CAMP athlete Scott Bennett is no stranger to big days and speedy linkups. He’s one of just a handful of people to have climbed 3 El Cap routes in 24 hours, and he has held the speed record on Eldorado Canyon’s Naked Edge (800′ 5.11-) and The Diamond (Long’s Peak, CO) in winter.
Scott recently spent some time in Washington where he ticked new speed records after soloing Mt. Stuart’s North Ridge, and Forbidden Peak’s West Ridge, two routes famously included in Steck and Roper’s 50 Classic Climbs of North America.
Scott’s time on Mt. Stuart was 5hr 57min round trip from a trailhead to the south of the peak. He took just 1hr 34min to do the actual 3000′ of rock climbing, which includes a couple 5.9 pitches and is predominately low 5th class.
On Forbidden Peak in the North Cascades National Park, he completed the round trip from the trailhead in 4hr 54min. The ascent included gaining more than 5,600′ from the road to top of Forbidden Peak.
I stashed my snow gear and made sure my running shoes were dry before scrambling up the ridge proper. Perhaps a dozen other climbers were descending the mountain, so I had to carefully step around their ropes. Some were a bit chilly, but most were stoked at having climbed such a beautiful peak. All were casting nervous eyes to the clouds that had already begun to envelop us.
The rock climbing on the ridge was spectacular! The dark granite was worn white on the high-traffic path, and the holds were all clean and friendly. Big square cut jugs and perfect jams marked the way. An apparently blank section provided the crux, but my outstretched fingers found a deeply incut lock, and I pulled through with a whoop.
By the time I reached the summit, I was in the clouds and the wind swirled. Time to let gravity do the work and hustle back down!