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schnitzem

Winter Approach to the Enchantments?

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Anyone know the best aproach to the Enchantments in Winter?

 

Trying to figure out a way to haul in ice climbing gear and skis for a 3 day trip around the north end of the Plateau...my initial thoughts were to get a snowmobile and drive up eightmile to Colchuck TH....then I thought why not go straight up Rat Creek.

 

Any ideas...bad experiences etc..

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In my opinion, it is just about as easy to walk up to the Mountaineer Creek trailhead as to take a snowmobile up there - even with a pack. The road is packed just about all winter and by the time you mess with the snowmobile trailer and loading/unloading the sled, you could walk half way up there. Take skis so you can ride down.

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Hiking up Rat Creek would be a bee-atch in winter. If there's lots of snow, breaking trail would suck ass and if not, hiking through partially covered talus would suck even more. Why not just hike or 'bile up the road?

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It may be about as easy to ski or hike up mtneer creek but there is something to be said about sitting and moving. Also it burns a few hours off the time to get in there.... Which is not much but if you have to work sunday nights like me then it IS a good idea to bring a snowmobile.

 

Fuck rat creek in winter.

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I get the idea that no one likes Rat Creek....but looking up it last Winter gave me wet dreams about the turns that could be made on the way down....that and the slope looks steep, but maybe a good grade for skinning up on tele gear.???? fruit.gif???

 

 

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you could just go up the usual way and then ski down rat creek. or loop over to cannon mtn? lotsa options.

 

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I've been up Rat Creek in the winter... you don't want to do it unless it's the absolute shortest way to your objective. Now coming back down it on the other hand.... fruit.gif

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Some time ago some friends and I went in to Prusik in January..... things were cold but there wasnt alot of snow and we went in via Temple Canyon..... around past Mesa & Earl Lakes and up to Prusik Pass from the dark side. It worked very well and was alot of fun cramponing up Nada Creek on the way thru Temple Canyon.

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I was gonna make a thread about the Enchantments, but since this already exists, I'll ask my question here.

 

How hard is the Aasgard Pass approach? NW Sources says it's a "difficult and steep scramble". Then in the same article, says it's a "climber's route that is often dangerous and, especially covered with snow. Rockfall, avalanches and steep terrain await the uninformed. When there is snow, ice axes are a necessity."

 

When I think scramble, I think 3rd-4th class terrain.

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Kiwi are you talking about in winter or summer? It will be snow covered in winter, check snow stability. In summer it is like class 2, an annoying scree fest.

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Summer.

 

I'm too scared of avalanches and I don't have enough experience with them to be able to climb safely in winter.

 

Class 2? That's not bad at all. I don't like scree/talus though. I want to do Enchantments in a day to avoid permits. And Aasgard seems the best way.

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Kiwi,

 

Depending on where you are going think about going in via Snow Lakes. I prefer it over Asgard Pass if heading in to Prusik and it's the same mileage. Just a thought; I know lots of gapers on this board think Asgard is the only way to go, but it's not.

 

Roark

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You get to more lakes quicker via Snow Lakes. Plus, you hit the plateau right at Lake Vivianne which is at the base of Prusik - most beautiful spot, man. There are more, and better, views as you go up the Snow Lakes Trail than there are going up to Colchuck lake.

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I know it's the more scenic route, and I plan to do that route some other time, but can I do it in a day?

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It's purely a matter of taste. I prefer approach from Aasgard. It's definitely doable in a day, I've done it multiple times. In fact you can get up there and tag a non-technical peak in a day and get back out. I like the upper end of the plateau better and Aasgard gets you there much quicker. I would recommend waiting til October. The snow will be mostly melted, the larches will be turned, there's that wonderful crispiness to the air, etc. etc. Perfect time to be in the Enchantments. You will want to be in pretty decent shape when you attempt it, it is a grind getting up there. More than worth it though! thumbs_up.gif

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Looking at your posts again, I would say either way is doable in a day. I might recommend doing the whole thing as a shuttle hike. I've done it 1 day, I think just short of 20 miles. We weren't pressing hard and had no problems, plenty of daylight and this was mid-Oct. It doesn't really matter how you get there, just get there. Another plus of Aasgard approach is views of Colchuck and Dragontail off and on, plus brief views towards Stuart, Sherpa, and Argonaut. Coming the other way I don't think you ever get a shot of Stuart, even from Aasgard Pass. Dragontail is always blocking the view.

