiking to Snowy Lakes.  Well done!  agree.gif  up.gif  cool.gif  rocker.gif

That is quite an effort....but I know GeoTom likes the rocks! lol.gif

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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RichP
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 3:41 pm 
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Nice work guys up.gif .

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Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
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wildernessed
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 4:16 pm 
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Thanks all, looks like everybody was out, I never saw so many cars at a TH, it was like a summer day.  hockeygrin.gif

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Get Out and Go
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 4:19 pm 
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Well done up.gif  up.gif  up.gif    Rob, I know you lusted for this one a long while.  My hat's off for all you guys. horsey.gif
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loper
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 5:44 pm 
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Nice trip report.  Have always wanted to get up there some day.  Now I have some more incentive via your pictures!
Well done.
L
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Tom_Sjolseth
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 5:47 pm 
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Nice trip report!  Looks like you guys had perfect weather.   up.gif
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Tazz
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 5:50 pm 
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Yeah this weather is better than doing that route in the nasty hot weasther.  eek.gif

good tr Rob!  So glad you got back out this year.  up.gif
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MLHSN
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 5:51 pm 
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right on, glad you finally made it up there Wildy up.gif
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wildernessed
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 5:52 pm 
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loper wrote:
Nice trip report.  Have always wanted to get up there some day.  Now I have some more incentive via your pictures!
Well done.
L

My pics were somewhat limited, I took my wifes 7 year old 4mp 3x camera, but Kyled and GeoTom should have some really nice pics.

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wildernessed
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PostMon Sep 29, 2008 5:58 pm 
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Tom_Sjolseth wrote:
Nice trip report!  Looks like you guys had perfect weather.   up.gif

Thanks Tom for the beta, now there is a Topographic map of the route, there is alot of different and conflicting information out there. The weather was spectacular, it was like summer.

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