Little Annapurna (May 26-28), 2007)

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upper_ennchants_coverConditions: Backpack
Gear: ice axe, helmet
Map: USGS Enchantment Lakes, USGS Cashmere Mtn
Area: Leavenworth
Reference: 100 Hikes in Washington's Alpine Lakes
Stats: approx. 13mi, 5290' gain (round trip)

Anne suggested this trip. Well I was hoping to make it up to the Enchantments during the summer months but...snow works for me too.

The trip started out sunny and warm, almost hot hiking up Aasgard Pass. It was before the start of permit season so that one incentive to head up in May. We arrived at the top of the pass, scoped out a protected place to set up tents. We lounged around and crawled into the tents just after sunset.

In the morning we packed up and headed off towards Little Annapurna. The entire upper basin was still under snow and just starting to show signs of melting out. Getting up Little Annapurna in these conditions was easy...just a bunch of step kicking uphill and glissading on plunge stepping downhill.

Again back at camp we took it easy. The wind was kicking up pretty good and we all crawled into the largest tent to chat and play some cards. Finally late enough to sleep I headed off to my tent for quite the blustery evening. A huge storm passed overhead and tried to flatten all our tents. No broken poles but boy was it windy, noisy, and cold.

We awoke in the morning to clear skies but a heavy frost. Everything was frozen solid. Aasgard Pass in north facing which means it doesn't get sun into late in the afternoon and even then it takes a while for the snow to soften. We didn't have the luxury of that kind of wait. So, helmets and crampons on and ixe axes out, we carefully started down Aasgard Pass. The snow was frozen hard like ice. Even with crampons on they barely bit into the hillside. A slide here would good... Gingerly making our way down it was a huge relief to finally reach the edge of Colchuck Lake. At least from here it was easy trail back out to the car.
Little Annapurna Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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