My sister, Mom and Dad set out to climb the South Ridge of Ingalls Peak as a two day trip. We left the trailhead in the late morning and hiked to Ingalls Lake. The trail there is an amazing, friendly well maintained single track trail, taking us up and over Ingalls Pass and down to the lake. Once at the pass, if your breath is not taken away then you should probably check for a pulse. Mount Stuart appears massively before you. We continued to walk down the trail through beautiful meadows and along big glacier polished slabs. This part of the trail seems almost surreal. It feels very Alp like. As we came around the corner there was a perfect pristine lake. Mount Stuart stands across it and to the north is the inviting looking peak of Ingalls Peak.
After taking it all in, we set up camp and hung out on the lake. It was a nice relaxing approach on a well maintained and amazing trail in and out of some forest and meadow. It had taken us only about two and a half hours to get to Ingalls Lake.
At the lake we were able to relax, eat a nice dinner, and rest our legs. The afternoon and evening struck me as a very friendly and quintessential Cascadian experience. Mount Stuart sat right in front of me, and I was looking out at it’s rugged and savage ridge lines along with the Enchantments looming behind it. In the same scene we were also accompanied by wild flowers, beautiful mountain streams running into the lake, and a comfortable warm place to sleep. At the camp there was a unique confluence of friendliness but rugged Cascadian Wilderness. After a relaxing night and a good night of sleep, we woke up in the morning and with only our rock shoes and necessary climbing gear started to scramble to the base of the south ridge of Ingalls Peak. With only a little bit of snow, it took us around 40 minutes to get up this last part of the route.
Once we were there, we transitioned into climbing and started the first pitch.
There is a perfect, wide crack going as far up as you can see on the flat wall. It is not difficult climbing, but offered me an amazing technical learning experience, as it was 3 pitches of the same transitions. It was straightforward and around 5.5 climbing up a crack to the summit, which alone was impressive and very fun.
Once at the summit, we rappelled down the same pitches as the way up, and scrambled back down to the lake in half the time. Still feeling completely non threatened, I was able to safely assess situations in terms of risk and decision making, as well as basic technique and overall movement in the alpine terrain.
Although the amount of climbing is minimal, and in comparison there is a bit of an approach, the experience is world class. The entire package from start to finish changed my perspective about smaller peaks like these in the area and how much it offers. As a young and budding mountaineer, I can recommend this to any kind of climber who is looking for classic learning experience.
I was alongside my Dad, Martin Volken, who was equally if not more amazed and enthralled with the climbing as well what this climb and zone offers. In summary, you are climbing and moving around in such a beautiful place, you will not even believe it. I am still thinking about it and I will be back again.
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