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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Little Annapurna

Asgaard Pass and Little Annapurna out and back.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • First off, let me say I will never do this as a 1-day out and back again. I am not a fast hiker, so this was a 16hr day (16mi, 6100ft, including a good deal of boulder-hopping), in and out by headlamp, followed by a 3-4hr drive home in the middle of the night. A faster leader could do this justice.

    We were able to be at the boulder field leading to Asgaard just after first light and we made it down through the boulders just before sunset. Asgaard Pass had fine new snow and ice, and, while our microspikes were perfect and crampons would have been too much, it was still slick and treacherous in places. Mostly, it was just an extremely taxing scramble.

     

I would do this as a 2-day or as part of a 3-day Enchantments thru-hike.  But we struck out with the walk-up lottery, so we did Stuart Lake on Saturday and Little Annapurna on Sunday, for a total of 25mi/8000ft.

The turnoff to Little Annapurna is a bit ambiguous and there are several decent ways up. We may have turned up a little too soon; there is an obvious shoulder, which can be seen from Asgaard Pass, but it is also acceptable to go up the middle (face), though we stuck to the newly snow-covered rock as opposed to the deep new snowfield so as not to trigger an avalanche. If you've reached the toilet at Inspiration Lake, you've gone too far down into the Middle Enchantments. The views of the lakes and Prusik Peak from the top were stupendous, and over the other side of the mountain from the summit - death-defying.

This time of year is breathtaking. The larches  practically glow, as do the cottonwoods and other deciduous trees turning yellow. The water at Stuart and Colchuck are crystalline blue, though the core Enchantments are now mostly iced over and dark. The core is one of the most dramatic landscapes I've ever seen. It would be a joy to be there in the summer.

If I ever get an Enchantments permit (Colchuck or Core), I'll list this again. If not, one and done!

 

 

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