Solitude on Mount Stuart

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After much exchanging of schedules, Christi and I made a plan to climb the North Ridge of Mount Stuart the last weekend in July. Christi packed the rope and fresh baked cookies and I brought the rack and tent.

The weather looked perfect, we packed light and put a camp at Ingalls Pass to give us a bivy spot and a little more sleep. We started at 4:30 and made good time till the hike below Goat Pass and wandered a bit in the talus field for a while.

The traverse across the Stuart Glacier was mellow and uneventful. A couple was a head of us but turned around leaving us on our own for the day!Glacial recession exposed some more rock below the gully , so we had some alpine spice before 8, avoiding
looseness. Christi took the first block from just below the notch and led us to the first hard move, where I took over for a pitch. Christi got her grove on as it was her second lead of the summer and led the second block to the Gendarme!

We climbed the first 2 pitches of the Gendarme, awesome, even the offwidth with many features outside for feet felt fun. We climbed around to the saddle for pitch 3 and arrived at the saddle where simul-climbing is not a great option. I tried to shorten the rope, but I ended up pitching it out for another 4 pitches and ended up 1 pitch below the summit. We finally encounter people, 6 climbers from the West Ridge, breaking our solitude for the the first time since we crossed the glacier, what a gift!

Sharing the route finding down the Cascadian, we headed down to beat the sunset, since it was just after 5. The descent was long, with a small snow field, many lost trails and headlamps on from Ingalls Creek to our tent. We made it back after 11, slept till 4 and drove home at 6.
Although our spouses were worried, we just a few hours behind schedule. With no cell phone reception till the end of the Teanaway River Road, apologies waited till after 7 AM. Still a classic day in the Alpine, Thanks Christi!

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