Complete North Ridge IV 5.9

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Mt. Stuart

North Cascades, Washington, USA

Trip Report
N. Ridge of Stuart and the Torment Forbidden Traverse, 8/2014
Monday August 25, 2014 2:08pm
Because I had a wedding to attend in mid-August near Seattle, I figured I’d start the trip with a week in the Cascades. My college buddy Page was free, and even though I’d missed his wedding earlier in the summer due to a last minute work crisis (one of the joys of being a lawyer) he was game. Off we went.

We started with the full north ridge of Mt. Stuart (although we skipped the Great Gendarme).

“Hey guys, got any pee? Asking for a friend…”

If we had started earlier we would have had time for the Great Gendarme.

Page approaching the 5.9 layback low on the ridge.

We simul-climbed most of the ridge. Natural protection and terrain belays were abundant, and many pitches ended only because of rope drag.

“Seriously guys, I’m jonesing for some pee. You got any?”

Next, we headed in to climb the Torment-Forbidden Traverse.

First view of Mt. Torment. We didn’t have a clear view of the summit of Forbidden until we were hiking out.

Camp on the moraine beneath the Quien Sabe glacier.

We started the next day in a cloud.

Somewhere in Boston Basin, near the Taboo glacier.

Somewhere on Mt. Torment.

The clouds broke when we reached the ridge. The south side was socked in, but the north side was splitter.

Dealing with a moat and bergschrund on the north side of the ridge.

Choss on the north face.

We skipped the snow/ice traverse. It looked like a steep, slushy traverse. We climbed the rock instead at

The cruxiest move of the day. Page skipped a very short rap and down-climbed a balancy ramp, protected by rope drag. Following in mountain boots was fun.

Somewhere on the ridge. The knife-edge section?

As we crossed the ridge from S to N and back again, we skipped in and out of the clouds.

The west ridge of Mt. Forbidden.


Page is a vegan, so he didn’t eat any summit bacon. His loss.

Downclimbing the west ridge and rapping to the glacier.

Still in a cloud the morning after…

But it began to break as we climbed up to the Salahe arm.

First clear view of Mt. Forbidden.

I thought I’d wandered into the Sound of Music.

Clouds pouring over Cascade Pass.

  Trip Report Views: 2,935
Mr. Rogers
About the Author
Mr. Rogers is a climber from The Land of Make-Believe.

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Random Nobody
  Aug 25, 2014 - 02:25pm PT

Massive epic photo shoot!!!

Thank you, I'll be back to view this again...


Oakland, CA
  Aug 25, 2014 - 02:45pm PT
Aw god it's so beautiful. Thank you much for posting. Beautiful glaciers in those pics.

This got the imagination fired:


Random Nobody
  Aug 25, 2014 - 02:56pm PT
This got the imagination fired:

 I felt like I could tell a fictional story given the wide open photos

Balcarce, Argentina
  Aug 25, 2014 - 03:08pm PT
Great pictorial. I love the Stuart Range.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Aug 25, 2014 - 03:12pm PT
Excellent adventure, awesome report and pics.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Aug 25, 2014 - 03:19pm PT
It's official. You suck. I'm jealous.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Aug 25, 2014 - 03:22pm PT
Nice! You came down what's left of the Sherpa Glacier? Looks a little
sketchy on that tongue! Last time I did it twas a nice butt glissade!
Of course that was in winter and there weren't no rocks showing. ;-)
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Aug 25, 2014 - 08:21pm PT
How did you descend from Mt. Stuart?

Did you do the one rappel west from the base of the Gendarme and climb on to the summit, or descend the North Ridge without summitting?

[Edit:] Tami, I have done Mt. Stuart 3 times & descended 3 different ways. Just wondering what they did, because the photos stopped below the Gendarme.

[Edit 2:] Thanks, Mr. Rogers!
(I went down the NW Buttress back in 1977 and had an accident due to a loose block).

Social climber
  Aug 25, 2014 - 03:34pm PT
^^^ usually on the s side down a chossy gully & then trend r across meadows towards the shoulder ( nasty uphill when very tired ) but not sure what these chaps did.

Fabulous TR. Most excellent shots. Way to git after 'er. Awesome.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Aug 25, 2014 - 03:43pm PT
I guess I assumed they came down the Sherpa since he included two pics of it.
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Aug 25, 2014 - 04:24pm PT
Now that's a trip report! Beautiful photos, thanks.


A long way from where I started
  Aug 25, 2014 - 04:28pm PT
Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood! Nice place indeed.

The Granite State.
  Aug 25, 2014 - 04:30pm PT
Man, that was beautiful. Thanks for taking the time to share a slice of it with us.

Strong work.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
  Aug 25, 2014 - 05:03pm PT
Those Cascade meadows with deepening valleys had me feeling like I was sitting there with a full water bottle, at peace.

Climbing in the Cascade Mountains is such a wonderful blend of struggle and calm.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 25, 2014 - 05:31pm PT
Stellar pics, looks like a great trip!
Thank you!!

The Granite State.
  Aug 25, 2014 - 05:53pm PT
Bump, because climbing mountains is what it's all about.

The Good Places
  Aug 25, 2014 - 06:04pm PT
Too much fun club!
Mr. Rogers

The Land of Make-Believe
Author's Reply  Aug 25, 2014 - 07:06pm PT
The sherpa was out. Very out. There was HUGE rock and icefall down it and the couloir next to it all day.
We skipped the GG (did the short rap climber's right into a gully) to save time. We planned to descend the NW buttress and wanted to descend in daylight.
Of course by the time we got to the summit we wimped out anyway and went down the cascadian couloir. Which is just endless boring awfulness. The hike back around Stuart also turned into a bit of an epic because the ingall's creek trail is washed out in places and hard to follow at night.

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
  Aug 25, 2014 - 07:55pm PT
Wow, was that nicely put together.
Beautiful pics, thanks so much for sharing them.

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
  Aug 25, 2014 - 08:04pm PT
Very very nice...Thanx for sharing....

Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Aug 25, 2014 - 08:22pm PT
The Sound of Music is right! I'll view this one a few times. Thanks for sharing a great adventure.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Aug 25, 2014 - 08:27pm PT
Ok that was seriously fn awesome.
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Mt. Stuart - Complete North Ridge IV 5.9 - North Cascades, Washington, USA. Click to Enlarge
Photo: Joseph Puryear