MM Collection
Checking in from the Condor's Nest on Illimani, Bolivia. MM Collection
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July 6, 2012

Leavenworth rock and Cascade Classic - West Ridge of Mount Stuart!

Chris and I spent the last 5 days climbing together, with our main objective being the West Ridge of Mount Stuart.  After doing several glacier and snow climbs with Mountain Madness, Chris was interested in learning more about the world of multi-pitch and alpine rock climbing.  So we began our journey in Icicle Creek Canyon outside of Leavenworth.  Here we battled some rainy weather, but covered a lot of material and managed to get in a couple of multi-pitch routes. After a couple days in Leavenworth we were ready to take on a primary alpine rock objective.  After checking the weather, and debating for a while we decided the Enchantments were the place to go.  Mt. Stuart is the high point of the Enchantments, and offers excellent granite in a beautiful remote location.    

We got our first view of the west ridge of Mt. Stuart after a couple hours of hiking from the end of the Teanaway river road.

Mount Stuart. Chris Chicoskie photo

Around 4:30pm we arrived in camp and started to scope out our line from Stuart Pass. 

Alan pointing out the West Ridge of Mt. Stuart. Chris Chicoskie photo

The next morning 3 am seemed to come very early.  We brewed up and left camp at 4 am.  We found headlamps unnecessary by 4:30 and started cruising up the entry couloir to the west.

Chris Chicoskie photo

We were making great time up the route and found the snow was just soft enough that crampons were not needed, making our transitions from rock to snow that much easier.  Before we knew it, we were approaching Long John Tower, and gaining the upper portion of the route where the bulk of the technical climbing resides.

Chris Chicoskie photo

After a couple more hours of traveling through technical rock terrain along the ridge crest we approached the Summit Pyramid.  

 

 Chris Chicoskie video

While the climbing difficulty on the upper ridge is generally fairly moderate we found sections of the route covered in snow and thin ice.  The route conditions combined with the exposure of topping out a 2,000 ft ridge made our last couple hours on route quite engaging. 

Perseverance paid off and, 8 and a half hours after leaving camp, Chris and I completed our objective the West Ridge of Mount Stuart.  

On the summit! Chris Chicoskie photo

Now we had to descend the East Ridge to the Cascadian Couloir and take the Ingalls creek trail back up to camp.  When we arrived back in camp we cooked up some victory burritos and enjoyed a splash of Whiskey. 

Gourmet burritos! Chris Chicoskie photo

We also had a herd of dinner guests that came to see what salty things they could try and get from us.

Chris Chicoskie photo

We had a great week of climbing and instruction between Leavenworth and the Enchantments.  Chris and I have been chatting about future adventures and I look forward to sharing an outing with him again soon.  Thanks for a great week Chris!

~ MM Guide Alan Rousseau