14m 8,115ft gain
Mount Stuart is the crown of the central cascades and Washington’s 10th highest peak (2nd highest non-volcanic peak, 6th most prominent). Because of its ultra prominence you can see Mount Stuart from almost every peak in the central cascades. It’s always a new exciting sight because Mount Stuart looks totally different from every angle. The south, northeast and northwest faces rise over 5,000ft in just 2 miles and the north face shelters three glaciers: Stuart, Ice Cliff and Sherpa. Here’s a selection of photos of Mount Stuart from nearby peaks.
1st Trip 9/6/19
I was very excited to hike up this grand mass of exposed granite and one of the Cascade Classics! Also very thankful my buddy Ben was game to join after doing the same hike a year prior. He made it a three day trip on his last outing but to beat the bad weather coming Saturday night we planned to finish the hike in two days. The hike to camp was only 4 miles gaining 2,000ft and losing 1,500ft. As we approached Longs Pass we could hear thunder (rare for Washington) and see heavy rain falling in the distance. It never fell on us so it was really cool to see.
From the pass we got our first glimpse of the beautiful beast we hoped to stand on top of and then we descended to camp.
We were shocked and quite pleased to find no one else around the climber’s camp. However there were some visitors.
Thankfully there was an abundance of ripe thimble berries because all Ben brought for food was a bag of assorted meat sticks.
We went to sleep early that night and woke up at 3:30am ready to go.
We had 4,615ft to gain in only 1.7 miles but we were getting used to tackling stats like these. We’d be hiking up the Cascadian Couloir and our goal was to get to the top of the couloir by sunrise. This is the easiest route up the mountain but certainly not easy by any standard. The technical routes are paradise for climbers.
Nothing better than the moment it gets light enough to turn off the headlamp while all your surroundings slowly appear.
Had to push it but we arrived at the top of the Cascadian Couloir five minutes before the sun rose over Dragontail Peak! It was an incredible sight.
From there we worked our way towards the summit while clouds started to roll in.
From the false summit at 9,200ft we scrambled east along left side of ridge through broken rock directly to summit.
No views at the top so we didn’t stay long. We still had 8,115ft of elevation to lose and a painful extra 1,500ft to gain getting back up to Longs Pass. Once of out of the summit cloud we enjoyed watching some interesting cloud formations roll by while we tried not to stumble down the couloir.
Once at camp we grabbed our tents and sleeping gear and headed back uphill to Longs Pass.
We chose to finish our uphill battle with a steep little side trail up to what looked like a bonsai tree.
As we took our last break to gaze at Stuart the summit was again engulfed by clouds. The cloud show continued as we made our way back to the trailhead with wobbly legs.
This was an excellent trip up an absolute classic peak! I will certainly be back to get a clear summit view.