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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> McClellan and Little Annapurna Peaks
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Mike Collins
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Post Sun Aug 08, 2004 6:46 am    McClellan and Little Annapurna Peaks
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These two peaks were climbed as a day outing from the Stuart Lake Trailhead. The rain wakened us twice as we slept in bivy sacs adjacent to the parking area. It provided welcomed cool air as we hiked up to Aasgard Pass. We met two people downclimbing who mentioned the storms of the previous day which brought lightning, heavy rain, and also snow to the Enchantments. The air was pleasant to breath compared to the previous week when we filtered soot with our lungs. My partner and I parted near the upper lake as he had climbed both peaks previously. We tested the two-way radios and established times to check in with each other. I followed Randy's writeup of two years ago around Crystal Lake and then traversing the northern slopes of McClellan to reach the right side of "The Prong." That is Beckey's name for a distinctive rock formation on a northern spur off McClellan Ridge. I got Randy's directions mixed up and went through the notch to the right of the prong and then downclimbed 200 feet. I then went up a steep gully which reached the summit but I knew I would have to find a different way down as the exposure was considerable. A benefit to this mistake was finding the summit register 400 feet vertical beneath the summit. Somehow it had become dislodged and fell onto the talus at the base. Randy's name was the last entry but many notable peakbaggers are on the pieces of paper inside the aluminum case.
After checking in with my partner two miles away we agreed to meet on the summit of Little Annapurna. My route of descent was to make a direct connection with "The Prong" on the ridge between the two.  The route was fairly straightforward and I was there in 15 minutes whereas it took me 1hr for the gully route.

The slopes of Little Annapurna which drain into the Enchantment Lakes are Class 2 smooth granite. It was a welcomed relief as energy expenditure was less and thinking about the route easier. We rested on the summit and were entertained by a snafflehound who sniffed our packs intent on finding food. It was the first time I have seen this animal. Does anyone know its real name? It looked like a pika which evolved on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation giving it a furry tail. It was quite brazen and disregarded us even though we were two feet away.

On our retreat back to the car we were treated to a close encounter with two goats. A nanny and kid were walking up the trail to Aasgard Pass. I figured they had the right-of-way and step to the side. They were 4 feet away as they slowly passed. After a short while they went into a copse of larches alongside the trail.

We had visions of cool drinks in Leavenworth on the way back to civilization and those thoughts entertained us through the monotony of miles which always seem longer on the way out. Car to car was 13 hrs with 8,000+ of gain.
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Randy
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Post Sun Aug 08, 2004 7:20 pm   
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Swear I didn't kick the register off the summit - what a deal to find it the way you did.
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mgd
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Post Sun Aug 08, 2004 8:32 pm   
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Quote:
On our retreat back to the car we were treated to a close encounter with two goats. A nanny and kid were walking up the trail to Aasgard Pass. I figured they had the right-of-way and step to the side.

lol.gif  lol.gif

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Mike Collins
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Post Sun Aug 08, 2004 8:38 pm   
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The summit had a closed in area of rocks around it. The only thing I could figure is that maybe it was hit by lightning and bounced out. It was pure serendipity to have found it.
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jenjen
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Post Sun Aug 08, 2004 9:09 pm   
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Quote:
We rested on the summit and were entertained by a snafflehound who sniffed our packs intent on finding food. It was the first time I have seen this animal. Does anyone know its real name? It looked like a pika which evolved on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation giving it a furry tail. It was quite brazen and disregarded us even though we were two feet away.

I think those are a type of pack rat.  They'll take anything if your not careful - one of them got 2 of my dirty socks on Mt. Baker (so you know that critter HAD to be desperate!).

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Bob K
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Post Sun Aug 08, 2004 11:15 pm   
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jenjen wrote:
Quote:
We rested on the summit and were entertained by a snafflehound who sniffed our packs intent on finding food. It was the first time I have seen this animal. Does anyone know its real name? It looked like a pika which evolved on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation giving it a furry tail. It was quite brazen and disregarded us even though we were two feet away.

I think those are a type of pack rat.  They'll take anything if your not careful - one of them got 2 of my dirty socks on Mt. Baker (so you know that critter HAD to be desperate!).


Snafflehound is an old northwest term (before Hanford and way before Beckey) referring to a rat-type animal (not pikas) found in Washington and southern BC.  I think it's supposed to be a mountain beaver (from the Aplodontidae family).

Did it look kinda blind?  Apparently, they have an incredible sense of smell and feel and powerful teeth, but bad eyes and ears.  They aren't very common, but if they are around they will find your food bag at night if it's on the ground and can chew through just about anything.

(I have had marmots try to run off with my gear a couple of times, including my sleeping bag in the middle of long trip once.  And I have been charged by a nanny goat when I tried to walk through a group of goats on the trail -- I didn't know I could cover 30 feet of boulders in half a second.)
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Mike Collins
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Post Mon Aug 09, 2004 5:54 am   
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Thanks for the information. It was a pack rat.  I have seen mountain beaver as road kill and it was not that. Mountain beaver live in areas with much more vegetation than the rocky summit of Little Annapurna. Pack rats are rodents in the family Cricetidae. That family includes lemmings, hamsters, and deer mice. The snafflehound I saw had large eyes and a long tail. I will read more about the pack rat now that I have seen it.
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Bob K
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Post Mon Aug 09, 2004 7:10 am   
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According to the description, "The habitat of mountain beavers ranges from forested areas at sea level to timberline peaks."
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Mike Collins
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Post Mon Aug 09, 2004 8:00 am   
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We were well above timberline as the summit comes in at 8440'. I have seen mountain beaver burrows adjacent to many mountain streams but not where there isn't water nearby. I happen to have a mountain beaver skull at home which I found while climbing Gunn Peak.
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JimK
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Post Mon Aug 09, 2004 8:09 am   
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Mike,
If you were up there on Saturday you couldn't have had much of a summit view. McClellan never did appear to come out of the clouds. I was over on Bean Peak and took this shot of Little Annapurna:


Say, only 8000' gained? When are you going to do something a little more strenuous?   smile.gif

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Mike Collins
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Post Mon Aug 09, 2004 9:35 am   
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In my trip report for WTA I mentioned how I summited McClellan amid clouds. The peaks opened up later on but we were cheated out of views to Stuart and the Teanaway area. I thought that maybe I could tag Enchantment on the same day but am saving it for this weekend. I hope to climb Cannon and Enchantment Peaks. Interested? I thought I saw something fluorescent green on Bean Peak. Was that you?
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Tom
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Post Mon Aug 09, 2004 9:57 am   
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Mike, maybe we'll see you up there.  What day will you probably do Canon and Enchantment?  I'll be in the 'chants for 4 days (Fri-Mon) and plan to bag those peaks among others.
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Mike Collins
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Post Mon Aug 09, 2004 10:48 am   
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I should be climbing Cannon and Enchantment Peaks on Sat. It will be a loop trip with the exit being via Aasgard Pass to Colchuck Lake.
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Randy
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Post Mon Aug 09, 2004 9:22 pm   
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From Enchantment Peak there's a sketchy, high traverse that allows access to the large scree and talus slopes just east of Aasgard Pass. Instead of descending to the lake below Enchantment (I can't remember the name). If you can find the traverse it speeds up the trip over to Aasgard considerably. Head west from Enchantment and head toward the black rock formation (tower) that juts out over the lake. Duck down and around it to the west and the traverse becomes evident. It's class 3-ish, but very exposed for about 40 feet. After that your sittin' pretty.
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