Mount Stuart


Mount Stuart isn't known for its skiing. The rock is what makes it a classic. My first summit was via the North Ridge. We had the route to ourselves and the weather was excellent (something you're not likely to find these days). It was a long day but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I did the standard route up Cascadian Couloir the following year by myself in a day and skied off the false summit down Variation #1. I did another day trip with a camelbak and tennis shoes that fall and returned the following spring to ski Cascadian Couloir in a day. Day trips are the only way to go on the southern routes. The standard camp is at Longs Pass which is less than an hour from the trailhead depending on snow conditions.

Timing the road opening is critical for skiing off the summit. There are usually a few drifts that block the road several miles from the trailhead. Meanwhile, the lower portions of the climb near Ingalls Creek melt out. By the time the road opens you usually end up on dirt the first half-mile of trail and another 1000 vertical feet in and out of Ingalls Creek. Don't get me wrong, the rest of the climb is well worth the effort of carrying skis. They make for a quick descent off Longs Pass in either direction and the ski off the false summit is incredible. Where else can you ski a consistent 30-40 degrees for over 4000 vertical feet? Ok, besides volcanoes.

The only problem with Stuart is that you have to do a bit of climbing on the way out. From the base of the Cascadian Couloir (Ingalls Creek) one must ascend about 1000 vertical feet up and over Longs Pass. It's not all that bad because you get to hike or ski down on the way in plus it keeps some of the gapers off what would otherwise be an easy day hike.

I've been wanting to ski Ulrichs for several years now but have never been prepared to commit. It looks like you need to exit the chute near the base in order to avoid a waterfall. Besides that, it looks like an excellent ski. Skiing off the top is a little intimidating but with good weather and corn snow, I can't imagine a better setting. Next time I'll either climb the route or carry a photo so I'll know where to exit. In the meantime I'll be hitting some of the excellent rock that the north side has to offer.


 Cascadian Couloir



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