Today's hike is a big one, Mount Stuart.

It's the second tallest non-volcanic peak in the state and equates to a Class 2 or Class 3 scramble (when snow is not present). This one is not for beginners, and requires some skill crossing loose rock, helmets, good physical condition, and the ability to squeeze through some tight spaces.

That being said, this part of the east central Cascades is gorgeous!

We did this hike in two days following the Cascadian Couloir route.

More Ben There: Maple Pass Loop

The first couple hours of the hike are a gentle climb up to Longs Pass gaining roughly 2,000 feet. The initial views of Mount Stuart are absolutely majestic. From this vantage point you can actually map out the rest of your route.

We begrudgingly descended 1,400 feet to Ingalls Creek, our campsite, knowing we had a difficult 4,600-foot climb in the morning.

After a short sleep, we broke camp, packing day packs and the bare essentials.

The route is basically a giant scramble with no real defined trail once you break from the Ingalls Creek trail. It's a narrow, steep valley that evolves from thick brush to loose boulders and scree. Watch out for mountain goats the closer to the summit you get.

The summit is just above 9,400 feet, with a jumble of boulders of various size to cross on the final push. When you're up top, you get a clear view of the Enchantments as you look down the north cliff into the Stuart Zone. Several volcanoes are also visible when the weather is clear.

Keep in mind that the trip up is difficult, but the trip down is when the most accidents occur. Be cautious when descending via scree skiing.