Mt Stuart via the central couloir to the West Ridge
My old partner Nick and I had a free day and wanted to get into the mountains. We kicked around some ideas and settled on the West Ridge of Mt Stuart approaching by the couloir that leads directly to the West Ridge notch.
Mt Stuart from Long's pass
With the soft snow of spring we knew we would be in for a long day so we started at 5 AM from the trail head. An hour of steady walking brought us to Long's pass and our first views of Mt Stuart.
Nick in the couloir
We dropped down Long's pass and into Ingall's Creek valley, found an easy log crossing over the river and made our way to the large couloir splitting the south face. We climbed the coulor bypassing several waterfalls, and in once case climbing directly through one. Good thing it was a warm day!
Rappelling into the correct branch
At one point we realized we had taken the wrong branch and had to make a rappel to gain the correct branch of the couloir. The couloir was seemingly endless, but eventually did end right at the West Ridge notch, just where the climbing on the standard West Ridge route becomes interesting. I scrambled one pitch.
EB on the north face
Nick led an exposed pitch which ended on the North Face. I led the next pitch the rest of the way across the North Face and back onto the South Face, finding some expensive gear along the way. If you lost something let me know and I will get it back to you. The next few pitches went quickly and Nick led the final pitch to the summit.
Nick on the last pitch
EB on the summit
It was 4 in the afternoon by the time we summitted and the snow had become very soft, making the initial downclimbing tedious. We eventually crossed into the Cascadian Couloir and made several long glissades. Some more downclimbing brought us to the Ingall's Creek valley where we quickly located our log crossing. The hike back up to Long's Pass was demoralizing, but less than an hour after getting back up to Long's Pass we were back at the car, a bit less than 17 hours after leaving it.
All in all a good, long day in the hills with a great friend and partner.