Enchantments Volume 1

After having spent one of the last five nights, in an actual bed, Amy and I caught up w/ the Enchantments crew. Wild Bill (actually, very wild bill would be more appropriate) secured permits for four nights in the Enchantments. It looked like we'd be spending four more nights in a tent, or would we?

The crew: the Head Honcho, Jerry "Tomb Raider" Croft, Joanna Picchi (I think she's some how related to Benjamin Button), John "One Kneed" Coyier, my little cousin Rosario (you can call her Goosie), Amy (AKA Little Momma) and Me the Chemexican.

We were lucky enough to have a sunny and clear forecast for the whole trip! I had plans to climb everything in site so I took most of my climbing gear. We'd be out for several days and I was growing tired of stewing in my own juices so I brought lots of clothes. All of this added up to a heavy pack. I haven't carried a pack this big since my first year climbing, you can see from the look on my face, I wasn't digging it. Nothing light n fast about this guy.

We reached the dreaded Aasgard Pass too soon. The path was more solid than the other times I've been in the area and it wasn't as bad as I remembered.
Before I get too far along, I want stop and thank Bill and Haydar. My first year I signed up for climb Haydar led up an obscure little peak in the N Cascades named Snow King. Had I not gone on that trip, I likely wouldn't have fallen in love w/ the N Cascades, thus I wouldn't have met Bill, then I wouldn't have been on this trip. Though this isn't the N Cascades, it's definetly a ways off most new climbers radar. What I'm trying to say is this: Go climb weird stuff!

Colchuk Lake is a pristine lake that sits at the foot of Colchuk Peak and Dragontail. It's a beautiful area and I'm glad that it's protected by the permit system. (Especially since we had permits)
The other times I'd been to this area I was doing car-to-car stuff and I was elated that I wouldn't be hiking in and out on the same day. Beautiful weather, great company and no set itenerary, Life Is Good!

Above, the Momma poses by the lake. Scott Phillips, does the peak on the skyline look familiar? I know we didn't actually get to "see" it the day we were climbing it but there she is. It's hard to believe how far Amy has come as a climber remembering back to our trip on the distant Cashmere Peak.

You can see the NW Buttress of Balanced rock peak in the backdrop. That's the problem. I go to an area, I see something and next thing you know, I'm scheming to climb it. Where will the madness end?

We made camp high in the basin. These boulders became the Dinner Table. It was nice we were able able to camp close together. The conversations amongst these rocks are some of the most memorable moments of the trip. I can't really "remember" what we talked about but I know it was good.

I proposed climbing the W Ridge of Prussik Peak. The Tomb Raider and surprisingly, Wild Bill took me up on the offer. The W Ridge is a super classic route on perfect rock. If only it was longer. As we decended towards Prussik, there was more vegetation and the lakes were mesmerizing. Some places, it was hard to tell where the granite stopped and the reflection started. I hadn't been this far into the basin and I was blown away.

The Billies were everywhere. As some of you know, I'm scared of big animals (cows, horses, Vincent Dunn) so I kept my distance. I'd gladly take on a man w/ a hatchet before I go near a dairy cow or a horned mountain goat. I think they smell my fear.

I sneaked this pic of Amy in front of one lakes. We've been to some pretty awesome places and we do our best not to take any of it for granted. As climbers we all have alot to be grateful for. Health, resources, friends and the fact that we have so much freedom. We're in the mountains because we want to be there, not as refugees.

This family of billy's lived in the meadow below Prussik. I could show you a thousand more pics but I think you get the "picture."

As beautiful as it was, I'm a climber, not a sight see'er. This is the classic shot of Prussik w/ the three of us almost ruining the picture. So this is the before shot, look closely at Bill's knees.

The three of us hiked up to the base of the mountain, we're racking up and downsizing to two packs. I took my rock shoes, half a liter of water and a bagel. Bill brought 7 lbs of food, three layers of clothes and rain gear, the only thing he was missing was a watermelon. Jerry brought a normal amount of stuff. Bill says he's afraid we'll end up having to bivy. If we had, he brought enough stuff that we could have weathered four days of sunshine and still gained weight.

It was hard to tell where the scrambling stopped and the climbing started. I think I crossed the line somewhere. I found myself frictioning and liebacking before I realized that maybe the rope shouldn't be in my pack? If you click the pic, you'll see Bill in the red shirt and John Coyier "scrambling" along side to try and get some good pics.

If you click the above pic, you can see the Wild One and Jerry beginning the scary slab pitch. They're in the notch in between the lower two horns. I know it looks like Jerry is giving Bill a piggy back but I want to assure everybody that type of "aid" climbing didn't take place. I'd take an overhung 5.10 over a 5.7 unprotectable slab any day. Since there weren't any overhangs, I had to friction up the the slab.

There's some traversing, some slab climbing and a really cool dihedral that leads to the summit chimney. The dihedral works better as a lieback than as a stem or a smear. Jerry coached Bill through this point. I can't express in words (non-curse words) how funny it was to hear Bill "work his way" through this portion of climbing. I thought his head was going to explode.
As you can see, we all made it to the top.

About a month ago, I took some green horns up the Monkey Face. This trip, I was the new guy. It was great climb w/ the ole vets of the club. If you look at the pic close up, you'll see something that I've only seen this one time. Bill looks proud of himself. What's not to be proud of? I wont say how old he is but I'll say this: Amy is 31 and Bill is twice her age! If I can send Alpine 5.7 when I'm his age, I'll make my own commercial so everybody can know how hard I rock.

So it wasn't all fun and games. The next day when all of the abrasions set up as scabs, Bill's legs were 25 percent covered.

The rest of the crew watched and listened. The temps were perfect for swimming. As it turned out, Goosie brought along a floaty! They took turns floating around the lakes. Slackers!!!

That's a guilty smile if I've every seen one. The skinny dippers relaxed and enjoyed pure nonsence. Rosario's other extended trip w/ us involved a twenty mile day in the snow w/ 5000' of elevation gain and 5000' of decent. I think this was alot more what she likes.

The snafflehounds were out in full force. John got the great idea of burying his food? He thought it would keep it cool. For some reason, the snaffle hounds decided that he was their Huckleberry and they got after his food cache's. He ended up hiking around w/ all of his food each day.
Joanna sits at the dinner table as we all prepared for the dropping temps.

This was another pre-sunset pic. Jerry managed to haul some wine up and all was well.
I like this shot because of the way the light reflected off the lake and the stream. It was awesome in real life and the pic just isn't the same, but it give you an idea of where we were. What would we do the next day for an encore?

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