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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Colchuck Peak/East Route

Colchuck Peak via Colchuck glacier and col. Done in one twelve-hour day but with most participants having arrived at the trailhead the previous evening.

  • Road rough but passable
  • Colchuck Peak, 7/4/2018: No snow at level of Colchuck Lake.  Some bugs in trailhead parking area, on the hiker trail, and around the lake, but very few bugs on the alpine portion of the trip.  Snow began above the blocky boulder field above and beyond the split in the way-trail between Aasgard Pass/Colchuck Glacier.  Snow interrupted by rock outcrops, but otherwise continuous to the col, patchy above that point.  Probably one of the last few days that the snow in the steep slots leading over Pandora's Box toward Dragontail Peak will remain in condition.  Mountain goat family sighted on our return to Colchuck Col from Colchuck Peak.

    The party consisted mostly of current year scramble students from the Seattle and Foothills courses.  The students (and other party members) all exhibited exception skills and attitudes. Party members engaged in on- and off-trail route finding, boulder hopping, steep snow travel with crampon use and glissading, and steep rock scrambling.  Students may use trip for Rock or Snow credit. 

    Twelve hours round trip from car to car (as a day trip, the requirement for the hard-to-get overnight camping permits was avoided), including a couple of lengthy breaks to pump water, change from hiking shoes to mountain boots and back (at the trail split noted above), to put on and remove crampons twice, and to enjoy the scenic summit in beautiful partly cloudy weather.

    Although not part of the "core" Enchantments permit area, the views at and above Colchuck Lake, with Dragontail and Colchuck peaks rearing their craggy heads and the lower slopes of Cannon Mountain framing Aasgard Pass and the lake, are among the most dramatic in the entire Enchantments area.  Highly recommended, and this proved a good time of year to run the trip: snow free to the lake and a little above, but with plenty of snow available for step-kicking and avoiding the scree from the level of the lake to the col.

    We gave serious consideration to also attempting Dragontail Peak and descending via Aasgard Pass, but about half the party members were becoming pretty tired and were mildly concerned about the steep and narrow slots required to negotiate Pandora's Box, so the consensus was to descend our up-route instead, which turned into some fun glissading and boulder hopping.  In retrospect, pretty much the whole party agreed that our descent route was preferable to the longer Aasgard Pass, with its tedious scree-infested way trails (due to much lower snow coverage).

    There was one small cut to a hand from the sharp edge of a rock, immediately treated with cleaning and bandage (not deemed significant enough to report to the Safety Committee). 

See above.