Got a solo Enchantments Core camping permit and headed up into my favorite place to be in October. Snow free, but hazy on Thursday but the haze left the area by Friday. The trail up is busy from Stuart Lake Trailhead, as you would expect this time of the year. Took me about 5 hours to get into the Core and I camped in one of my favorite areas around the Crystal Lake viewpoint. I paid off the pikas (a contribution to the Benevolent Pika Assocation) and they mostly left my tent alone. I forgot shorts but who would ever expect to need them in October 🙂
It was getting windy and nippier with a bit of ice on smaller ponds as I left. I love chatting with Enchantments hikers. Like-minded crazies. Everyone, well mostly everyone, is happy to be there and has great stories. I took about 1500 photos and am about halfway through them. I was pretty sore getting back to the trailhead about 5 hours later. Predictably, two weeks later, I wanted to go back.
Some good choices/Things I was happy to have with me:
26lb total weight Zpacks Arc Blast backpack for four days including Zpacks Triplex tent, Neoair XTherm pad, Zpacks 5 degree quilt and 10 lbs of camera gear (Fuji GFX50s and GF32-64mm lens).
Zpacks Triplex Tent, at 1.5 lbs., was a good choice for this trip and obviously a ton of room for just me. Each time I hike into the Enchantments, I go over my tent choices. Previously, Big Agnes’s Copper Spur or Tarptent’s Protrail have won out. Freestanding tents have an advantage up here since they don’t depend on stakes which can be difficult to sink into crushed granite. I found a “meadow” of good sod to work with for the stakes around the Crystal Lake viewpoint area. A massive shady larch also helped with the winds and mid-day sun.
Tamrac zipshot tripod. I have 3 Gitzos but at 9oz this goes into the Enchantments where everything went on the scale first. I put my GFX50s medium format camera on it. Most of my shots are handheld but when needed, this steps in. The trick is to spread the tripod legs to create tension in the ballhead.
Water filter and one small plastic water bottle so I’m not weighed down and then electrolyte tablets to prevent leg cramps. Hydration packs might be ok when you are 25 but at 54, I’m all about saving weight.
Solar panel for charging. There are a few spots where I got a hair of Verizon LTE coverage but this ate battery power.
Cliff Bar’s new coffee flavors.
A good book and light to relax and let the legs rest.
TP and a Trowel so I’m not one of those people.
Lots of experience in the area which allowed me to encourage and advise others which makes me happy. I also appreciated coming in on the Stuart Lake/Asgaard approach. Snow Lakes side seems like it might be “easier” but its a long slog with a stiff climb at the end up in to Lake Vivianne.
I’m still dubious about the best in rehydrated meals (Peak Refuel/Alpine Aire/etc.) so my old standby, a stack of peanut butter and honey sandwiches were my staple.
I love this area and try to get up there every year. Here are a few photos from the trip.
Sunrise view above the Lower Enchantments to Prusik Peak.
Really glad I got up there this year and of course, can’t wait to go back.