Low Tide Enchantments Traverse
Been on the forum for a while and figured I’d finally post a TR as there may be some important beta for those looking to get out and do what we just did. Originally from Wenatchee I am now out in Bellingham going to school, upon seeing a high pressure window I made a call to my buddy about plans for the weekend and we settled on heading east to do the enchantments traverse and try at the west ridge of prusik peak, with relatively “bomber stability” and minimal information on snow conditions we headed out Friday night, arriving at the snow lakes parking lot we got a bit of rest and began moving by 6 am the first 1k was just walking in half ice half snow and was slow going once we got off the switchbacks and near the base of the snow creek wall we were able to put skins on and follow the summer trail up, brushy in spots but nothing bad (relative to what we got into later) we began the slow slog with heavy packs full of overnight and climbing gear, making our way up to nada and then snow lakes it looked like every avalanche path that could have slid did a few weeks ago in the last big avalanche cycle, skinning over debris we eventually made it to snow lakes in the afternoon. This is where the fun began the last 1k to our camp site on lake Vivian took us almost 3 hours to do weaving in and out of the trees working our way through the granite walls and trees made route finding challenging but arriving at lake Vivian at 5:30 made it all worth it as we set up the tent and watched the sunset cast a glow on prusik. The following morning we got a bit of a late start and decided to bail on prusik and begin our final vertical gain to Asgard pass, the walk was beautiful and the weather couldn’t be any better, from the top of Asgard, views opened up to the north cascades with views of Sloan and what we guessed was glacier peak, we ripped skins and began slowly and carefully making our way down the firm slopes following tracks of the party who had been there the day before. About a third of the way down we encountered a exposed cliff band and ice, carefully traversing and down climbing some small snowy steps we lowered our gear down and reconvened at the bottom of it, although it was maybe 20 feet of down climbing it took us a good while slowing our progress and making us glad we didn’t try for prusik as that would surely mean navigating out the summer trail in the dark, I’d recommend if anyone tries to do the traverse to pack a short rope and to rappel that section as it will save a lot of time, or slide down the ice chute on your bum as it looks like someone in the group before us did although I don’t recommend that strategy, after clearing the rock band we put skis on and began a cautious descent of solid avalanche debris and smooth barely edgeable bed surfaces from slide that had come down the pass, none of the skiing was glorious and I am glad that no one was there to see us as it was proper survival skiing. After a leg burning descent we followed tracks out onto colchuck lake, a quick unofficial depth test by beating a ice tool into it determined the ice was at least more than 6 inches thick and tracks leading on and across it confirmed we were likely good to go. From the other side of colchuck we began the battle against the trees down to mountaineers creek, that took us a good while and involved taking skis off and climbing over and under logs multiple times, eventually we met up with the summer trail and relived for some easy travel conditions finally, we walked the trail out and promptly laid down where it met the logging road, after getting our bearing and getting up we began skinning out the road until a bit before the mt cashmere trail where we ripped skins and skied out the road where we ironically got the best turns of the trip we got to the end of the snow and began walking down the road, moral was low as we were looking at 5 miles of walking on the shoulder back to the car, that part of the trip seemed to slip my mind however moral was quickly restored when we were offered a ride and graciously accepted it. We arrived at the snow lakes lot packed up and promptly went to hiedleburger where we had a feast and reflected on our 2 weekend of type 2 fun! All in all it was a awesome trip although different than I expected, to those looking to do it, prepare for low snow conditions and likely poor skiing, pack a rope if you are uncomfortable on steep rock and snow, I know I am, and maybe put a bike at the bridge creek road.
PS if anyone gets out that way and finds a La sportiva mountaineering boot somewhere between the last half mile of the colchuck lake trail and the end of bridge creek road my buddy’s fell off his pack.
Strong work! An enchantments traverse that involves largely shitty travel conditions and misadventures in the ice bulges is a right of passage around here!
Elliot what an awesome trip! I don't think I have the grit anymore to do a trip like this. Nice work. Great write up too. Thanks for the trip report and keep reporting on your adventures.
I love hearing about the Enchantments! One of my favorite spots in the world. Never skied there though…It doesn’t really seem stacked up for pleasure. If the snow is good, the risk must be high. When the risk is lower, the skiing must be poor. So beautiful though. Great pictures!
Thanks mike, it was definitely one of the larger type 2 fun experiences I have had, nothing better than a good clean sufferfest
Thanks Ava I think the best time for it would be a spring with lots of snow relatively decent stability and high freezing levels but that’s a pretty rare lineup, it’s definitely not a route renowned for good skiing conditions but that makes it all the more of an adventure.
Thanks arb definitely some proper firm conditions to be had up there but most definitely a classic.
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