Ascent of Mount Stuart on 2018-08-22

Climber: Eric Gilbertson

Date:Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Stuart
    Elevation:9415 ft / 2869 m

Ascent Trip Report

Eric Gilbertson
August 22, 2018, 5am – 12pm

I’d just gotten back to the US from climbing a bunch of country highpoints (Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, DRC, and Saudi Arabia) over the past three weeks, and was eager to get into the wilderness of the Cascades on mountains with no red tape. After a rest day in Seattle I drove out to the Ingalls Creek trailhead Tuesday night and slept in the back of the car with plans to climb Mt Stuart the next day.

I’d already climbed Mt Stuart in 2015 via the technical west ridge route, but was looking to get a fast Bulger completion time this summer. By reclimbing Mt Stuart I could shave at least a year off the clock. Also, Stuart was far enough east of the crest that I was concerned about it getting closed off by forest fires, so I wanted to grab it while I could. Already almost the entire national forest system east of the crest had been closed off from forest fires since I left at the beginning of August.

I was still not completely adjusted from the Saudi Arabia time zone, so an alpine start was not much of a problem. I was up on my own without an alarm at 4:30am and started hiking by 5am. I quickly hiked up to Long’s Pass as the sun rose and got a good view of Stuart. The air was pretty smoky from all the nearby fires, but luckily nothing was burning too close to Stuart.

I descended down to Ingalls Creek and easily rock hopped across. I remembered coming back here in early May one year when the creek was completely different – it was a raging river with all the snow melt, and I’d had to carefully scoot across a fallen log to make it across. Luckily it was much easier this time.

I turned right at the trail and hiked down for a few minutes until I intersected the climbers trail on the left leading to the Cascadian Couloir. This trail was on the opposite side as the main campsite location for Stuart. The trail was pretty easy to follow up through the trees, and I soon made it into the scree couloir. I scrambled up the couloir, then over talus, until I was on a ridge crest with a great view of Sherpa Peak to the east.

I crossed over a rib coming down from the false summit of Stuart, then followed cairns and scrambled up to the true summit by 8:45am. The air around was pretty smoky, but I still got great views of the enchantments, Rainier, and Glacier Peak. I sent Katie a satellite text saying I’d probably be home earlier than expected.

By 9am I was scrambling back down. I had some fun scree surfing down the couloir, then hiked back the same way to the trailhead by noon. Unfortunately there was some road construction going on, so I had to wait a while before it was clear to drive through. I made it back to Seattle before rush hour, around 3pm.

Link to full trip report and pictures.
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