OverviewAlpine Lakes Wilderness just south of Leavenworth. This range is almost perfectly in the middle (north to south) of the state and and is in the central Cascades. The range was probably named after Mount Stuart which was named by George B. McClellan in honor of his friend "Jimmie Stuart". There are 10 Bulgar Peaks (Washington Top 100) in this region. One can enjoy hiking, back packing, rock climbing, scrambling, ice climbing, fall foliage, goats, lakes, and beautiful mountains. This range has a lot to offer to outdoor enthusiast.
A lot could be said about this range in terms of quality, beauty, and alpine joy. But I'll let the pictures do the talking, the links do the explaining, and the paragraphs give you an idea of what this place has to offer. If you live in this state, are able bodied, and have the means for traveling, then you have no excuse to not visit this place! They don't call the central Stuart Range The Enchantment for nothing. Each peak in the range has a different adventure awaiting for you to come out and explore. While in late summer crowds serge through this alpine arena, you can certainly find places where you won't see another person. This is some of Washington's best mountains.
Getting ThereStuart Lake Trailhead: From Seattle head onto highway 520 across Lake Washington. In 6.7 miles head onto I-405 North towards Everett. In about 8 miles take exit 23 onto highway 522 towards Monroe. In Monroe head east on Highway 2 towards Stevens Pass. Roughly 85 miles later you arrive in Leavenworth which is right in front of the Stuart range. Take a right onto Icicle Creek road. In 8.5 miles turn left onto NF 7600. In 3.6 miles you arrive at the Stuart Lake Trailhead.
Snow Creek Trailhead:
Ingalls Creek Trailhead: Coming Soon...
Esmeralda Basin Trailhead:
Major SummitsMount Stuart (9,415 feet) is the highest peak in the range. It has many exciting routes on it for different alpine styles. It can be scrambled via the Cascadian Couloir (3rd Class), it can be an ice climb via the Ice Cliff Glacier (Grade II-III), or rock climbed up the West Ridge (5.4). There many other routes which include the Sherpa Glacier (glacier climb), the North Ridge (5.9), and the Stuart Glacier Couloir (AI2, Low 5th). This mountain can be seen from many mountains through out the Washington Cascades.
Dragontail (8,840 feet) hangs over Colchuck Lake with it's massive steep face which is breath taking on a clear day. Most folks hike up it's East Ridge while the more technical mountaineers go up the Triple Couloirs (AI/WI 3, 5.7) or the Backbone Ridge With Fin Direct (5.9). There is also the Northeast Buttress (5.8), the Serpentine Ridge (5.8), West Route (Steep Snow and Scrambling), and the Dragontail Annapurna Snow Col route (class 2-3).
Colchuck Peak (8,705 feet) is located between Dragontail and Argonaut Peak. It's impressive North Face has a multitude of technical climbing routes. Most folks go up the Colchuck Glacier (snow hike) which is an excellent day trip. The harder routes include Northeast Buttress (5.8), North Buttress (Class 4-5), North Buttress Couloir (Grade II), and the Northeast Buttress Couloir (AI 2-3, 5.4). I know... lots of North Face routes. Every route up Colchuck Peak is a fun one. Plus one can glissade down the Colchuck Glacier.
Cannon Mountain (8,638 feet) is on the northern side of the Stuart Range. This mountain has two main routes up it which are non technical. The Northeast Ridge is class 3, while the Prusik Pass Route is a simple walk up. The Northeast Ridge has a lot of fallen over trees at the beginning making for an interesting approach while later on having some fun scrambling. The Prusik Pass route is technically easier, but is much more distance over all. Both routes can be done in a day, but don't expect to have a lot of energy afterwards.
Sherpa Peak (8,605 feet) from a distance almost looks like a high point on Mount Stuart. But it has over 400 feet of prominence hence qualifying as it's own peak. All routes up this peak are technical requiring a rope and protection. The main three routes are the West Ridge (5.4), North Ridge (5.8), and the Northeast Couloir (5.0).
Enchantment Peak (8,520 feet) is right in the center of the Stuart Range. The main route up this peak goes up from Colchuck Lake to Aasgard Pass. From the pass over though the Enchantments Basin and up to Prusik Pass. At the pass the route heads west up Enchantment Peaks ridge to the summit block. The summit block is class 3+.
Witches Tower (8,520 feet)
Argonaut Peak (8,453 feet)
Little Annapurna (8,440 feet)
McClellan Peak (8,364 feet)
Prusik Peak (8,000 feet)
South Wedge Mountain (6,885 feet)
Red TapeComing Soon...
Mountain ConditionsFor current weather information on Stuart Range check in with the Noaa Forecast.
For Avalanche Conditions, check in with the Northwest Avalanche Center. (Limited based on the season)
Road conditions can be seen on the Forest Service site. Just scroll down to where it says "Icicle Road 7600" which is where it should say the conditions. Personally I'd give them a call if I didn't have a backup plan because you never know when the site doesn't get updated.
When to ClimbComing Soon...
Wildlife and Flowers
- Stuart Range Traverse on September 10-11, 2011: This trip report contains information on doing a traverse on the entire Western side of the Stuart Range