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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 8257 | TRs | Pics
Location: Wenatchee
wildernessed
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 11:24 am 
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Location : Leavenworth, Wa.
Access : Icicle River Rd. to FR 7601 and Stuart Lakes TH at the end
Guidebooks: Summit Routes , 75 Scrambles in Washington., Climbing Washingtons Mountains
Maps : GTM -The Enchantments, Wa.
Stats : 14 miles, 5500', 13 hr. r/t
Colchuck Peak Route
Colchuck Peak Route

Get Out and Go, Steve, and I were on the trail at 0530 wanting to take any advantage we could get after a week of scorching temps and clear skies hink.gif . The temp was warm at the start, somewhere in the 40s-50s, with blue skies. I had already applied the sunscreen and deet in preperation and both proved to be needed. Mountaineer Creek was raging...
Mountaineer Creek roaring.
Mountaineer Creek roaring.

The Stuart lakes trail went quickly, then the Colchuck Lake trail, what a neglected debris field it is, the crux of the trip IMO shakehead.gif . The lake was lovely with early views of Asgard Pass, Dragontail, Colchuck Glacier, and Colchuck Peak.
Asgard Pass, Dragontail, Colchuck Glacier, and Colchuck Peak from the outflow of Colchuck Lake.
Asgard Pass, Dragontail, Colchuck Glacier, and Colchuck Peak from the outflow of Colchuck Lake.
Entire route from across Colchuck Lake to the Col.
Entire route from across Colchuck Lake to the Col.

We made it around the lake which was snowfree to the debris field below Colchuck and put on our gaiters...   
Putting on the gaiters in the boulders near the lake.
Putting on the gaiters in the boulders near the lake.

The snow was initially fairly well consolidated, but impressionable. A couple went up right before us and kicked in some steps which we tried to trace, but their strides were a little longer, so sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.  It was early so we were sun free and enjoying the cooler temps cool.gif ...
Cliffs off Colchuck Peak.
Cliffs off Colchuck Peak.
Going up
Going up
Lake Colchuck
Lake Colchuck
Ascending and getting corraled to the left.
Ascending and getting corraled to the left.
Lower moraine
Lower moraine
Coming over another slope.
Coming over another slope.
Lower Moraine with Lake Colchuck, Mountaineer Creek Basin, Mt. Cashmere, and Icicle Ridge in the background.
Lower Moraine with Lake Colchuck, Mountaineer Creek Basin, Mt. Cashmere, and Icicle Ridge in the background.

As time went by we had some occasional cloud cover which was nice, about  two thirds of the way up there was a soft section with some postholing, but near the top of the col it hardened back up and I found it easier just to kick my own steps in. We first encountered the sun at the col.
Tony marches on.
Tony marches on.
PICT0021_edited
PICT0021_edited
The Colchuck Glacier Col, I swear it kept moving back as we rounded it near the top.
The Colchuck Glacier Col, I swear it kept moving back as we rounded it near the top.
Steve and Tony  working it !
Steve and Tony  working it !
Steve and Tony almost to the Col.
Steve and Tony almost to the Col.
At the Col between Dragontail and Colchuck looking S. into Teanaway and Hardscrabble Creek.
At the Col between Dragontail and Colchuck looking S. into Teanaway and Hardscrabble Creek.
Looking E of the Col.
Looking E of the Col.

After everyone was up on the rock, we took a break, I filled my hydration bladder with snow and GOG led the charge up some softer steep snow and rocks to get to the Colchuck Plateau...
Argonaut Peak. Note the climber descending on the lower left.
Argonaut Peak. Note the climber descending on the lower left.
Gaining the plateau from near the Col.
Gaining the plateau from near the Col.
Gaining the plateau.
Gaining the plateau.
Argonaut, Sherpa, and Stuart from the Colchuck Plateau.
Argonaut, Sherpa, and Stuart from the Colchuck Plateau.

