Hiking Stats: 5400 feet gained, ~13 miles round trip
GeoTom was looking to take advantage of the combination of good weather and a dog free weekend so we arranged to have the whippets dog-sat by grandma and headed off for some fun in the Enchantment Zone. Caught the 5:05AM ferry out of Kingston and made it to Tomís by 6 and then it was off to Leavenworth. At the trailhead we were surprised at how warm it was (mid forties). After temps dipping into the twenties at Ice Lakes last weekend we were prepared for the worst. As we headed up the trail we had to take numerous breaks to shed our extra layers.
Starting up the trail
Axis Peak above Eightmile Lake
We made it to the shore of the lake and started following the trail around the north shore. Halfway along the lake we stopped to talk to some campers who shared some fishing tips with Dude. Then it was more trail pounding to the inlet at the west end of the lake. The trail continues along the steam a few hundred yards more before it ends. According to Beckey, the route is straight north from here but if you look at the topo map youíll know that is not quite right. Based on some beta from Tom_Sjolseth, Randy, Mike Collins, & Justus_S's trip report we knew to continue west along the stream. There were a ton of downed trees and the easiest path was usually directly next to, and sometimes in, the stream.
Larches color the hillside above Eightmile Lake
Boys at the clearing
Just a Babe in the woods
After about 20 minutes of walking we reached a clearing. At this point we started to head straight uphill, or as straight uphill as possible. Downed trees and patches of slide alder kept our route at more of a zigzag than straight until the grade steepened and the vegetation lessened (along the way, a piece of Dudeís fishing pole caught on a tree limb and snapped). Then it was up, up, and up choosing the path of least resistance, bearing more NW than due north. Eventually we arrived in a small bowl beneath the crest of the SE ridge of the mountain. We climbed to the ridge crest and finally received our first views of the summit in the distance. We stayed as close to the crest of the ridge as the terrain would allow us and made our way to the summit.
Yep, there's some slide alder here
First views of Stuart
Climbing up Eightmile
Mountain Men and Mount Stuart
GeoTom action shot
Dude wonders if we have time to run over to the Jack Ridge highpoint as well
Almost to the top
GeoTom eyes Asgard Pass for tomorrows climb
The top of the mountain is a wide flat plateau. Truthfully, the mountain isnít a very pleasing setting but the views were okay. Of course, the best views are of the entire Stuart Range directly to the south. We spent about an hour on the summit taking pictures, eating lunch, and goofing off.
Babe's clicking away on Eightmile
Dude makes sure to climb the highest point
Glacier Peak and Big Chiwaukum
GeoTom enjoys his summit soup
Babe at the summit cairn
EightmileMountain summit shot
The album will be in stores in December
Stuart Range from Eightmile
Based on information from MLHSN, wildernessed, kyled, & Steveís trip report we decided to take an alternate route down. From the summit we dropped straight south into the bowl directly below the col between Eightmile and Point 7703. From the bowl we head SE, loosely following a small stream as it tumbled down the mountain. Weíd scouted out the route from above and it looked like a clear shot all the way down to the west edge of the clearing. Unfortunately, what appeared to be open slopes from above became a forest of slide alder as we got closer to the creek valley floor. Try as we might, we couldnít avoid it and spent over an hour trying to fight our way through. In the process Dudeís ice axe was ripped of his pack and he didnít notice until it was too late. There was no way he was backtracking through that thick jungle. This route would go nicely in the winter/spring (when the other party did it) when the snow covers all the nasty vegetation down low.
Down in the rocks
Babe under Eightmile
Dude scouts the "direct" route down
Larch on Eightmile
GeoTom swallowed by the slide alder forest
You guys had to pick the "fast" way down!
We reached Eightmile Creek a little more bruised and battered than we bargained for and retraced our steps back to the lake and eventually the trailhead. We were pleased to have gained the summit but it wasnít pretty enough to be worth a fishing pole and ice axe. We drove into Leavenworth to find some grub. Based on a recommendation from one of GeoTomís friends we tried the new southwestern grill in town, South. We had an excellent experience and would give the place our highest recommendation. We then drove over to another of Tomís friendís house (he has a lot of friends) to prepare for day two of our Enchantment Zone adventure and get some shut eye.
How low can you go?
We summited Eightmile and we won't be back!
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW BY GEOTOM . . .
-------------- "Forest 101: These big wood stick things are called trees. The big rocks are called mountains, and the little rocks are their babies." Elliott from Open Season
After the previous weekend trip to Ice Lakes, we thought there might be enough snow up high to warrant having an axe. Turns out there were just a few small patches near the summit. The extra weight was beneficial for training purposes though.
I hope Alti-Dude has been good this year as Santa's time is coming soon.
I could sooo see that as a cover for Backpacker Magazine. Tisha,if you ever decide to give up Real Estate, you could have a career in modeling! Seriously.
Great caption too, Jeremy. Always enjoy your reports and pics.
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