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montynet

[TR] Upper Enchantment Lakes - Isolation Lake - Stuart Lake TH, Colchuck Lake, Aasgard Pass 4/4/2015

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Trip: Upper Enchantment Lakes - Isolation Lake - Stuart Lake TH, Colchuck Lake, Aasgard Pass

 

Date: 4/4/2015

 

Trip Report:

We (group of 9) from Adventure Explorers started from about 0.5 Miles away from the Stuart Lake TH, the last gate to the TH was blocked. So only 1 more mile of hiking RT. We were on the trail geared up by 10 AM, we left Seattle area around 7:00 AM. Our plan was to hike to Colchuck Lake and camp around the lake with an intent to do an alpine start (~2 AM on Sunday) to Aasgard Pass. The trail to Colchuck lake is nearly snow-free with a few spots along the trail with snow after you cross the creek the first time; however, there was significant ice after you cross the creek the second time. It made the hike interesting especially without traction on the way up (on the way down, I was wearing microspikes and it made a big difference) We arrived at the lake around 2:00 PM and we camped next to the lake in one of the many available camping spots. No permits are required yet. We had a water source almost next to our camp which made it very easy for us in terms of our water needs. Colchuck lake frozen solid, we walked on the lake. Many of the climbers that day also walked on the lake. Frozen Colchuck meant that we didn't have to go to the Boulder field to get to the base of Aasgard Pass which was very nice. We started our ascend around 2:30 AM on Sunday and part of our group made it to the top of the pass by 5:30 AM. The ascend to the pass is pretty much completely snow covered, the usual summer route that makes a S to get to the pass was not necessary as you can just go straight up to the pass. Part of our group took the summer route approach and part took the straight up approach, the consensus was that both were very steep. Once at the pass the wind and low temperatures made it difficult to enjoy the enchantments. Every lake up in the core enchantments is still covered in snow. Part of our group spent around 2 hours up there while others spent about 30 minutes. Cold and windy conditions made it a bit unpleasant. On our way back to camp, almost all in our group had to use our ice axes to down climb as the climbed seemed steeper on the way down than on the way up. I made it up and down wearing microspikes only, although I had my crampons with me in my backpack, but others in my group were wearing crampons. There were stretches of snow that were very icy and others very soft. Some of us were back at the car by 2:00 PM(Sunday), afterwards we enjoy some good food and beer at Leavenworth's Munchen Haus.

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Gear Notes:

Ice Axe a must.

 

Approach Notes:

Gate is closed about 0.5 miles from the Stuart Lake TH.

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Thanks for the update on the conditions up there. I thought maybe Colchuck would be melting out by now with the lack of snow. Hoping for some melt around Viviane by Memorial

Day. I guess this area got more moisture and cold than the rest of our state did!

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It's a special area and glad to hear of more people enjoying it. Nobody enjoys the trek up to or down from Aasgard 12 months a year. Necessary evil.

 

Even if not a climber go in summer and summit one of the walk ups in the area like Little Annapurna for full value.

Edited by matt_warfield

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