Once on the plateau it was a gradual walk up to the summit area, then a short scramble to the summit. The views were bomb.
Enchantment Peaks and Druid Plateau
Enchantment Peaks and Druid Plateau
Snowgrass, Big Chiwaukum highlighted by the sun, and Glacier Peak.
Snowgrass, Big Chiwaukum highlighted by the sun, and Glacier Peak.
Mt. Stuart
Mt. Stuart
Eightmile Mountain with the wide gulley route still holding snow and highpoint  7900' plus to the left
Eightmile Mountain with the wide gulley route still holding snow and highpoint  7900' plus to the left
Mt. Daniel and Cathedral Rock below it.
Mt. Daniel and Cathedral Rock below it.
Left to Right Cannon Mtn, Druid Plateau, Enchantment Peaks, Temple Mtn, Dragontail Mtn.
Left to Right Cannon Mtn, Druid Plateau, Enchantment Peaks, Temple Mtn, Dragontail Mtn.
Colchuck Peak 8705' summit  route.
Colchuck Peak 8705' summit  route.
Esmeralda Peak ?
Esmeralda Peak ?

After awhile on the summit the sun was just baking, the light wind was refreshing though and I needed some fuel, so I downclimbed to the dining area with the others soon to follow and we had lunch. It just grew hotter gag.gif , so eventually we were on our way back down, the snow much softer. When we looked at the steep snow going down, we decided to trend along the rocky ridgeline toward the col and slowly downclimb. All of a sudden I heard GOG above me say "Rob keep going, I'm holding a loose boulder with my feet" bugeyes.gif , and he held it with exceptional skill up.gif  up.gif . I made it out of the way and we eventually made it to the col and intersected with the climbers who came over from Argonaut. After rest, water, GU we headed down. At first I was wondering how the snow would be for a glissade and it was soft, but with that angle you can still move along very quickly but with a measure of control, so I glissaded most of the chute to the bottom, where I sat on a sun heated boulder to thaw my @#$ out.
wildernessed downclimbing the rock with Colchuck col in the background.
wildernessed downclimbing the rock with Colchuck col in the background.
wildernessed glissading down Colchuck Glacier.
wildernessed glissading down Colchuck Glacier.
Lower moraine of Colchuck Glacier.
Lower moraine of Colchuck Glacier.
Colchuck Glacier route col to lower moraine, note the sweet glissade track !
Colchuck Glacier route col to lower moraine, note the sweet glissade track !

On the way out we checked out the dam they fixed and yes, it's leaking, but holding. The trip down from the lake to the TH was a bone crunching, hot, bug gauntlet bug.gif . I applied spf 50 three times during the day, wore a hat, and still got a little cooked. It was a diverse trip and alot of fun. I thank GOG and Steve for doing this trip yet again and allowing me to experience and enjoy it. Another fantastic day in the mountains. With the lower temps / freezing level it would be a prime time to go up that way this week, if anyone was thinking about it.
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GeoTom
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Joined: 19 May 2005
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 11:33 am 
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Nice  cool.gif

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idahonative
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 11:40 am 
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Gorgeous pictures...that glissade track looks sooo much fun!  biggrin.gif
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Dean
(aka CascadeHiker)



Joined: 02 Mar 2002
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Dean
(aka CascadeHiker)
PostMon Jun 04, 2007 1:59 pm 
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A perfect day (except for the bugs)   up.gif   Thanks for sharing it and the pics are great.  up.gif  up.gif

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Dean - working in Utah for awhile and feeling like it is a 'paid' vacation.
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peltoms
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peltoms
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 2:28 pm 
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Nice pictures of the "fast glacier" descending the col.  Sounds like a great day.
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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
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Location: Wenatchee
wildernessed
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 2:58 pm 
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There was an existing glissade chute that I plowed open again. The snow out of the chute was soft enough that going down you tended to spin out. Going down sideways or backwards wouldn't appeal to me, but I definitely like that route over Asgard Pass and I felt better than if I would have  pounded myself going down Asgard. winksmile.gif
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summitseeker
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 4:05 pm 
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Awesome Rob and friends!  Great TR.  Congrats on knocking off another one.  I'm extra jealous as I wasn't able to get out last weekend, despite the killer forecast. That's a big day!  up.gif

And, at risk of being commercial, if you all like Colchuck Peak, there are a bunch of other great 'scramble peaks' in my guidebook that are worth taking a look at.  agree.gif

--Scott

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"Find out who you are and then do it on purpose."
www.summitroutes.com : Guidebook to the 100 highest peaks in Washington
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ActionBetty
Im a dirty hippie!



