Mt Stuart - Ulrich's
On Wednesday Greg Scruggs and I skied Ulrich’s Couloir on Mt Stuart. The road is snowed in 1 mile below Beverly Creek, which makes for a very long day. With a 2AM start we approached via Beverly/Turnpike, ascended the SE gully to the false summit, reached the true summit around 11, skied Ulrich’s, and exited via Long’s Pass which was more straightforward but also longer than our approach route. I would recommend the Beverly approach to anyone heading to Stuart at the moment.
On the approach we got to practice all our creek crossing techniques. We tiptoed across Bean Creek, leapt across Turnpike Creek, and found a snowbridge across Ingalls Creek. And on the way up the SE gully we got to practice taking uncomfortable catnaps on different shaped rocks poking out of the snow. The ascent was long but easy, morning clouds kept the snow firm, and conditions were prime for a perfect spring descent by the time we reached the summit. We dropped into Ulrich’s around noon and it skied great top to bottom. The south face of Stuart is actually a maze of discontinuous couloirs; we got cliffed out on the lower section of Ulrich’s and had to do a short downclimb on rock. This could be avoided by taking a right turn out of the couloir higher up but it would be tricky to explain how to do this and I’m not even sure I’d spot it the next time down. Anyway, the downclimb wasn’t bad.
Stuart ended up being my longest tour of the season in time, distance and vert. I was happy to get this one after being shut down on Ulrich’s last year due to illness. Stuart was also meaningful for Greg as it could be his last big summit before having a baby. I’ll probably bug him to do one more though.