A friend and I want to do North Ridge of Stuart and are debating which approach is better to take? We would love to take one that is easier to follow without GPS and more scenic one. Wich one is better North or South?
The northern approach up Mountaineer Creek to Stuart Lake is probably the best bet. The trail is good and the scenery is pretty great too. There is a climbers path branching off the Stuart Lake trail right after the lowland swampy area (look for a cairn on the left in the bend of the first switchback) and this should take you into the basin where you can access the North Ridge. As I recall, the Beckey guide has a pretty good description of the approach and as long as you find the path you shouldn't really need a GPS (this info is accurate as far as I know but you should always double check). That area is notorious for bugs so take plenty of spray. You can always crash in Leavenworth afterwards for a beer!
Sounds good. Are there some kind of trail signs to recognize that those are the switchbacks towards Lake Stuart (aside from the cairn)? Or is it fairly obvious to anyone with BC travel experience? I fear totally new places. Feels like going to the moon at times.
My friend and I summited Stuart today and I think we might have taken an alternate route accidentally. We went up Cascadian but then climbed up and over the ride to the left of the glacier (as you are looking up at the glacier from the boulder field, the ridge/wall to the left of the glacier). We then scrambled across the lower SW side of the ridge traverse and did some rather sketchy scrambling/rock climbing and ended up passing beneath the summit by only a couple hundred feet moving westbound. We then edged our way around and eventually up to the summit. If it helps, we ended up coming up and over to the summit from the opposite side than the normal ridge traverse (we arrived at the summit climbing eastbound and actually had to hike our way through a couple rock climber nests. It was obvious to me that this was not the route intended by normal hikers/novice climbers. This was very technical and I was wondering if it had a route name? We have rock climbing experience but we definitely were not planning on using it. Did we accidentally transition into a different couloir? Any thoughts? Thanks a million. trying to learn from our mistakes!
I have pictures if my confusing words were not of help.