Enchantment Lakes

Day 3
After a calm night the wind picked up as we crawled out of our tents. It was another morning of blue sky. Our plan was to scramble up Little Annapurna before heading down as long as the wind was not building too fast. The wind was blowing but we chose to head up. At 8:42 am we were on our way. Almost any route will work on Little Annapurna. It looks very steep from a distance and it is steep in places. The big rock slabs have great traction. The rockier sections are not too bad. We headed straight up the slope. Our campsite was at 7550' and the summit is at 8440'. A little downhill then about 900' of climbing. I had on a jacket with a hood to keep my hat from flying away in the wind. Part way up the wind lessened and I was able to take off the jacket. We reached the top at 9:36 am. The top is more a plateau than a summit spire. Several walls of rock with a grassy area in between. The highest point is a short step up rocks.

The views are really spectacular on top. To the north we could see Glacier Peak and Sloan Peak. Mt. Rainier was out to the south. Most all the Peaks of the Teanaway area are laid out across Ingalls Creek to the south. The Stuart Range jags right to Dragontail, Colchuck, and Argonaut Peaks then left again to Sherpa and Mt. Stuart. This gave us a clear view of Stuart. The hanging rock on Sherpa Peak is also quite visible. The wind was very strong at the summit. After taking a number of photos we started down. We stopped where the plateau begins to drop. From there one has a great view of the entire Enchantment Basin from Aasgard Pass down to a corner of Snow Lake.

Coming up we met a boot path the last part. Going down we more or less followed the path. Lower down we largely left trail to walk down the rock slabs. The descent was much quicker than ascending. We were back in camp at 10:45 am. By far the single windiest place was in our campsite. Walk 30 feet in any direction and it would lessen. That made breaking camp more interesting as anything light would fly away. We broke camp faster than usual and were packed up and ready to go by 11:17 am. Hopefully we would have time to get down Aasgard before high afternoon winds kicked in. It is about a mile to Aasgard Pass. We took lots of photos along the way. Our morning blue sky was now largely white with some sun still shining on us. The weather was definitely coming in. We passed several groups that had come over the pass heading into the Enchantments.

Just after noon we headed down from the pass. Climbing up Aasgard is a pain. It is rocky and slow, especially with backpacks filled with four days of gear. It is much worse going down. Not that it is awful in a few places. More that it is over 2200' of rocky steps. We took two hours up and just as long to come down. The cairns are everywhere so when in doubt just keep looking for the next one. There is one big step where Gary and I chose to take off our packs, hand them down, and climb down. Otherwise it was just a long slog. The exit via Snow and Nada Lakes is much gentler but so much longer. I'm not sure which I prefer.

We reached the shore of Colchuck Lake at 2:15 pm. Time for a break and to pump more water. After that we had the boulder fields to cross. After that it was finally back on a dirt trail. We passed several groups heading up Aasgard and several more at Colchuck Lake. I hope the weather was better than the forecast. Dropping down from Colchuck we noticed that the trail is much more rocky than it seemed when heading up. Especially between the lake and the Lake Stuart trail. I guess when fresh and heading uphill it did not seem very rocky. As we neared the parking lot light drizzle began to fall. Not bad timing. We made pretty good time from the lake reaching the trailhead at 5:22 pm.

A stop at the 59er Diner for dinner and then back to Kent and another half hour drive for me. On the drive home we had a lot of rain and recent wind had leaves all over Highway 2. Even a small tree down in the roadway. I really enjoyed my first visit to the Enchantments and had just as good a time on this trip. We were lucky enough to have a permit during a short weather window. Heavy rain up to the day of our trip and rapidly declining weather the last day. Though we cut off one day we did see nearly the entire area except for over Prusik Pass where the larch were mostly green. We were a little before the peak of the larch but had many golden trees to enjoy. It was a great fall color trip.

Jagged Ridge
Windy Campsite
Little Annapurna
Larch Grove
Starting Up
On The Slabs
Fun Climb
Making Progress
Aasgard Pass
John Is Ahead
Gary Is Right Behind
Gary On Summit
Mt. Stuart
Teanaway Peaks
Cold Wind Blowing
Glacier Peak
Sherpa Balanced Rock
Summit Rocks
Enchantment Lakes
Coming Down
Gary On Slabs
Leaving Lakelets
Ascending Moraine
Sparkling Water
Approaching Pass
Colchuck Lake
At The Pass
Rocks & Larch
Nice Contrast
Near Lake
Panorama Of Enchantments From Lil Anna
Crossing Boulder Field
Lake & Pass
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

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Enchantment Lakes Report

Trips - 2014