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Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 623 | TRs
Location: Island of Sodor
Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine
PostTue Aug 28, 2007 8:37 pm 
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Cannon Mountain & Enchantment Peak:  8/26/07

Sunday morning, I woke up knowing full well that it had been raining all night.  I checked the weather forecast for Leavenworth, in which the adjoining doppler map showed a large green mass hanging over the Stuart Range.  Lately, it seems this kind of information would stop me from going out.  But this time, I was determined to take advantage of what little summer remains and make a go of it.  My goal:  Cannon Mountain and Enchantment Peak as a day trip.

My journey over Highway 2 was wet and wetter as I approached Stevens Pass.  Once over the pass, the weather gradually became better and better.  As I turned on to Icicle Creek Road, I could see that heavy clouds still hung about the Stuarts.  Oh well, time to take some chances.

Cannon Mountain

I started off from the Stuart Lake trailhead at 9:15 AM, and promptly went in the opposite direction, northeast, along an old logging road.  This is the approach for Cannon Mountain's north ridge.  The road is overgrown, but the path is fairly easy to follow.  I didn't get to take the road for long, as I encountered a large washout that was a gully unto itself.  The climb to Cannon started here.

I wasn't on the main north ridge, but a subsidiary ridge to the west.  Still, I wasn't the first to go this way, as I was able to follow some recent bootprints along the way.  It was largely a bushwhack up slopes still recovering from a 1990's forest fire, with countless downed trees to hop over.
Forest Fire Bushwhack
Forest Fire Bushwhack

I climbed out of the fire zone and angled to intersect the main ridge.  All the while, the weather was mostly cloudy, with occasional wind gusts and periodic "mistings" that I found very refreshing.  On the downside, the poor light did not aid my modest picture-taking skills.  As I approached the three hour mark of my journey, I was making good time, rising over 4k ft el.  Along the way, I came into close contact with three mountain goats.
Um...Are you on the list?
Um...Are you on the list?

Upon reaching the 7900 ft level, reality set in.  It was the start of very long ridge run.  Initially, I enjoyed playing talus monkey, scampering around some very interesting ridge formations.  Then, the talus got tedious, and I found I was slowly losing elevation as I dodged off the westside.  I was very nearly cliffed-out, when I decided to punch up a dirt and scree gully and gain my bearings.  Fortune was on my side, as I discovered safe passage around the last impediment before ascending to the summit.
Ridge Rock, Cannon Mountain
Ridge Rock, Cannon Mountain
Cannon Mountain through the mist
Cannon Mountain through the mist
Coney Lake
Coney Lake
Frosty Flowers
Frosty Flowers

The summit gully was steep, dirty, filled with loose scree.  I did my best to stay on the islands of solid rock, trusting only the largest pieces, which probably lead to a harder scramble than necessary.  The summit is a large talus jumble.  At 2:30 PM, I climbed the well-worn summit rock.  I was five hours into my journey, and not even halfway done!
Summit Rock, Cannon Mountain
Summit Rock, Cannon Mountain
Looking Back at Cannon Mountain from Druid Plateau
Looking Back at Cannon Mountain from Druid Plateau

Enchantment Peak

I dropped down from Cannon Mountain to the Druid Plateau,a subsection of the Lost World.  Although the size of the area is impressive, the overall feel is that of a dried-up lake bottom, none too appealing.  It was here that a lack of research nearly sabotaged my efforts.  On the map, it looked possible to make a high traverse from Cannon to Enchantment Peak, trending to the east of the latter.  In practice, it just ain't so.
Over Druid Plateau toward Leavenworth
Over Druid Plateau toward Leavenworth
Enchantment Peak Beckons
Enchantment Peak Beckons

I was forced to descend into the Lost World Plateau, traversing above Shield Lake and through the Lorelei Lakelets.  I would ultimately drop 1300+ ft of el.  I hate losing el.  The whole time, I had yet to see another person, not even a ranger.  I was alone in the Lost World.
Mount Temple
Mount Temple
Lost World Lakes, View 2
Lost World Lakes, View 2
Loving the Larches
Loving the Larches

