Climbing the Stuart Glacier Couloir, Mount Stuart, North Cascades

Snow, Ice, and Rock on One of the Tallest Peaks in the North Cascades

In early June, two colleagues of mine from Northwest Outward Bound School,  Trever Waage and Joel Reid,  and I set off to climb the Stuart Glacier Couloir, a classic steep snow/ice and rock route on the north side of Mount Stuart, one of the tallest non-volcanic peaks in the Cascades.

Climbers camp below Mount Stuart We made our camp at the base of the Sherpa and Ice Cliff glaciers close to where our descent route would return us to at the end of the route. For the alpine start we were planning for summit day we turned in early.
Navigating the Stuart Glacier by headlamp We crossed the Stuart Glacier in the dark, having left camp around 2 AM. Here Joel Reid navigates a crevasse on the glacier by headlamp.
Joel Reid leads out on a pitch of mixed climbing We crossed the burgshrund on the top of the glacier at first light and ascended the lower section of the couloir, about 40-50 firm snow, which runs up the northwest face of the peak. At the narrowest section of the couloir are two steps of steeper terrain. Here Joel Reid leads out to climb a pitch of mixed rock, ice, and snow with a belay from Trever Waage. Trevor lead the next step of ice.
Climbers at the top of the Stuart Glacier Couloir Joel and Trevor approach the top of the couloir on Mount Stuart’s west ridge.
Climber on the west ridge of Mount Stuart The route to the summit finishes on the West ridge; beautiful granite and stunning exposure.
Climber on the west ridge of Mount Stuart Trevor reaching for a good hand hold, high on the west ridge. The Stuart Glacier Couloir drops away below him.
Summit of Mount Stuart Joel Reid tops out on the summit of Mount Stuart.
Mountain Goats After a careful descent to the east and then down the Sherpa Glacier we made it back to our camp, greated by a family of mountain goats.

mountain goat

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