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| | |-+  April 1-2, 2017 Enchantments
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Author Topic: April 1-2, 2017 Enchantments  (Read 3074 times)

Posts: 4

April 1-2, 2017 Enchantments
« on: 04/05/17, 07:03 PM »

Peter and I left Seattle Friday afternoon and arrived in Leavenworth 2 hours later to sunny skies and Bavarian-style bliss. We ate cheeseburgers and had a few pints of Bootjack IPA while Pete did some last minute damage control for work. By 8:30 PM we arrived at the Snow Lake TH and because the weather was so mild we decided to start skinning in the dark rather than waiting till the following morning.

The first mile of trail alternated between snow and dirt so we started out in trail runners. In 10 minutes, we had lost the trail and billy-goated some cliff in the dark. It was a little discouraging because we could still see our car and icicle creek road. We down climbed and eventually found the proper switchbacks--we were off to a good start.

By the time our trail runners were soaked and we were consistently post-holing (about a mile), we switched to skis and enjoyed skinning under the stars. On our way up snow creek, were surprised to encounter a couple heading back down to their car after skinning over some avalanche debris that made them uncomfortable. We were OK with the avy conditions at the time, but it was disconcerting not being able to visualize what slopes we were exposed to in the dark. We were most concerned about loose wet slides coming down the drainages because it was so warm (despite skiing at night).

After inefficiently covering 2.5 miles and 1500' in 3 hours we found what seemed like a good place to pitch our lightweight 3 season tent at roughly 3,000'. As 2 novice snow campers, we were already having a blast. We slept well and had a very light breakfast the following morning because we were still digesting the Leavenworth feast from the previous night.

As we packed up our tent to the following morning we were passed by 3 fellow Seattleites who we leapfrogged the rest of the day. The next 2,000' of skinning from our camp to Nada Lake felt like a lifetime but really wasn't that bad, just a little monotonous and mildly bushwhacky. Skinning across Nada Lake was treat because it was so efficient and we had our first dose of visibility since sunset the day prior. From Nada, we skinned up to Snow Lakes where we lunched. Both Nada Lake and Snow Lake had rapidly melting snow around the shore but were passable with caution.

It was warm and Pete had saturated his socks by lunchtime so he took the opportunity to put on a dry pair which made me extremely jealous. However, shortly thereafter, tragedy struck when Pete plunged into Snow Lake up to his waist while transitioning from the ice back to shore. He was able to claw his way out of the lake like a wet cat crawls out of a hot tub but with only 1 ski. We were extremely lucky that his other ski was only an arms depth under water and was retrievable with an ice axe. Peter's fresh socks were ruined but he was able to laugh it off as he sat in the sun for 30 minutes reflecting on lessons learned...

Skinning up to from Snow Lake to Vivian Lake took some creative skinning through steep sections. There is probably an easier way to do it but we just took the "straight up" approach which required some pulling on tree branches. All in all, we got lucky and it was an efficient section of skinning. The weather was still good so we meandered our way across Leprechaun Lake and Enchantment Lake (both frozen solid) and found a knoll with a nice view between Isolation Lake and Enchantment Lake to set up camp. We new the snow level was dropping but had been pleasantly surprised with mellow weather so far and didn't build snow wall. We thoroughly enjoyed the last hour of sun as we ate dehydrated bean burrito and beef stroganoff.

At 1:30 AM we woke up to gusty wind that quickly became a problem. At 2 AM, a tent pole broke and ripped a hole in our rain/snow fly. We got out of our bags and splinted the tent pole and tried to patch the hole with a combination of gear tape and duct tape but the cold and wind made both forms of tape inadequate. Then the splinted tent pole broke again just adjacent to the other fracture. The stars were still out and neither of us was cold so we weren't too worried by that point. I think we might have even said, "at least it's not snowing." Then at 3 AM it started snowing, albeit lightly. Pete, covered his 40 degree bag with a rescue tarp and I was comfortable enough in my 10 degree bag with a few layers on and surprising we were able to sleep a couple more hours while the snow collected around us. We considered getting up and starting toward Asgaard Pass at 3 AM but the whiteout conditions and partly sunny weather forecasted for the following day persuaded us to wait out the brunt of the weather.

At around 5 AM we started to scrape snow out of our boot shells and other essentials as the snow swirled inside the tent. We got moving by 6 AM and made our way the last mile towards Asgaard where we were greeted by sustained 40 mph winds. We hid behind a rock as we ripped skins and skied down the wind scoured slope to Colchuck Lake. We had considered climbing over Dragon Tail to ski Colchuck Gl. but decided not to test our luck.

Skiing from Colchuck down to the parking lot took a while and was a bit treacherous. I would describe the snow as: refrozen rutted-out mashed potato luge. Luckily, the road to 8-mile campground was 99% covered in snow and we could ski all the way down. We easily hitchhiked back down to our car at the Snow Lake TH and began reminiscing about our epic 2 mile type-2 adventure.

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Posts: 567

Re: April 1-2, 2017 Enchantments
« Reply #1 on: 04/05/17, 08:17 PM »


Posts: 8

Re: April 1-2, 2017 Enchantments
« Reply #2 on: 04/05/17, 09:40 PM »

Nice Trevor! Glad to hear a veggie belay helped save the day
Charlie Hagedorn

Posts: 1892

Re: April 1-2, 2017 Enchantments
« Reply #3 on: 04/06/17, 08:02 AM »

Smiley. Sounds like you got the full Enchantments meal deal.


Posts: 826

Re: April 1-2, 2017 Enchantments
« Reply #4 on: 04/06/17, 08:32 AM »


With the large drink. Wink

Thanks for sharing, and for the chuckle. I know I've had my share of folly.

Cool trip.


Posts: 114

Re: April 1-2, 2017 Enchantments
« Reply #5 on: 04/07/17, 10:51 AM »

Epic!  May need to get another ice axe and some boot cramps and give this a go!!


Posts: 15

Re: April 1-2, 2017 Enchantments
« Reply #6 on: 04/08/17, 08:20 AM »

Great TR guys!

Posts: 869

Re: April 1-2, 2017 Enchantments
« Reply #7 on: 04/09/17, 11:03 AM »

Thanks for report and pictures.

Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
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