Coming up the other side toward Prusik Pass, I stumbled upon a system of cairns that lead me up and over the ridge, west of the pass proper.  From there, I was able to commence climbing Enchantment Peak.  The route is simple, just keep going up.  The summit rock was nifty, including a fun little scramble to the flat, dinner table-sized top.  Summit Time:  4:45 PM.
Little Annapurna in the Distance
Little Annapurna in the Distance
McClellan Peak
McClellan Peak
Cannon Mountain, From Enchantment Peak
Cannon Mountain, From Enchantment Peak
The Lost World
The Lost World
Summit Block, Enchantment Peak
Summit Block, Enchantment Peak

Time to head home.  As I descended from Enchantment Peak, I headed directly southwest, thinking I could make a straight shot to Aasgard Pass.  Wrong!  A tall, steep cliffband dissuades me of this notion (The Black Dwarves, above Talisman Lake).  I drop a couple hundred feet, head back toward Prusik Pass, then decide at to chance an early exit.  I'm in luck - I find a steep, vegetated gully with good holds.  I then stroll over to the trail from Prusik Pass.
Prusik Peak
Prusik Peak

I've dropped all the way to 7200 ft el, and need to hike back up to Aasgard Pass (7800 ft el). For the day, I would easily clear 7k ft el gain.  Passing through the Enchantment Lakes, I reconnect with the human race.  I reach Aasgard Pass by 7:00 PM, fighting a chilly north wind much of the way.  I decide that it would be prudent to be past Colchuck Lake by nightfall, so I boogie down Aasgard Pass in a little over an hour.  I truck around the lake as fast as my tired legs will allow.  By 8:30 PM, I'm hiking out from Colchuck Lake, headlamp ablaze.  It's getting to be a habit...
Evening Falls on Colchuck Lake
Evening Falls on Colchuck Lake

Two endless hours later, I finally make it back to the trailhead.  I extract a Black Butte Porter and turkey and swiss sandwich from my cooler, a just reward for a 13 hour day hike.  Damn, I must be getting slow!

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Cheers,

Mesahchie Mark
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 13042 | TRs
Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostTue Aug 28, 2007 8:43 pm 
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Quality effort Mark.  Nice work picking your way through the fire rubble, and all the cliffs blocking your way.  I would have rolled under the truck and passed out after this effort.  up.gif
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Dean
(aka CascadeHiker)



Joined: 02 Mar 2002
Posts: 1967 | TRs
Location: ex Kennewick, Wa & Lehi Utah
Dean
(aka CascadeHiker)
PostWed Aug 29, 2007 3:39 am 
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Excellent report Mark and loved the pics as you put me down memory lane.
I did this hike in reverse back in 1976 with a good friend who unfortunately passed away at the age of 47.  Every time I think of this particular hike,  I think of this terrific guy who died way too young.  I'd like to link this one to my Cannon Mountain page at summitpost.  I hope you don't mind.  up.gif

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Dean - working in Utah for awhile and feeling like it is a 'paid' vacation.
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=1160
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GeoTom
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PostWed Aug 29, 2007 5:37 am 
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Nice job Mark.  up.gif I keep thinking about Cannon alone, but to add Enchantment Peak?  eek.gif

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Yet
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Joined: 23 Apr 2005
Posts: 2622 | TRs
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Yet
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PostWed Aug 29, 2007 7:30 am 
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And another up.gif.

I like all the words in this one.  smile.gif

Reading your TRs puts me there. And I like that. A lot. Thank you.
smile.gif

ps: That Ridge Rock (Cannon Mtn) is a very interesting formation. I also like the Summit Block on Enchantment Peak.
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MtnGoat
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MtnGoat
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PostWed Aug 29, 2007 8:25 am 
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I find the personal interpretations of locations interesting. I thought the Druid plateau was fascinating and darned cool, in fact as high plateaus go it is one of my all time favorites.

I can see where the 'dried up lake bottom' idea comes from, whereas I found it delightfully austere, with a strong sense of high altitude and a decidedly otherwordly feel.  I thought the vast number of lichen covered rocks were neat and it also gave hints of pictures from Mars, although without the red coloring present there.

