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| | |-+  May 23-25, Mt Stuart
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Author Topic: May 23-25, Mt Stuart  (Read 2150 times)
lordhedgie
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May 23-25, Mt Stuart
« on: 05/25/09, 10:11 PM »

glenn_b, a lurker, myself, and a pedestrian (climber) went for a three-day trip to summit Stuart.  We started at the Stuart Lake trailhead, and followed the trail to a little past Mountaineer Lake, where we took the climbers trail to the foot of Sherpa Glacier.  The climbers trail was pretty strenuous, with multiple hairy creek crossings and an exhausting climb up a talus field to the valley.  Skis were only used for the last quarter mile or so.  Once we entered the valley, we saw a large number of debris fields from recent slides in all directions.  Uh-oh.

The next morning we set off up the Sherpa Glacier, looking to climb the dog-legged col up to the false summit, then head along the ridgeline to the summit.  Recent debris coming out of the summit made us nervous, but we agreed to re-assess conditions once we got there.  Two thousand vertical feet later we had a good look at a number of very large cornices overhanging the col, and decided to enjoy our hard-earned vertical.  Although it was still fairly early, most of the glacier was pretty mushy, although shaded areas were still firm, and occasionally you'd get a short bit of nice corn.

That afternoon our pedestrian and lurker skinned/booted up to the foot of the Stuart Glacier, and bivied on the rock outcropping there.  Glenn_b and I stayed behind, watching a large number of small slides that evening.  Just after we fell asleep, around 10:06, we were woken by two loud slides in rapid succession.  Morning observation revealed Icefall Glacier lived up to its name, dropped a huge chunk of ice down onto the shelf below, which about ten seconds later released down to the moraine.

The next morning Glenn_b and I skinned up to the rest of our party, intending to visit Goats Pass then ski/hike back to the car.  We watched a small ledgefall-triggered slide just a hundred feet above us, but hanging close to the cliffs.  A pair of pinwheels left the main track and rolled past us, about ten feet away.  After that, we decided to forgo Goats Pass and get out before the snow got any more unstable.  We crossed Stuart Glacier and skied down the chute to the valley floor.  We skinned to Stuart Lake, and gained the trail on the north side.  From there it was a fairly easy walk out.

All in all, a lot of slide activity for Memorial Day weekend.  Every slide we saw was a cornice or ledgefall, with the exception of the icefall off Icefall Glacier.  Overall the snowpack seemed pretty consolidated and safe, so as long as you steered clear of cliffs and obvious run-outs, you should have been pretty safe.  I took about 450 photos, so it will take me a few days to sort through them and stick the best ones online.

« Last Edit: 05/27/09, 09:48 PM by lordhedgie » Logged

If you don't do it this year, you'll be one year older when you don't do it next year.
Stugie
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Re: May 23-25, Mt Stuart
« Reply #1 on: 05/25/09, 10:42 PM »

Wow, nice work.  That is a scary sound to wake up to...ice falls/avalanche careening down near your campsite.  Glad you guys got some decent corn turns.  Can't wait to see the pics!
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
lordhedgie
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Re: May 23-25, Mt Stuart
« Reply #2 on: 05/27/09, 09:50 PM »

I posted six pics to give an idea of what our trip looked like.  If there's interest I might put a gallery up, but even after sorting out the bad shots I've still got a few zillion, and it would take a bit of work.  Not to mention the thirty panoramic shots I haven't tried to stitch together yet....
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If you don't do it this year, you'll be one year older when you don't do it next year.
Teleskichica
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Re: May 23-25, Mt Stuart
« Reply #3 on: 05/27/09, 10:35 PM »

Great pictures so far...  Smiley
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