|Mt. Stuart from the summit of Dragontail Peak. James Pierson|
For the Upper North Ridge, you access the mountain from I-90 and approach from the west from Longs Pass Trail and Ingalls Lake, crossing over Goat Pass and the Stuart Glacier. Most teams cross the glacier, scramble up 4th class rock to reach the bivy sites on the ridge, then continue with the climb the next day. The descent for this route takes you down the Cascadian Couloir on the southwest side of the mountain and then back to Long's Pass.
|Simul-climbing on the 3000' Direct North Ridge of Stuart.|
Another option for early season climbing is to approach from Leavenworth and the Mountaineer Creek trailhead on the northeast side of the mountain. The bonus to this approach is that you can tackle the Complete North Ridge. With an extra 10 pitches of outstanding climbing added, it is one of the best routes in the range. The flip side to this approach is that you have a more technical descent down the Sherpa Glacier, which is only viable in the early season.
|AAI Guide Andrew Yasso descending Mt. Stuart in August. Andrew Yasso|
|A climber high on the Upper North Ridge of Mt. Stuart. AAI Collection|
|A panoramic photo from Dragontail Peak, looking north with Mt. Stuart on the left. |
Click to enlarge. James Pierson
With the snow and glacier crossing, a mid-route bivy and carry-over, the North Ridge of Mt. Stuart has become one of the crown jewels of Cascade alpinism and has found it's way to the tick lists of many climbers. Mark and Janelle Smiley decided to start working through the list of the "50 Classics in North America" back in 2010. So far, they have 44 completed. Below is a video they made of their ascent of the North Ridge last summer.
If you would like to climb Mt. Stuart, via the North Ridge or any of the other routes, give us a call. We'd love to get you out to experience this Cascade Classic!
-- James Pierson (historical ascent data courtesy "Classic Climbs of the Northwest", Alan Kearney)