Mount Stuart Additions and Corrections

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scottv - Jul 16, 2008 3:50 am - Hasn't voted

Girth Pillar TR

Hi, I'm not sure how/whether you want to incorporate this, but just saw it go out on the Washington Alpine Club listserve:

Girth Pillar via Sherpa Glacier
Posted by: Joe Sambataro

This route offers the full meal deal: technical ice, exposed steep climbing on a big mountain, and lets not forget, a technical glacier decent (especially when done
in the dark). We bivied in the scree between the Sherpa and Ice Cliff Glacier, woke at 3:30am and headed up the Ice Cliff. Kyle climbed in his approach shoes and
aluminum crampons with an axe while I carried a light tool with my leathers and steel crampons to lead the ice step on climbers left of the ice fall. We didn~Rt carry
screws, but I recommend a couple screws depending on your comfort level, and when I come to think about it, for v-threads if you have to bail. I led the step with
both the axe and tool, then dropped both down to Kyle and built a rock anchor on the adjacent rock wall. A dirty gulley of snow led to the approach pitches.

I took the first block, 3 approach pitches of 5.6-5.8 steps and the first pitch on Girth Pillar. The bottom of the crack was a bit wet so I climbed up the corner 15~R
before making a wide step left into a sweet 5.10 crack to a small ledge. I set up the haul line for the pack but this was a major slow down~WI don~Rt recommend
hauling on an 8.1mm rope with a tibloc~WI shredded my sheath quite a bit to retire my third rope. Kyle led from here, including a cruxy finger traverse at 10+. For
the third pitch, Kyle took the obvious line up the center of the pillar, which offered over 100~R of solid hand jams. At a white sling, you have an option to cut left
into the original 11c, but this is where the left half of the pillar collapsed in the 90s. After a short OW, easier simul climbing led to the false summit.

Here is where we messed up: the descent. If we got it right the first time, we would have saved 4+ hours and likely gotten back to the car on day 2. However, we
misread the beta and traversed on the south side all the way to the base of Sherpa Peak before regaining valuable feet lost to descend the gulley at the far
(climbers) right. After 1,500~R of downclimbing 40 degree snow, we found a rap station over the schrund at dark. I~Rll spare you the details, but we zigzagged left
and right in a moonless night before finding our way down to our bivy by 3am. Like the guidebook says, stay to the climbers right and downclimb slabs and snow to a
short rap. Avoid the gulley and climbers left. We hiked out the next morning and drove to Mazama.

Gear: 1 axe/tool each, double rack to 2~T, 1 #3, 8.1mm haul line and a 60m single.
(5.11, 9 pitches, Grade 5)

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