Distance: 13.something miles
Elevation: 8500ft !
So I was supposed to meet up with Matt Lemke and Josh for this but they were wasted from a climb the day before so I ended up solo at the Esmeralda TH early. I contemplated something like a traverse of lesser peaks but was really psyched for Stuart so I thought id give it a shot. Gave myself a reasonable turnaround time and promised I wouldnt do anything dumn
Left the trailhead around 5:30 enjoying sunrise and shadows through the Esmeralda Basin and up to Long's Pass.
Reaching Long's Pass was pretty uneventful but little did I know what the trail below the pass and above Ingalls Creek had in for me. There is still snow just below the pass which turns into what is pretty much a creek and then a bog. Good luck staying on trail here. No pics because it sucked.
Getting into the Cascadian was pretty easy thanks to the pretty clear trail off of Ingalls. Going up was no problem other than the dust but coming down is another story all together. Its loose and rocky and hot and you will probably injure the rest of your party knocking rocks loose and trundling them down onto their heads.
The snow below the false summit was pretty variable for a warm and sunny day. Really icy in spots and really soft in others and it pretty much stayed like that throughout the ascent and descent.
Getting from the false summit to the main summit was the only place I had problems and it was mostly cause by all the cairns leading to dead ends. Luckily there was another solo person up on the summit as I was figuring out the scramble and as he descended I watched his route leading me to the summit block. The big note here for me was that I reached the summit at 11:30am and my turnaround was 2:00! Didnt spend much time on the summit opting to descend to the false summit or below and have lunch.
Descending through the meadows at the base of Stuart was really one of the best parts of the day. Weather was beautiful and it was still early enough in the day that I could be at the car at a reasonable time so id maybe get home to tuck the kids in.
Notes: If the I90 discover pass hikes are dumpster dives then this route is the garbage chute of the teanaway. The descent was horrible with how lose and dusty it was the whole way down making it easily the most dangerous part of the day. As a result of that alone id never want to do this with more than 2 other people at most and stay close because it is inevitable something is gonna come lose and roll down the gulley.
I normally dont write TRs but this was a pretty awesome day so thought it would be worth reiterating a bit of the experience. I think being solo really made this even more special because its really an amazing peak. Once I reached Long's Pass on the way back to the car I had permagrin thinking back through the day.
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