Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 47.46840°N / 120.813°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Sep 17, 2005
About the only trip reports I write are for special vacations. Every year my buddy Brian (you know him as Flanders on SP) and I get together to do some non-technical climbs or hikes and for this year, we were hitting the North Cascades with dreams of the Enchantments, Black Peak and the Entiats. I'd gotten our permit for the Enchantments months earlier and was granted spots for 3 days in the Snow Lakes Region.

So, Flanders flew out on September 16 and we were in Leavenworth early the next morning. Leaving the trailhead we hiked up and soon came across a family of goats.

Passing Snow Creek Wall, we then followed the creek up to where the lakes begin at Nada Lake. Just before we finally made our way up to Snow Lakes we kept hearing this whooshing sound and finally saw a large spout of water shooting out the side of the hill. When I say shooting out, I mean it was arcing out at least 50 feet. We would find out later that due to drought conditions, they were releasing water from Snow Lakes down to the fish hatchery in Leavenworth. Signs around Snow Lakes warned not to enter the water or risk being sucked down. (Yikes!)

Camping at Upper Snow Lake that night was nice and we got an early start the next morning to get up to the Enchantments. My goal was to bag McClellan, Little Annapurna, Enchantment and Witches Tower. (Yeah, yeah, I would come to realize how ridiculous that would have been and the serious up and down it would entail.) It took us about 45 minutes just to get around the lake and onto the trail up so I should have known it was not going to work out. But, we cruised up the forest trail that eventually gave way to granite slabs. Soon after we crested the trail where the sign for the Enchantments is, it all came into view. The larches starting to turn yellow, the blue blue lakes, the high white granite: it's all so beautiful and makes this area incredibly special.

We passed Prusik and the Temple quickly and then went around Leprachaun Lake. Over more slabs (and a quick bite to eat) and then more lakes. At one point about 11:30 am, I looked up at Prusik's summit and saw a little dot on top. Zooming in with my camera it looked like a figure standing there so I took a photo of it.

It would turn out to be Jim another SP member, Illinois alumni and friend who was climbing it with Haydar. Small world!

When we hit Perfection Lake and started to head around north, I figured it would get us to Little Annapurna (yes, I had already abandoned the idea of nabbing McClellan when the did an estimated tally of the vertical gain it would all add up to) quicker if we went cross country between lakes and went directly west. Well, that worked out pretty good because just around the lake it flattens out and then we came to a spot over Crystal Lake where we could make out a way up the SE slopes of Little Annapurna.

After another quick bite, we descended to Crystal Lake, found a way up through a rock gully and the did the giant stairmaster that is the east side of Little Annapurna. By the time we left the summit it was about 2 pm and there was no way I could now go over and do Witches Tower.

We figured it would be dark now by the time we got back to camp so we started heading down the NE slopes.

Well, it got steeper the lower we got and the only real exit off Little Annie was to cross the Snow Creek Glacier (or what is left of it). I went first and ended up doing a standing glissade down steep late season ice. Flanders was next and lost his trekking pole when he slipped. Two other summitters came down but could not knock his pole back so I ended up climbing back up, getting it and throwing it down. After this, we walked past an opening in the glacier and I got this unique shot.

So, on and on through the lakes we headed back and as predicted, we hit darkness somewhere between Lake Vivian and Snow Lakes. Got back to camp at night, choked down some food and went to sleep. The following day we had a relaxing hike out.

After a rest day in Leavenworth, we were to head up to do Black Peak but since we had just done probably close to 7500 vertical feet and maybe 20 or so miles, we bagged Black Peak and decided to go further north to show Flanders more of the North Cascades. We got a book in Leavenworth and picked out a hike up Excelsior Peak just north of Mt. Baker. That hike was just super enjoyable and scenic (and easy!) and the payoff views were amazing.

Aside from Baker, we had great views of Shuksan, Larrabee, the Border Peaks, the Olympics and countless glaciated ones in Canada.

After that, we headed back via Highway 20 to at least get another easy hike in the next day near our original idea, Black Peak. We settled on a hike around the Rainy Pass area full of lakes and views of peaks.

After we did this touristy but cool hike, we did the rest of the length of Highway 20 to get back to Leavenworth (yes, again!). From here we were meeting up with friends Mark and Natasha to hike in the Entiats and nail Seven Fingered Jack and Maude. Mark and Natasha had been in this area years before but got chased off the ridges by lightning and storms.

We met up with them at a campsite near the trailhead and were greeted by an very enthusiastic wolf-looking dog the next morning trying to get into our respective tents. He did manage to make off and eat several tortillas (with plastic wrapper) before we headed off for the trailhead though.

It was an easy hike in to Leroy Creek with the heavy packs but from there it got a heckuva lot steeper (and slower). We did manage to get up to Leroy Basin by mid-afternoon and set up camp. We found a nice water source and we were in business.

