Climb Mount Stuart

Esmerelda Basin Trail

Activities

Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking, Rock Climbing

Skill

Advanced

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Added by

Tobin Akehurst

Easy Parking
Forest
Groups
River
Scenic
Wildlife

Ascend to the 9,415ft summit of Washingtons 2nd tallest non-volcanic peak. A very challenging and enjoyable overnight trip. Unrivaled views of the Central Cascades. 8,300 ft of cumulative elevation gain. Roughly 13 miles RTMostly class 2 with some class 3 travel. Likely a few class 4 moves unless your route finding is PERFECT.

Global climbing legend Fred Beckey once said, "[Mount Stuart is] without a rival as the crown peak in the central Cascades of Washington, Mount Stuart has been pronounced the single greatest mass of exposed granite in the United States".

To ascend the mountain by is easiest route, the Cascading Couloir, one must be prepared to gain 8,300ft over what is often rugged, loose, exposed and remarkably beautiful terrain. Be advised, a minor slip or route finding error may have serious consequences.

Begin by parking at the Esmerelda Basin Trailhead. Hike up and over Longs Pass to the Horse Camp near Ingalls Creek. I reccomend staying here overnight.

EARLY the next morning head east out of camp until you see a trail leading to climbers left. It is marked with a cairn and begins ascending the meadow leading into the rockslide, which leads into Cascadian Couloir.

Hike the Couloir following a faint climbers path or climb over rock of varying degrees of difficulty until you reach the notch where you can view the Sherpa Glacier.

From there, gain the south side of the false summit (at climbers left) and pass over a series of enormous rock ribs until the true summit is in view. Traverse over to the summit by linking weaknesses in the mountain about 50-100 ft below the skyline. Once you arrive at the airy summit horn, allow the overwhelming sense of accomplishment, peace and serenity found there to flow through you, this step is essential.

Descend the way you came. Be very careful to retrace your route as descending the wrong coulior could potentially be disastrous. And give yourself plenty of time for the return trip since you have to cross over Longs Pass again.

DO NOT THROW ROCKS, Climbers are present below on ALL aspects of this mountain.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $55/night

LOGE Leavenworth

Leavenworth, Washington

From $400/night

LOGE at The Pass Life

Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Great climb, challenging route-finding

One thing to add to this packing list: An alpine helmet should be considered mandatory on this climb at any time of the year. I completed this climb August 13 and there was very little snow present, but most climbers chose to use their crampons and ice axe on one 500-ft high snow field towards the false summit. Climbers should be comfortable with rock/boulder travel and have experience on similar class 3-4 climbs. Also, the Esmeralda Basin Trailhead does require a NW Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass, so plan accordingly, or be prepared to fill out a parking permit 3 miles before you reach the trailhead - bring cash!

Activities

Chillin, Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking, Rock Climbing

Skill

Advanced

Season

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Added by

Tobin Akehurst

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Backpack to Headlight Basin and Lake Ingalls

Adventure

Mountain Run to Lake Ann and Ingalls

Adventure

Day Hike to Lake Ingalls

Adventure

Backpack to Navaho Pass

More Nearby Adventures

Related Stories

how-to

Experience Van Life Without Cashing In Your 401k!

Hit the road and sleep in comfort on your next adventure without breaking the bank!

travel

10 Reasons Why Guides Make Adventures Better

Let the experts lead the way.

skiing

An Introduction To Ski Touring

Enjoy the peace and quiet of the backcountry and untracked powder.

More Stories