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It's purely a matter of taste. I prefer approach from Aasgard. It's definitely doable in a day, I've done it multiple times. In fact you can get up there and tag a non-technical peak in a day and get back out. I like the upper end of the plateau better and Aasgard gets you there much quicker. I would recommend waiting til October. The snow will be mostly melted, the larches will be turned, there's that wonderful crispiness to the air, etc. etc. Perfect time to be in the Enchantments. You will want to be in pretty decent shape when you attempt it, it is a grind getting up there. More than worth it though! thumbs_up.gif
Yeah, I want to go to the Enchantments in the fall when the larches turn yellow. That's when I'll take the scenic (Snow Lake) route in which it will probably be a 3 day thing.

 

For now, I just want to scout the area. So a 1 day (free) excursion is why I'm considering the Aasgard route.

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Was talking with some dude's on Sunday on the road up to the Stuart Lake Trailhead about getting into the Enchantments in winter. There are about 7 avy chutes to cross going in from Snow Lakes Trailhead. Going in via Colchuck there are fewer areas of great concern.

 

In summer, I still maintain that Snow Lakes is more scenic.

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Kiwi, why not go in from Aasgard and hike out Snow Lakes in a day as mentioned above? Since it will be 20 miles either way you do it (round trip), why not just head out and down Snow Lakes all the way out? I know many people that have done SNow Lakes in a day as well. If I were doing it in a day, which I haven't, I'd want a change of scenery and if you go out Snow Lakes it is all down hill the whole way whereas Aasgard you would have to hike back up from the lakes and then down and out on fairly flat ground once you reach Colchuck. My two cents. Plus you'll have to be stealth as I beleive that trailhead will still be closed next season, so hiding from Ranger Dick, I mean Rick - Da Tool - will need to be considered.

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Kiwi -

 

YOu could safely do it in the winter but any sane person would tell you to watch out for avalanche conditions on the Aasgard Pass route. Although it was described as "class two," it is a large, moderately steep, snowy slope subject to cross-loading that can be quite deceptive and it is high enough that a lingering hazard may exist long after the last snowfall.

 

If the trail is packed, you should be able to get in and out of the Enchantment Basin and take some pictures in a single day from Seattle, though I think you will find it to be a fairly long day even if you are in good shape. Don't expect to make it all the way up there and back if the trail is not packed. To maximize your chances, I'd wait until it hasn't snowed for a while and a bunch of cc.com posts talk about how great the conditions are on Dragontail -- then just fall in line. And if the route reports talk about boilerplate ice on the Aasgard descent, you can bet the avalanche hazard is relative low there but you may need crampons. In these conditions there hsould be a good trail to Colchuck Lake, at least, and there is relatively little avalanche hazard if you only go that far.

 

You might get lucky and find a firm surface on the trail up Snow Creek after a warm winter rain followed by a cold snap, but this will be more difficult to evaluate from Seattle because you probably won't see a trip report on cc.com.

 

In summer, you can get in and out of the Enchantment basin in a day fairly easily, as noted already.

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I did the one-day thing from Snow Lakes to Colchuck and out. I prefer that direction, but also I had to stash a bike to get back to my rig. Coming out at the Stuart Lake Trailhead made sense because then it's a 6-mile downhill bike ride.

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I have done the Enchantment loop in a day from the Stuart lake side. I took a leisurly pace starting at 5AM and hitch-hiking to the Family Fun center about 2:30. It is a great way to spend the day. One thing I noticed going down the Snow creek side was that I did not see the big peeks in the Enchantments unless I turned around. For that reason I can see why some might want to go up the Snow creek side for the views. On the other hand, you have to hump an extra 1500 feet or so. Not that big of a deal on that trail.

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I did the one-day thing from Snow Lakes to Colchuck and out. I prefer that direction, but also I had to stash a bike to get back to my rig. Coming out at the Stuart Lake Trailhead made sense because then it's a 6-mile downhill bike ride.

Thanks.

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Was talking with some dude's on Sunday on the road up to the Stuart Lake Trailhead about getting into the Enchantments in winter. There are about 7 avy chutes to cross going in from Snow Lakes Trailhead. Going in via Colchuck there are fewer areas of great concern.

 

In summer, I still maintain that Snow Lakes is more scenic.

 

Traversing up the mountaineers creek road to the summertime trailhead there is avvy danger in the wrong situation. Mt Cashmere's south slopes slide... There is a lot of terrain above you there. I can also agree with some of your comments about SC trailhead as well.

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