Joined: 06 Jul 2003
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ActionBetty
Im a dirty hippie!
PostMon Jun 04, 2007 4:52 pm 
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great job fellas!!!  That one is on my list  biggrin.gif

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"If you're not living good, you gotta travel wide"...Bob Marley
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Layback
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Layback
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 5:00 pm 
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up.gif  up.gif  up.gif
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Get Out and Go
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Get Out and Go
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 6:15 pm 
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The question arose yesterday, "Why do we abuse ourselves like this?" shakehead.gif   Of course, all of us here on the forum already know the answer to that question. agree.gif  The Colchuck Dying Glacier is a "nice" little snowclimb that allows you time to focus on each step and much more ....very similar to the Lunch Counter to False Summit portion of Mt. Adams.  The usual suspects, Rob and Steve, make for another great day in the mountains.  As for the lower portion of the Stuart Lake Trail:  The Bugfest is officially open.  bug.gif
Hey, Why am I Behind You Guys?
Hey, Why am I Behind You Guys?
This Would Be a Quick Way Down!
This Would Be a Quick Way Down!
Rob About to Nail a Landing in Colchuck Lake!
Rob About to Nail a Landing in Colchuck Lake!
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naturealbeing
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 6:54 pm 
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Looks like another fun filled trip. Glad you guys had a great time.

Say Rob or GOG, do you got any pics of Dragontail from Colchuck that you could post. I'm going to head up their Thursday with some others and seeing pics with the current conditions would be huge. Thanks in advance.
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#19
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 7:27 pm 
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naturealbeing wrote:

you got any pics of Dragontail from Colchuck that you could post. I'm going to head up their Thursday with some others and seeing pics with the current conditions would be huge. Thanks in advance.

I went up a couple times in snow conditions nearly identical to what wildernessed posted.  Here is a shot of Dtail from near the summit of Colchuck.  I believe it shows the ramp you're looking for.

up.gif TR.

Colchuck is the best walk up in the Stuart Range, IMO.

DSCN1280
DSCN1280
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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
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Location: Wenatchee
wildernessed
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 8:41 pm 
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naturealbeing wrote:
Looks like another fun filled trip. Glad you guys had a great time.

Say Rob or GOG, do you got any pics of Dragontail from Colchuck that you could post. I'm going to head up their Thursday with some others and seeing pics with the current conditions would be huge. Thanks in advance.

Richard,

There was snow on the ramp just to the E of the col. I saw tracks going up that route and tracks crossing lower over across the S ridge of Dragontail heading towards the Enchantments side. In reading and from a guy who was on Colchuck, then planned to do Dragontail (for the 4th time), he said the route from the col up the ramp runs you into some sustained class 3 + rock scrambling and either crossing the ridge low and doing it from the W was a snow field and easy class 2. Asgard Pass is the same eventual West approach, except Asgard Pass is a little ragged and less appealing getting to that point. The lower freezing level should harden that stuff up. I will check and see if I have any pics of that angle, but the pic above is pretty much the same as conditions we saw.
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wildernessed
viewbagger



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 8257 | TRs | Pics
Location: Wenatchee
wildernessed
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 9:09 pm 
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Looking E at the Colchuck Col, some rock and then the lower part of the snow field that leads up the South ridge of Dragontail.
Looking E at the Colchuck Col, some rock and then the lower part of the snow field that leads up the South ridge of Dragontail.
Upper section of the snowfield on Dragontails  SW side.
Upper section of the snowfield on Dragontails  SW side.
Dragontail from Colchuck. The snow ramp leading to the class three ridge approach to the summit.
Dragontail from Colchuck. The snow ramp leading to the class three ridge approach to the summit.
PICT0055
PICT0055
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Schmidt Altitude
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Schmidt Altitude
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PostMon Jun 04, 2007 11:57 pm 
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Good job, guys!  It hit about 100 degrees in Leavenworth on Sunday!  Yikes, it was hot.  We debated going for a hike, but the option came up to go whitewater river rafting instead.  We were like, hike or go rafting in 90-100 degree weather....hmmm??  That's a difficult one.  hmmm.gif  You were definitely tougher than us.  up.gif

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