That feeling when you shove your foot into a crack and know it won’t move is so good. Especially when you’re in a beautiful environment, climbing below your grade, and with awesome people. Matty P was gracious enough to invite me on one of the rock climbs he leads for his SIG, so I took a vacation day from work and joined him on Ingalls Peak in the Teanaway. The rock in this area is so fun to play on and it is so pretty. This was a great crew, a great climb, and day of honest Type 1 fun.
We met at 6:30am at the Esmerelda Basin TH to distribute group gear, do a brief, and be on trail at 7. There were only two other cars in the trailhead when we started. This is startling to a weekend hiker and climber – that we were able to find the possibility of solitude was amazing. This was also my first time coming to this area this time of year and I was surprised at how cool it was. The east side of the mountains gets hot, so this was a pleasant surprise.
The trail is in great shape, and we made it to Ingalls pass in 90 minutes, where we saw our first mountain goat. This sucker was big, was right in our way, and had no intention of moving. Mountain goats are scary because they can be aggressive. If you have an ice axe, it’s a good idea to get it out when you encounter a goat. We took a couple photos from a respectful distance, and then started waving our hands and shouting at it to move. A few minutes later it ambled out of our way. We kept going across the pass to find a lunch spot. This goat decided he was curious in where were going and kept an eye on us for a bit. Eventually he turned back and we stopped for a snack. As we were eating, two more goats walked around the basin toward us as well. We were the only humans in the area, and we were popular, I guess.
This was th last complication of the trip. We took a moderate high traverse across snow and some rocks to get to the couloir that leads up to the dog tooth crags. The snow was in great shape for kick stepping and we traversed across some steep bits. I’m not super comfortable in steep snow, so I was happy to get more practice.
Matty opted for us to go behind the dog tooth and we continued the climb by scrambling up to the bottom of the “short pitch.” Matty set a hand line since the scrambling is exposed through here.
We roped up, switched to rock shoes, and set out. Bill and Avi paired up and set out first. Matty led out next with Thom and I following, each on a separate rope. The rock was so fun! So much fun! It was easy crack climbing and it was easy to move on the terrain. It felt really nice to be climbing up warm rock instead of the usual 2am wakeup for numb toes.
We had the route all to ourselves and made pretty quick time to the summit. Let me say that again. WE HAD THE ROUTE TO OURSELVES! After three pitches of climbing, a little scramble brought us to the summit. Mount Stuart was front and center, of course. We had clear views of Mount Daniel and numerous other peaks. Western Washington was in cloud cover, too.
We rappelled down the route. A single rope, then a double rope, on more single and then a final double rope down to the snow. Only while we were on our last rap did we run in to any other climbers, a party of 2 just starting (though they opted to climb on the near side of the dogs tooth crags). Back in boots and gaiters we made quick time back across the basin and to the pass. A little route finding across the ridge and we were back on the trail. An easy walk out brought us to the trailhead at 7:45, about 12.5 hours since we left the cars.
This day was so fun! So much fun! Thanks again to Matty for letting me join.