Mt. Stewart is the impressive peak that, along with Eagle Scout Peak
just a couple of miles to the south, frames the beautiful Valhalla area in Sequoia National Park. It is a prominent sight when hiking up the High Sierra Trail (HST) to Kaweah Gap. Although not particularly high by High Sierra standards, there is nonetheless a spectacular view of Black Kaweah
and the surrounding area from the summit. The peak appears on the SPS List, and as a result is commonly climbed with the other nearby listed peaks, including Eagle Scout Peak and Lion Rock
. Like these peaks, Mt. Stewart lies along the Great Western Divide.
The peak is easily climbed from the vicinity of Kaweah Gap. The most direct route is to follow the south ridge from the vicinity of the pass (class 2, with some unexposed 3rd class at one spot along the ridge); this involves seemingly endless and time-consuming boulder hopping. A better (faster) option is to instead climb the southeast slopes
. Hike north past Lake 10,440' in Nine Lakes Basin to a weakness in the cliffs here. A grassy ramp/gully leads up and left to a sandy bowl below the summit, from where easy ledges and talus (also class 2) lead to the summit block, which lies at the western end of a (dull) knife-edge ridge. The summit block itself is third class with some exposure, and is most easily climbed via a subsidiary block on its south side, or by a friction slab on its east side.
The north side of the peak is impressively steep, and is home to a number of technical climbs. Secor lists two: the North Face (III, 5.6), and Dawn Pillar, which climbs the western buttress on the north face (III, 5.10). As one might expect given the long (15+ mile) approach required just to reach the base of these routes, these see few ascents.
Although Lion Rock is just a short distance away, the two peaks are separated by a difficult serrated ridgeline. (There are no entries in the summit register describing a direct traverse between the two peaks.) It may be necessary to drop down off the ridge into Nine Lakes Basin if traversing to Lion Rock.
Follow the directions on the Eagle Scout Peak
page to Kaweah Gap to reach the usual scramble routes on the peak. The technical routes on the north side are also reached by following the HST out of Crescent Meadow, but for these, leave the HST at Bearpaw Meadow, following the trail to Tamarack Lake.
Red Tape, Camping, Conditions, etc.
The peak lies less than two miles north of Eagle Scout Peak
, and all the same red tape, mountain conditions, etc. apply. Please refer to that page for details.
"George W. Stewart (1857-1931), the 'Father of Sequoia Park.' As editor of The Visalia Delta
in the late 1880s, Stewart was the chief promoter of the plan to create Sequoia and General Grant national parks. He was a staunch conservationist, a learned amateur anthropologist, and registrar of the General Land Office in Visalia, 1898-1914. (Memorial by Farquhar in SCB
17, no. 1, Feb. 1932: 49-52.)
The name was proposed by the Visalia Kiwanis Club in April 1929, and appeared on the first edition of the Tehipite
30' map, 1939."
- Peter Browning, Place Names of the Sierra Nevada