Looking at your pics brings it all back to me, and what I will say is that from above it's nothing all that great, but when you're down among the rocks and tufts of heather, it improves a great deal. The area to the S where the lichen has had time to establish itself and provide some contrast is definitely the best portion. I think your shot looking up towards the summit shows what I mean relatively well, and the shot from the summit down shows your dried up lake bed comment.

There definitely is not a lot going on there visually for the plateau itself, just a large relatively flat area covered with rocks (and a great view in all directions), but I liked it a lot. So much so I'd like to return just to spend a night up there, just wandering the rocks and soaking it all in.

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Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock. - Will Rogers
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wolfs
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wolfs
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PostWed Aug 29, 2007 11:26 am 
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Mesahchie Mark wrote:
Although the size of the area is impressive, the overall feel is that of a dried-up lake bottom, none too appealing. 

I'll admit that I had hyped hopes for how this would look based on others' photos when it had more water no it, but still thought it was a cool place even when dry. It is none too often that you encounter mountaintop dry lakebeds where the horizon falls off concave in 2 of 4 directions! This seems like a place that has very little water because any snow that might be here and melt would blow away first, so catching it with those pools in place might be a rare thing.

Mesahchie Mark wrote:
As I descended from Enchantment Peak, I headed directly southwest, thinking I could make a straight shot to Aasgard Pass.  Wrong!  A tall, steep cliffband dissuades me of this notion (The Black Dwarves, above Talisman Lake). 

Yes, been there, done that ... After looking at some photos, I think that there is a semi-pure way to get back up to the Dwarves after dropping at least 500vf to Talisman, but at the time it just made sense to run a contour towards just below Asgard. Otherwise, when I did the trip I think I had a fairly clear notion of the 1300vf pill to be swallowed to get to Enchantment Peaks through Lorelei and Prusik Pass, and also that ridge running the 7900 ridge could prove difficult.

This really is a classic combo. It didn't seem harder than some other in-a-days I have done, and the scenery is incomparable.
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summithound
Climbing Connoisseur



Joined: 26 Jul 2004
Posts: 1765 | TRs
Location: Everett, WA
summithound
Climbing Connoisseur
PostWed Aug 29, 2007 12:56 pm 
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Damn. That's one hell of a hike. I day hiked Little Annapurna from the Colchuck Lake trailhead and that took all day and wiped me out. I can't imagine doing much more than that.

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Pain is just weakness leaving the body.
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Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 623 | TRs
Location: Island of Sodor
Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine
PostWed Aug 29, 2007 2:47 pm 
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Hehe - I find it kinda amusing that my comments about the Druid Plateau could cause a stir.  I certainly did not mean to disparage the place.  In general, I favor steep slopes, rocks and trees to flat, wide open spaces.  Also, I am sure that my feelings at the time were shaped by the poor, monochrome light - things looked much better, later, once the sun decided to come out.

Regardless, it was a privilege to traverse the area and see the Lost World firsthand.   agree.gif

Cheers,
-Mark
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summithound
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summithound
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PostWed Aug 29, 2007 3:38 pm 
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Dried up lakebeds can be cool. The entire Enchantment Lakes Basin is like one enormous dried up lakebed.

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Pain is just weakness leaving the body.
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yukon222
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yukon222
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PostWed Aug 29, 2007 3:44 pm 
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Thanks for the detailed trip report, Mark.  A lot of work to describe your trip in such an enjoyable style.   up.gif  I haven't been to the Lost World yet.  Would it be more enjoyable earlier in the summer, perhaps with a few snow patches still around?  Or is just really desolate for 90% of the area?

Glad to hear you made it past the boulder field at Colchuck before dark.  I don't think I'd enjoy that section using a headlamp.  However, a regular trail in the dark and a headlamp sounds like fun.  I'll have to try that sometime.   smile.gif
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summitseeker
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PostFri Aug 31, 2007 9:50 am 
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Phenomenal effort Mark!  I've always wanted to link those two -- some day.  I've linked to your TR on my website, to motivate others. smile.gif

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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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