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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Enchantment Peak, 8520'+, and Witches Tower, 8520'+
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Fred Beavon
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Joined: 24 Mar 2005
Posts: 36 | TRs | Pics
Location: Edmonds, WA
Post Wed Aug 03, 2005 4:18 pm    Enchantment Peak, 8520'+, and Witches Tower, 8520'+
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Another two peaks at the same elevation. The last time I went up to Aasgard Pass, it was hot and sunny. This time it was cool and shady following the stream in air conditioned comfort instead of the trail. It was much easier this time, but I had to leave home at 3:15am and the trailhead at 6:15 to take advantage of the cool air before it got hot.

Right below the Pass, I met a Ptarmigan, I believe it was, and her two babies. The babies walked away when I went toward them. The mother however, didn't. She even allowed me to pet her. It was unreal. Not believing what just happened, I tried it again, this time pressing down more firmly on the feathers in case the bird just didn't feel me the first time. Still she didn't fly away or seem concerned. Never would I have believed this could happen if I didn't just experience it.

It's not necessary to go all the way to Prusik Pass to get to Enchantment Peak. Just head up one of many gullies that lead to the summit area. Unfortunately, the gully I chose was not as easy as it appeared but it sufficed. The peak's short scramble has two moves right below the flat rock that's on top. This is a prime viewing spot. My brother said he counted 14 lakes from Enchantment Peak, but I didn't bother counting.

Heading to Enchantment's SW Peak, I dropped my pack, but the ridge turned too severe to continue and one has to drop down on the south side to access it. Not wanting to regain the elevation to get my pack I turned back. Mike Collins said all he could do was touch the top of it anyway. Forgetting where the specific gully was that I came up, I took the easy way down part way to Prusik Pass, then rounded the cliffs back to beautiful Lake Brynhild for a long lunch below Witches Tower. Great pictures of the Tower are at SummitPost.org.

The easiest way to the Tower is to head south to a snow bridge west of a sub summit of Little Annapurna, then head back north. There's an obvious slanting ramp one takes that is immediately below the Witches Tooth, an appropriatly named rock pinnacle on the Tower. The ramp appears to dead end with exposure but a crack on a small ledge magically appears enabling one to access the East Face up to the airy summit which has an immediate vertical drop on the west. Taking a short cut back down to the lake, I followed a rocky ridge that deadended in a 20 foot cliff. Reclimbing a bit, I found another route down on its side.

Not wanting to leave this scenic area, I slowly took the trail route down from the Pass, the first time I'd been on the trail. There sure are a lot of cute big cairns marking the way. Exploring the east side of the north part of Colchuck Lake a bit before continuing on down, I was back at the car at 7.   8/2/2005
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Kat
Turtle Hiker



Joined: 05 Oct 2003
Posts: 2332 | TRs | Pics

Post Wed Aug 03, 2005 8:15 pm   
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So we're dragging ourselves up Aasgard for the first time in the "lovely" heat of the afternoon yesterday; according to the alti we have to be almost there.  I ask this nice (ptarmigan petting) guy coming down, "I hope we're almost at the top?"   He replies.... "which top?"  I didn't get it for a second....    lol.gif

The difference between climbers and ordinary mortals... pretty cool!

(eek, probably thread drift, sorry.)
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Fred Beavon
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Joined: 24 Mar 2005
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Location: Edmonds, WA
Post Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:01 pm   
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Ah, so that was you I met on the way down. When you mentioned nwhikers.net, I thought of asking if you make some postings there, but by then we had parted.

Actually, it's you "ordinary mortal" backpackers I admire and that have all my respect. It's was most impressive to me seeing the big pack you had.
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jtorral
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Joined: 02 Jul 2004
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Location: Portland OR
Post Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:02 pm   
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Sounds like fun. I was up there this weekend and fractured my foot at the end of snow lake. I figured I could make it to the top. Made it to Vivane and took a spill which realy did me in. No way I could get out so I 911'd it. Next thing you know Winds are like 40mph plus so I figured no way they can get me out. Took a painful 3.5 hours to get down to snow lake again with a 50lb pack on my back. Only place a chopper could get to me. Sop if you were ther this Monday morning and heard the choppers it was for me.  Never got out of the enchantments so fast before.  Thats me in the front seat smile.gif

http://www.dslrx.com/image_dir/gettingout.jpg
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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 21165 | TRs | Pics
Location: Cle Elum
Post Wed Aug 03, 2005 9:10 pm   
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Damn, Im glad you're ok.  To many helicopers trips to the chants this year for sure.

--------------
"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them."

