Home > Trip Reports > May 18, 2003, Mt Stuart

May 18, 2003, Mt Stuart

WA Cascades East Slopes Central
Posted by alpentalcorey on 5/19/03 1:25am
A fantastic yet grueling day in the mountains!  I had been thinking about this tour for a couple of weeks, and was really glad that it finally came together.  I am also thankful to have found some good companions after my original partner bagged out.  David Coleman and I met in the afternoon on Saturday (I work very late on Fridays which can make an early start on saturday a bit problematic), and drove separate cars towards the trailhead up the Teanaway (originally I was going to stay an extra day with my other friend and thought I might do it anyway by myself).  Snow blocked the road ~3 miles from the TH, where I said to Dave "I'm going to see if I can get a little bit farther" which turned out to be a very bad decision as I high-centered my jeep.  After considerable digging, we got it out, and then I got it stuck again!  An old man had lent us his big metal shovel, and the trip almost ended when I accidentally smacked Dave in the face with an errant scoop.  Ouch!  We finally got the Jeep out and parked it.  In retrospect, if we had spent 1/10 of that time digging the road a bit before I went for it, we probably would have been able to drive much further (these seemed to be the two deepest drifts).  So, we walked the 3 miles from the cars to the TH, and then on up to the slopes below Long's pass, where we made camp.  Because of all the delays, it was 2 am by the time we made dinner, melted enough water and got in our sleeping bags.  Next however we finally had a stroke of good luck when Sky, who was going to leave Seattle at ~12am and meet us for the 1-day accent drove all the way to the Ingalls creek TH and then had to backtrack to get to the Ingalls WAY TH showed up at ~6:45 instead of whatever ungodly hour he would've had he gone the right way.  We begrudginly got up and the four of us (Sky brought a friend named Paul) headed up to Long's pass and down towards Stuart.  As we were nearing Ingalls creek, Paul twisted out of his bingings and took a tumbing fall heading right for a huge rock.  He managed to twist in the air and land on his bright orange self-sewn backpack, which surely saved him from a very painful and potentially injurous womp on the rock.  After this, Paul decided Stuart was not in the cards for the day, and decided to tool around on the slopes around Long's pass and wait for our return.  We climbed Cascadian Couloir through very interesting terrain, lightly treed, with cool rock spires everywhere.  There was enough snow that Sky and I were able to ski from the true summit while Dave waited from the false summit.  The skiing was mostly excellent corn, although a bit icier on the section right below the false summit.  As we decended, the corn just got tastier.  What a great line, truly a classic.  We crossed the creek and started the slog back up Long's pass.  I had been feeling great all day on the climb and decent but my energy levels seemed to crash on the climb back to the pass.  It reminded me of driving while tired, as I was skinning my eyes kept closing and I had to fight the urge to fall over in the snow and sleep.  The ski back down to camp from the pass was also excellent corn even though it was late afternoon.  I think the previous night's hard freeze kept it from getting too soft.  I decided not to stay since I would be solo and had run out of stove fuel, and of course I was very tired and craved some high-calorie food.  Sky and Paul took off while Dave and I packed up camp and skied back to the TH, enjoyable turns on still-excellent snow despite now having my heavy pack.  The 3 miles from the TH to the car seemed more like a 30 mile death march, but we somehow made it.  Quite a bit of snow had melted, and it seems like one could already drive much further up the road. All in all it was a great day (~7500 vert on mostly creamy butter snow).  Thanks to Dave, Sky, and Paul for coming!
Yes, truly a great trip.  Based on the inclinometer on my Suunto, the majority of the Cascadian Couloir variation which we skied was a sustained 45-49 degrees.  The snow conditions couldn't have been better - one can clearly see the east of the crest influence, while although sun baked, it didn't become the heavy mashed potato stuff we get on this side.  I was quite satisfied stopping at the false summit given my fatigue (having not bagged a 7,000' + day in over 3 months) and only eating Power Bar gue that day thanks to the fact we were out of fuel, as well as my lack of comfort dropping in on the upper section of the Ulrich's Couloir on skis.  Sky, as always, your a beast..."arghhhh".  Great that the 3 of us were finally able to hook-up for a tour...

Thanks for the call, Corey.  Dave, you should have had some of that green gu.  Then I'm sure I would have seen some smokin' pedal hops.
Next time we should hit Ulrich's.  It must have really been in , I hear usually one can identify it by a waterfall near the bottom.  No waterfalls->good to go.

Some would have been deflated by the Keystone Cops start you guys had (shovel smacks and wrong turns reminded me of a bad Chevy Chase movie) but you seemed to have all managed a good time.  Bravo!  

I hear about partners going AWOL, Corey.  I think you know some other people like that, too.  Look what he did to me.  (No offense meant at all Charles, but what kind of loser is posting to turns all year at 2:20am?)

But now to the really important matter: did you get the beer, or did you make me guilty of littering?  If the case is the latter, then anyone headed up there should be able to find an unopened Mirror Pond in a snowdrift in the middle of the road, three miles before the trailhead.  Enjoy.

Oh yes I got it......      :D

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2003-05-19 08:25:56