What better to do on a clear saturday than get up at 4:00 am and sort gear to climb a mountain that is 3 hours away? I'm super grumpy when I get up early in the morning so the first few minutes are always rough, but as soon as I hear the sound of hexes and nuts banging together I'm ready for anything!
Rachel and I left seattle at 5:00 am and were at the Ingalls Lake trailhead by 8:00. On the way were treated to a nice sunrise through morning fog.
sunrise from the road to the trailhead
The trail in was easily graded and we were standing at Ingalls Pass before no time at all. Here is where we had our first view of Ingalls Peaks. There were some clouds blowing on and off the peaks but the weather was looking excellent so far.
First view of the peaks
Finding our way up to the base of the south ridge climb was very strait forward. We just went to the lake, then headed west up slabs and talus. In clear weather it would be hard to get lost as you are right underneath North Ingalls. We harnessed up before we started up the first pitch a lot of people rope up for just in case. The obvious crack going up this pitch was fairly slippery so I opted to climb to the left of it. It was fairly easy scrambling to the top where I set a hand line for Rachel to come up with.
first pitch handline
In dry conditions this pitch would be an easy scramble.
From the time we started the technical climbing a cloud enveloped the south and west side of the peak. We ended up climbing in a cloud the whole time. We took the 5.6 crack in the middle of the second pitch which was much more fun than the other option looked.
from the top of the first pitch Rachel climbing in a cloud
Above this 5.6 crack (which I think might be more like 5.4) the climbing was easy and fun. The last move on the 4th pitch requites a weird smear on super slick rock, that added a little spice to the climb. Somehow, after we scrambled from the top pitch to the summit, we broke out of the clouds so we could see stuart and everything to the east.
Rachel on the summit
We watched a helicopter circling around and around Ingalls for at least 30 min before it moved over to Stuart. It was weird because there was no sign of anyone else around the Ingalls area. We didn't see anyone on the way in or on the climb. We lazed on the summit for a little while then started the rappels back down.
Rachel on rappel
four rappels saw us back to the col between north and south peaks where we put the technical gear away and drank some water. It was only 1:00 by the time we were done with the climb so we decided to scramble up South Ingalls just for kicks. It was a great idea because we got an excellent view of our route on the way up to the top!
South Ridge of Ingalls
From the top we found excellent views of Ingalls Lake and Mount Stuart. Mount stuart was just starting to stick its head into the clouds.
Ingalls Lake and Mount Stuart from South Ingalls
The clouds were starting to come in and lower so we figured we should start heading back to the car. The scramble down was uneventful scree and talus which led back to a nice trail. About a half mile from the trailhead it began to rain in spurts of huge drops. By the time we were at the car and driving out, it was a downpour which ended before we even got to I-90.
All in all it was an excellent trip to a normally overcrowded place with no people. I think I've been getting lucky this summer because I've had so many popular climbs to myself!