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telemarker

best of cc.com [TR] Enchantment Traverse - Continuing Bromance With Peter Croft 9/19/2009

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Trip: Enchantment Traverse - Continuing Bromance With Peter Croft

 

Date: 9/18/2009

 

Trip Report:

Having been a bit disappointed at getting shut down on the Mt. Stuart leg of my traverse, I obsessed the following week on the 2nd half of it: Dragontail-Prusik-Snow Creek Wall (optional, maybe happened, maybe not). I knew there would be more water than I could ever drink, and an easy trail to turn the mind off. Both of these factors were reassuring.

 

Friday, I got the day off work, grabbed the weather window and hit it. I stashed my bike at the Snow Creek trailhead, and drove to Stuart Lake T.H. For Dragontail, I chose Backbone Ridge because it's a better route than Serpentine. I relish the exposure for the four pitches on the fin. The off width was a bar fight as usual, and I ended up having to take my pack off 1/2 up the pitch and hang it from my chalk bag strap. This pitch out of the way, the rest of the route went well and was incredbly fun.

 

I hung out briefly on the empty summit, and busted it for Prusik. I walked out out on the snowfield and found it icy. I saw myself sliding for life in my tennis shoes and made the executive decision to head east around the south side of Witche's Tit, and descend that way. This was convenient and didn't add any extra time to the day.

 

Prusik Peak, the next stop on the Croft tour. The West Ridge held no surprises. The solid, reliable granite was a welcome contrast to Backbone's sometimes suspect holds. Being without a rap rope this time, climbed the slab and downclimbed it just to make sure I could do it. Again, I got to an empty summit, the theme for the day. Downclimbing took 15 minutes, much faster than the raps!

 

From there, I made the only wrong decision of the day, which was to descend through Shield/Mese/Toketie Lakes. I thought I would be able to cut off time vs. the snow lakes descent. I knew from past experience the Toketie drainage spits you out approximately 1/4 mile from the snow creek wall trail. And, from what I remembered the trail was very direct.

 

Hiking by Shield and Mesa lakes, with Temple Ridge forming a picket fence behind them, I was reminded just how beautiful these lakes were. Enhanced by the fact they were deserted too. I got to Toketie Lake quickly enough, snapped a few shots of imposing Toketie Wall, and this is where the fun ended.

 

The last time I descended Toketie drainage, it was fairly straightforward with minimal schwacking. That was about 6 years ago. Now, brush is everywhere. At times it was over my head. Add to that brush endless downfall. Brittle branches collapsing under my feet. Endless logs to cross. And no sign of any trail. I was even cliffed out a couple times. I saw my chances on Outer Space slipping slowly by, pissed off at myself for not taking the snow lakes trail. I finally hit the valley bottom, and found a good log to cross snow creek, but it was 6:15 already.

 

Dannible mentioned enthusiasm ebbing and flowing. Though demoralised by the eternal schwack down Toketie, I hit one of those bursts. I got to the log crossing at snow creek wall and didn't even have to decide. I grabbed the chalk and shoes and headlamp and headed up. Physically I knew I could do it given this newfound energy. Mentally, I was wary. And there were a couple moments on Outer Space where I had to force myself to just concentrate on the next foothold. But overall, Outer Space went as expected, topping out in fading light. I was able to sprint down the backside reaching the base of SCW right at dark.

 

I reached my bike and started the slow ride mostly uphill. About 1 mile from 8 mile road, I noticed my right peddal feeling lopsided, and by the Classic Crack crag, it snapped off completely. I was shocked. This bike is a workhorse, having taken me from Astoria to Tijuana without even a flat tire! I coasted down to the start of 8 Mile Road, dismounted and started walking back to the Stuart Lake Trailhead. And believe me, the irony was not lost on me.

 

Details:

Hiking: 6:00am

Climbing Backbone: 9:07am

Summit: 11am

Base of W. Ridge Prusik: 1:28pm

Summit: 1:58pm

Snow Creek Wall Crossing: 6:20pm

Start Outer Space: 6:33pm

Top Outer Space: 7:21

Back at Crossing: 7:58

Back at car: 11:15pm

 

Mid-offwidth shell shock

esolo1.JPG

 

Colchuck

esolo4.JPG

 

Bidding adieu to the offwidth

esolo2.JPG

 

Greeting the rest of the route

esolo3.JPG

 

Fun fin cracks

esolo5.jpg

 

Summit

esolo7.jpg

 

Rainier from Dragontail

esolo8.jpg

 

Looking towards Prusik

esolo9.jpg

 

Summit Prusik

esolo10.jpg

 

Toketie Lake and Toketie Wall

esolo11.jpg

 

Top of Outer Space, SCW

esolo13.jpg

 

esolo12.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by telemarker

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You sir are an animal! Nice work...sounds like a great adventure. I envy you your solitude in such a popular and beautiful area. Glad the weather held for you. Thanks for the TR and pictures.

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Shit! Excellent TR John! Sorry about the bike. You certainly don't look stressed/hurried in any of the pics. Nice job.

 

Thanks! The stress was trying to get down Toketie drainage. Other than that, it went pretty smooth. The walk up 8 Mile Road was bad. Nothing like skinning in September!

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Excellent! You made good time. Having that much fun while the rest of us were at work....that should be illegal.

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You must have just missed the trail on Toketie. I've been up there a number of times, as recent as two years ago and there is an awsome trail. Thanks for the picture of that wall, I like it.

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that is pretty sweet that you took time out in the middle of the wrestling with offwidth to snap a pic just to commemorate the moment.

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that is pretty sweet that you took time out in the middle of the wrestling with offwidth to snap a pic just to commemorate the moment.
hah! Vanity has no boundaries! Actually it was at this point - had to take my pack off so I thought 'what the hell, may as well snap a photo.'

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You must have just missed the trail on Toketie. I've been up there a number of times, as recent as two years ago and there is an awsome trail. Thanks for the picture of that wall, I like it.
.

Interersting CraigM wonder where I went wrong...?

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Wow! Inconceivable!

The only beta that I can spew is last year the trail down Toketie left, as we discussed earlier, seemed to be the best. Bummer you couldn't find it, but to still do SCW after such a tiresome descent, leaves a mark.

Glad you made it safely. Congrats!

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Excellent! You made good time. Having that much fun while the rest of us were at work....that should be illegal.

 

Thanks. Yeah, I'll pay for it on Monday morning when I have a ton of calls to return.

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Great day! And as I have said before, I chatted with Peter about his trip and I am pretty sure that he said that he didn't do Outer Space on the way out, although the rest of his linkup was stout.

 

Another huge endurance day was accomplished in Rocky Mountain National Park a few years ago by Topher Donahue and a partner who's name escapes me at the moment. It wasn't free solo but it included the Diamond, Spearhead, Hallett, and the Petit Grepon, without any assist (i.e. walking from peak to peak and carrying all gear). They attended a celebration party but were too tired to enjoy it as much as the entourage.

 

 

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That sounds like a blast! Stout to solo that much ground in a day. I got lost in the Tokatie drainage area a few years trying to descend that way, and found the same thing you did. I ended up bivying in the snow creek drainage when i finally made it through those damn house sized boulders.

Keep tearing it up!

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