Witches Tower is the distinct rock pinnacle at the west end of the Enchantments just south east of Dragontail Peak . It divides the Snow Creek Glacier between Little Annapurna and Dragontail Peaks. The north side has a dark and steep striking wall as you come up from Aasgard Pass. Besides several technical routes it has also an easy scramble route to its summit. This peak can be combined with other peaks in the area to make a great outing in one of the most beautiful places in Washington State.
Witches Tower is situated at the west end of the Enchantment Basin and the best approach would be via Colchuck Lake and Aasgard Pass. The trail head is reached via Icicle Creek road south of Leavenworth. Reach Leavenworth by driving US 2 east from Everett or west from Wenatchee. At the west end of Leavenworth, turn south on Icicle Creek road and turn left on road no. 7601. Drive 4 miles on dirt to the Lake Stuart-Colchuck Lake trailhead, elevation 3540 feet.
Stay left of Stuart Lake trail towards Colchuck Lake and cross Mountaineer Creek at 2.5 miles. Hike along the creek through large boulders for short distance before the trail starts climbing for 1.6 miles to Colchuck Lake at 5570 feet. To ascend Aasgard Pass follow the path to the south shore of Colchuck Lake and aim for the board gully between Colchuck Balanced Rock and Dragontail. Halfway up the gully stay to the left of the rock buttress. Watch out for rock fall from the east gullies of Dragontail. After snow has melted there are cairns marking the trail up to the pass.
South Route (Class 3)
The south side can be reached from Aasgard Pass by going up the snow next to the West shore of Brynhild Lake and turning behind the pinnacle. If combined with Dragontail, traverse the south ridge of Dragontail until the East summit of Dragontail. Exit the ridge on steep snow directly to the south base of Witches Tower. Go up towards the white wall and find a ledge to traverse around to the east side. From here scrambling large black blocks will lead to the summit. There is a 4ft. slot that needs to be jumped to get on to the true summit.
Southeast Face goes up the white rock one pitch 5.6.
West Buttress two pitches up to 5.4.
Northwest Buttress follow twin cracks on solid rock 5.7.
Northeast Face with a 5.8 dihedral section higher.
The Enchantments and Colchuck Lake area is heavily and strictly regulated because it is a very desirable place by outdoor enthusiasts. There is a quota system for overnight camping and if you are planning to obtain a permit , you must do so many months ahead. See here for the details of the permit system. There is no need for a permit for day use. NW Forest Pass is required at the trail head.
When To Climb
Climbing up Aasgard Pass is easier when the boulders are covered in snow. Later in the season there is a boot path leading to the pass marked with giant cairns. Depending on the weather and snow, the optimal conditions can be found between May and October.
Camping is permitted in the Enchantment Lakes and Colchuck Lake area only if you possess the required overnight permit. The area is regularly controlled by rangers so make sure you have the permit. A number of fee forest camps exist along Icicle Creek road. The trail head makes a great bivy site if you are planning to climb the next morning. Don't camp in questionable places or rangers will make you move your tent.
For current mountain conditions contact the Wenatchee National Forest, Leavenworth Ranger District, 600 Sherbourne, Leavenworth, WA 98826, (509)548-6977. For further recreational information see here . Due to its easterly location chances are the weather here is better if the forecast for the west of the crest is wet. The forecast can be obtained at NOOA's web site .