óWayne's John Bernard Books in The Shootist
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dicey
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Joined: 11 May 2004
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Location: giving cornices a wider berth
Post Wed Aug 03, 2005 10:58 pm   
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eek.gif

--------------
I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32121172@N00/sets/
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Randy
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Joined: 18 Dec 2001
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Location: Near the Siamangs
Post Thu Aug 04, 2005 9:50 pm   
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Fred, great report. Next time I'm definitely going to pet the Ptarmigan!
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Kat
Turtle Hiker



Joined: 05 Oct 2003
Posts: 2332 | TRs | Pics

Post Fri Aug 05, 2005 12:21 am   
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Fred Beavon wrote:
Ah, so that was you I met on the way down. When you mentioned nwhikers.net, I thought of asking if you make some postings there, but by then we had parted.

Actually, it's you "ordinary mortal" backpackers I admire and that have all my respect. It's was most impressive to me seeing the big pack you had.

Nope, it's you all that climb to the sky that are impressive  smile.gif   and inspiring.  Don't ever underestimate the power of the word - somehow after we met you we found a lot more energy to continue on.  Seriously.  And my pack is pretty small... OK, I admit there was a full pound of smoked king salmon in there!!

And thanks to another climber we met for encouraging us to do the thru hike out Snow the next day.  He had actually given his car key to someone who promised to move it from Colchuck TH to Snow, and offered to give us a ride if all else failed.  Luckily a couple of nice locals picked us up about 3:15 pm at the Snow TH and returned us the 8 miles to the Colchuck TH (we gave them $15 and a liter of water from Inspiration Lake for the assist).

And Jtorral - if I read your post correctly, you fractured your foot at Snow, but kept on going?  And then fell again at Vivian and had to work your way back down? That is a very cliffy, exposed section...
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Mike Collins
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Post Fri Aug 05, 2005 1:40 pm   
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David Thompson was an early explorer of the Northwest and the first to trace the Columbia from its start in Canada to the Pacific. From the time he left Montreal it was 30 years before his feet again met up with a sidewalk. He has this to say about the ptarmigan: "No dove is more meek than the white grouse [willow ptarmigan], I have often taken them from under the net, and provoked them all I could without injuring them, but all was submissive meekness. Rough beings as we were, sometimes of an evening we could not help enquiring why such an angelic bird should be doomed to be the prey of carnivorous animals and birds, the ways of Providence are unknown to us." Borrowed from David Thompson's Narrative, 1968.
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Fred Beavon
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Joined: 24 Mar 2005
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Location: Edmonds, WA
Post Fri Aug 05, 2005 7:10 pm   
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Thanks Mike. You have a wealth of knowledge. That sure described the bird I encountered.
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jtorral
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Location: Portland OR
Post Sat Aug 06, 2005 9:56 pm   
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Kat,

Just before the top end of the lake I took a nasty spill with some exposed roots. I really mangled my foot and I was in really severe pain for a good 15 minutes. After a while, the throbbing eased and I was able to walk carefully as long as I did not step sideway.  So , made it up to Vivian and took another spill when I steped on a rock with my heel which caused my foot to turn sideways.  Thats when I called in for help knowing it was going to be very difficult going down. Next morning the winds were blowing and we figured no way a chopper could land up here now. So, we headed down slowwwwwly to snow.  thats where we were taken out from.  I had a can of bear spray in my fron pockets which was crushed with my fall. almost broke open. The medic told me she saw a grizzly chasing a black bear in the area a week or two ago.  You just never know .
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#19
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Post Sat Aug 06, 2005 10:04 pm   
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Mike Collins wrote:
"No dove is more meek than the white grouse [willow ptarmigan]

I've seen one of my best friends, a vegatarian, pet ptarmigan about 25 years ago.  We've always joked that the bird allowed him to pet it because of his no meat diet.  Guess we wuz wrong. smile.gif
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Kat
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Joined: 05 Oct 2003
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Post Sun Aug 07, 2005 12:19 am   
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jtorral wrote:
Kat,

Just before the top end of the lake I took a nasty spill with some exposed roots. I really mangled my foot and I was in really severe pain for a good 15 minutes. After a while, the throbbing eased and I was able to walk carefully as long as I did not step sideway.† So , made it up to Vivian and took another spill when I steped on a rock with my heel which caused my foot to turn sideways.† Thats when I called in for help knowing it was going to be very difficult going down. Next morning the winds were blowing and we figured no way a chopper could land up here now. So, we headed down slowwwwwly to snow.† thats where we were taken out from.† I had a can of bear spray in my fron pockets which was crushed with my fall. almost broke open. The medic told me she saw a grizzly chasing a black bear in the area a week or two ago.† You just never know .

jtorral, that's amazing you made it up that far with that injury.  I can relate, I get this obsession about reaching the objective - I'm sure climbers like Fred who started this post could expound on the subject  smile.gif

And I've been carrying the extra 8oz of Bear Spray for the last year, when I go into more remote areas - in the side pocket of my pack.  I figure it is good for dogs, humans, and bears  biggrin.gif

Wish I'd had the opportunity to pet a ptarmigan myself.  I tried an imitation of crocodile dundee with the goats but it didn't work   rotf.gif
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