Ingalls Peak - South Ridge, June 2002
Tom had grand plans to climb the West Ridge of Stuart followed by Sherpa's West Ridge. I felt that climbing the West Ridge of Stuart would take us a full day and that a climb of Sherpa in the same day would be next to impossible. As Mount Stuart was my primary objective, I went along with the plan doubting that the Sherpa climb would materialize. A quick jaunt to the summit of ingalls Peak would be a late Saturday afternoon bonus and warm-up for the ambitious itinerary scheduled for the following day. But alas the weather had other plans for us and we were forced to settle for something a little less ambitious. In the end, we only managed to bag the summit of ingalls and occasionally spy the summit of Mount Stuart peeking from behind the clouds as we lay in the comfort of our bivy sacks at camp.
I led the 3 or 4 pitches of ridiculously easy climbing (5.4?) to the summit. As I was preparing to belay Tom up the final pitch, he reported to me that the rope had become impossibly tangled and that he would need a few minutes to sort it all out. A few minutes turned into too long and I was growing increasingly impatient. The wind was howling and the clouds were racing by overhead much like they do in time-lapse photography. Tom was having some issues with his fig8 knot that he'd probably prefer I not elaborate on. Anyway, after what seemed like an eternity we were both standing on top and quickly made the short scramble to the true summit.
The occasional "sucker-hole" would race on by overhead and offer a brief moment of relative warmth. We rapped back down the face (rap slings and bolts are plentiful) to the base of the route and headed for camp at ingalls Lake. We awoke early that following morning to near white-out conditions. With the route finding problems the West Ridge of Stuart is notorious for, I didn't want to bother starting the route with only a slim probability that the clouds would lift by afternoon. We slept in for a few hours, packed up and hiked out as the snow began to fall.
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