Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Enchantments

This last week I spent 4 days in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, more specifically most of the time was spent at the Enchantments. Thanks again to my friend and photographer, Zack Schnepf for inviting me along. I hope to write up a full trip report when time allows as we experienced a fair bit during only 4 days. For now here is the super short cliff notes version and some of the many photos I took.

Day 1: Hiked in approx 8 miles and 4.5k ft elevation from Stuart Lake trail head to Upper Enchantments. This included Aasgard Pass which is 2k ft in less than one mile! The "storm" we were expecting moved in early and the last part coming over the pass was exhausting in blowing sleet and dropping temps.

Day 2: The wind gusts become very intense overnight with steady gusts of 40 to 50 mph and some up 60 mph! This along with blowing snow. It was a big test for my new little solo three season tent. At times I admit I was worried if my tent would make it, especially when one gust ripped my vestibule up into the air that was staked down and held by a small rock. The wind was relentless so we spent most of the first 36 hours holed up in our sleeping bags trying to rest but with little luck. Windchill on night two was easily around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. No desire to cook or do much so dinner was a yummy Clif bar and other snacks.

Day 3: The forecast called for this to be best of the days we would spend in the Enchantments. We could tell after we woke up that things were getting better quickly. Shortly after sunrise the wind died down to almost nothing and the skies were blue as can be. We quickly ate breakfast and did the short hike to the Lower Enchantments. Zack told me before we left that this is his fav place in the NW. I quickly realized why when the conditions were perfect. It was nothing short of fairyland like, even more so along Leprechaun Lake. We did not know how strong the next system was going to be and decided to leave that afternoon to at least get down the pass while the weather was perfect. Good thing because the pass had some rock solid ice spots where I ended up using my crampons.

Day 4: We hiked out after spending a very restful and peacful night at Colchuck Lake.

Photos as displayed below: Leprechaun Lake abstract, Leprechaun Lake larches, our campsite at dusk, Upper Enchantments frozen over, larches reflecting in Colchuck Lake and Prusik Peak framed by the golden larches.

More to come later as time allows...


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