4.26.2016

THE ENCHANTMENTS FALL 2015


Lake Viviane from near Temple Lake
After visiting the Enchantments in the spring of 2015 and confirming every hikers raving reviews on it's unsurpassed beautiful, I had to go back for more.
Thank goodness I was able to buy a permit to visit in October 2015.
I entered the Enchantments via the Snow Lake trail which is the most common way of getting up into the core enchantment zone. My permit only allowed me to camp to nights in the Snow Lake zone but i was easily able to hike into the core zone for a day hike.

Nada Lake
I ended up staying the night at Nada lake for both nights. Camping at Snow Lake is preferred rather than Nada but I had a late start on day one and wasn't able to get to snow lake before dark.
I set up my tent just after dark with my headlamp alongside Nada lake. There was only one other group camping at Nada that i spotted.
The next morning I arose to sunny skies and chatted a bit with the other camp while eating a quick breakfast.
McClellan Peak from the belly of Snow Lake
Next the day hike started. I quickly reached Snow lake as the sun had just hit Mt McClellan. To my surprise Snow lake looked like someone had pulled the plug on the drain, it was super low. I hiked down to lake shore which was about 30 to 50 feet below normal. It make for some very cool pictures though. Back on the trail i hiked around the lake and up the switchbacks and scrambled up to the best of the best of the Enchantments.... the core zone.
Lake Viviane
 I visited always stunning Lake Viviane and climbed up to lesser know Temple Lake.
Temple Lake looking up at The Temple
 Next up Leprechaun Lake, little Sprite Lake and finally Perfection Lake. 
If i were to stay a night in the core zone Perfection lake is..... well... Perfection! 
Leprechaun Lake
Sprite Lake
Perfection Lake with Little Annapurna
After the lakes I tromped up to Prusik Pass. This is a must as the views are simply awe inspiring. I came across several climbers who just had finished climbing Prusik Peak. 
Shield Lake
Prusik Peak
From Prusik Pass looking at Perfection Lake
The weather started to turn as a cold front was making it's path across the central cascades. I headed back to camp at Nada lake. A full day of photography and sweeping views made it fully worthwhile.
Night number two I was alone on the lake with a scattering of rain off and on.
The next morning it was a little chilly but partly sunny. I jumped at the chance to catch some Nada Lake Brook Trout. To my surprise they were in bite mode. 



After catching and releasing 8 Brook Trout and exploring the Northwest side of the lake shore I called it a day. I picked up camp around 12 and got back to the car by 5pm. Just like my first time into the Enchantments it was worth every minute and it won't be my last trip.





Leprechaun Lake


Leprechaun Lake




















The Larch


The yellow Larch needles will guide you from lake to lake


Perfection Lake and the trail to the upper basin



Prusik Pass and Peak from Perfection Peak

Snow lake

Shield Lake from Prusik Pass



Snow Lake

Perfection lake (L) Inspiration Lake (R) and Little Annapurna Peak in the middle

McClellan Peak from the belly of Snow Lake

Inspiration Lake


McClellan Peak from Prusik Pass with Gnome Tarn below

McClellan Peak from Snow Lake

Just above Perfection lake


Prusik Peak from Lake Viviane


Lake Viviane


Looking into the upper lake basin with Little Annapurna straight ahead


Prusik Peak from Temple Lake

Temple Lake shoreline









3.07.2016

SUMMITING THE 2ND HIGHEST NON-VOLCANIC PEAK IN WA: MT STUART



Looking north upon Mt Stuart from Longs Pass

Awhile back i started my current occasional late night online meanderings of finding non-technical high elevation peaks in Washington State. To my joy I've found many of them through Summit Post. I'm not a rock climber as least not out in the wilderness. A rock gym is as close as i get to being a rock climber.
Too my amazement Mt Stuart is one of them. Sitting at 9,415 tall it's the 2nd tallest non-volcano peak underneath Bonanza Peak. It's also the seventh highest peak in Washington state. The north face and the south face are quite different. The north face is very steep with snowfields and glaciers and has all technical routes which make for great climbing. I actually ran into two rock climbers on the summit. They had just finished one of the famous routes which they said was among the top climbing routes they have ever climbed. 
The south face has no glaciers and very small snowfields and only requires scrabbling to the top.



Looking east up on Longs Pass

I remember looking at Stuart from Davis Peak and thinking that climbing it has to be technical. 
Now that I've climbed it I can speak for myself... it's not technical but dang is it tough and brutal. There are many areas where hands and feet are required at the same time. Along with areas where one needs to enjoy or conquer the fear of heights. I would definitely bring a helmet to protect oneself from falling rocks.
I climbed the summit in July but if you climb it in September you'll be able to see the golden larch trees in their full splendor.
I have heard of climbers making the summit climb in one day. But i must say two days will be what most climbers do especially if you want to enjoy the climb.
There's a great campsite just before the summit trail. 
If your a mountain climber Stuart is a must!!

Summit Post route info click here


The last stop for food! Plus they have Green Trail maps.
Please Support locally owned Businesses!



Looking up at the lower portion of the climbing route

Looking down the climbing route at 1/3 up the route

Taking a break looking south with Mt Rainier in the hazy distance

Looking South






Looking South again from near the summit


Looking north at Ice Cliff Glacier

There's always a beer waiting for a summit celebration



Looking West from the summit





Looking east upon Sherpa Peak, Argonaut Peak, and Colchuck Peak into the Enchantments




The nerdy me at the summit

Signing the summit log



Looking south

Looking back up to the summit