Waking early the next morning, we got everyone going by 7:30 am. Heading up to the saddle to then climb Seven Fingered Jack,

Flanders ran into some trouble on a steep section and said he was heading back to camp. The three of us continued on (and would find out Flanders found the correct cairned way up and was following us most of the way until turning back again at the saddle) and it took us 4 hours to hit the summit. The views were amazing and we hung out there for quite a while. Coming down on the scree and rock was a LOT faster than going up. I had given up again my peakbagging dreams of then going on and hitting Maude but we were back to the saddle by 1 pm. It was at that point, I looked at Mark and said, "I am thinking of Maude!"

He promptly replied, "You will be on your own!" Well, ok then. I flew off cross country traversing over to the saddle on the west ridge. I was aware of cliffs on my left and kept going lower and lower not wanting to cliff myself. I finally found the Carne Mountain Trail after crossing a 4th class loose morraine gully and was at the saddle in one hour from leaving Mark and Natasha.

From there I could see the traverse to the south ridge of Maude and the standard route. I passed two guys, one in silver shorts with red suspenders (not lying!) before making that saddle in about 15 minutes. Then, as I came over the saddle, I saw my heartbreak before me............I had to descend a few hundred feet, almost to Ice Lake to bypass cliffs and get to a place I hoped allowed me to ascend back up on to the South Ridge and the easy slopes to the summit.

I had been painfully aware of the passage of time and was worried about getting stuck in the dark but it was about 2:45 pm now and I figured I'd be fine. Made it down and then slowly boulder-hopped across a flat spot and then slowly up to where I did find a trail up a minor ridge to the main one I needed to be on. It led right up to the easy slopes below the summit. I was pretty winded by this point having been going non-stop since the summit of Seven Fingered Jack. The last 800 or 900 feet to the summit were rough but I hit the summit at 4:45, found the register, signed it, snapped some photos and was off again.

A steady pace got me back to the saddle on the west ridge and from there I followed the Carne Mountain Trail until I got to that morraine gully. I knocked down some big boulders from the loose sandy soil but downclimbed the crap and made it across to where I promptly lost the trail again. Going cross country angling to where I thought the basin was, whistling and singing to warn any bears or hunters (it was high hunt time) I managed to get back to camp and my friends a bit before dark. We enjoyed a star-filled sky counting satellites and watching shooting stars that night before hiking out the next day.

And just like that, vacation was over and we now begin talking about where we are going next year....


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-16 of 16

magellan - Oct 11, 2005 1:23 am - Hasn't voted

Trip Report Comment

Nice tour de Cascades!

Martin Cash

Martin Cash - Oct 11, 2005 8:48 am - Hasn't voted

Trip Report Comment

Nice TR Brian and great photos!

Don Nelsen

Don Nelsen - Oct 11, 2005 11:59 am - Hasn't voted

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Well done report, Brian - great pics, too!

M and N Denyer

M and N Denyer - Oct 11, 2005 2:10 pm - Hasn't voted

Trip Report Comment

Nice job Brian! It was sure a lot of fun!

(Great photos too)



jtschanz - Oct 11, 2005 4:05 pm - Hasn't voted

Trip Report Comment

So that's all you did ...? Seriously, you crammed quite a bit of climbing and sightseeing into that trip! Good job, and nice TR and pictures.

Dennis Poulin

Dennis Poulin - Oct 11, 2005 10:01 pm - Voted 10/10

Trip Report Comment

Great report Brian.

Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Oct 12, 2005 12:50 am - Hasn't voted

Trip Report Comment

Thanks everyone. Was happy to get this in before the weather got iffy and had a great time. So many mountains up there. Every time I go up there it makes me want to do more. :- )


rpc - Oct 12, 2005 5:13 pm - Hasn't voted

Trip Report Comment

Sorry Brian - been out of the loop most of last week and much of this but yeah - kick ass trip, photos and report!! Cool shot of Jim & Haydar on Prussik!!

And just like that, vacation was over ......yeap unfortunate fact of life - can't say the same about work unfortunately!!

See you guys at Smith around the 29th?

PeterOrth - Oct 13, 2005 1:22 pm - Hasn't voted

Trip Report Comment

A very entertaining TR--good photos and text. Thanks Brian!


BobSmith - Oct 13, 2005 9:14 pm - Hasn't voted

Trip Report Comment

What a great trip report! Don't know how you packed so much climbing into such a short span of time. I'd never be able to keep up such a pace!


Flanders - Oct 14, 2005 12:03 pm - Hasn't voted

Trip Report Comment


Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Oct 14, 2005 8:22 pm - Hasn't voted

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When are you going to post some pics, Flanders? C'mon now.

Trevor Simmons

Trevor Simmons - Oct 22, 2005 3:53 am - Hasn't voted

Trip Report Comment

awesome trip report. I loved the photos!


tlogan - Oct 22, 2005 2:20 pm - Hasn't voted

Trip Report Comment

Great report... went climbing/hiking in Leavenworth last year... incredible area... can't wait to go back.


SawtoothSean - Apr 3, 2006 6:04 am - Voted 10/10

Great Pics

Execellent TR with an amazing amount of photos. The one looking into the glacier is truely unique and took a while for me to figure it out. - At first glance it looked Adobe-ed.

Brian Jenkins

Brian Jenkins - Apr 3, 2006 3:29 pm - Hasn't voted


Appreciate you checking this out!

Viewing: 1-16 of 16



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