June 2, Mt. Stuart - Recon. Trip

The title for this post was suppose to read "Mt. Stuart via the Cascadian Couloir." Unfortunately, after a beautiful bluebird day on our approach, the rain began. Actually it was more of a drizzle. It started shortly after the mouse went running over my head. It was about 1:00 AM, that a light drizzle woke us all up, with a light tapping on our nylon bivy bags. The plan was to wake up at first light and start the trudge up the Cascadian Couloir. James had his stove next to his bed, and had promised to fire it up, at dawn, and get ready the hot water for oatmeal and coffee. Alas no one started the stove at dawn. I think we had all realized that day 2 was cancelled.

Day 1 had started so much better. Partners were Don and James, both fellow firefighters. We were happy to be able to drive all the way to the Esmerelda trailhead. We geared up and started for Longs Pass - approx 6,100 ft., 1900' above the parking lot. The sun had melted out the South slopes and we had to hike straight up hill for about the first 900 feet before we were able to put on our skis and begin skinning. We reached Longs Pass fairly quickly and were a little shocked to see how much Mt. Stuart had melted out. After peering across the valley, at our intended route, we decided that the ribbon of snow, Cascadian Couloir, would actually go. We had an enjoyable ski down to Ingalls Creek 4,600 ft., linking patches of snow on the lower slopes, as we neared the creek. Found a good snow free campsite and settled in for the evening. Then the mouse ran over my ear and....

Pictures: 1- James skinning up w/ Esmerelda peaks in background, 2 -Mt. Stuart from Longs Pass w/ our intended route, 3 -James carving turns, 4- Don, 5- our campsite at ingalls creek.

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