Prusik Peak adventure (Enchantments, Cascades)
Posted by sibylle in Canada and PNW (Friday September 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm)

Prusik  5.jpg
Prusik Peak

The  dictionary defines adventure as:
That’s my definition of adventure: it involves risk and success is uncertain.  Most  of my adventures  included some discomfort or pain;  many were spontaneous.

Our Prusik Peak trip qualifies: it was unplanned, we weren’t sure we’d reach the summit, I was the coldest I’ve been years; it was my longest day in over 20 years, we ran out of food, and we hiked out at night.

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Iceberg on lake near Asgard Pass

I was  climbing at Squamish when my climbing partner, Andy, suggested we drive to Leavenworth to climb Outer Space on Snow Creek Wall.
The next morning we stopped at the Ranger Station to buy the required parking permit.
“Do you have any permits for Prusik Peak?” Andy asked.
“We have a Colchuck Lake permit for one night only - tonight.” the ranger replied.
“We’ll take it!”  Andy responded.
Apparently, people wait for years camp at Colchuck Lake, finding a permit was like winning the lottery.
We quickly re-packed, adding a tent and sleeping bags.
We did not a lightweight backpacking stove, so we brought four bagels with cheese (four bagels total, not each.)  Andy suggested we hike in that afternoon, camp at Colchuck Lake, and the next day hike up Asgard Pass, then down and over Prusik Pass, climb Prusik, and hike out.
Hiking in went well. The ranger had told us how hot it was, so I hiked in my shorts.

It gets cold at night.  After putting on  tights and  lightweight fleece, I crawled into my sleeping bag to eat my bagel for dinner.

In the morning, I shivered while eating cold cereal with powdered milk.

We hiked around the lake, got lost once, and  started up Aasgard Pass.  The mountain goats made up for the rubble on  Aasgard Pass. Two hours later, we headed down the other side of Aasgard, across the Enchantment Basin,  and over Prusik Pass.

“We should try to be back to the tent by 8 pm,”  Andy suggested.

This was the first I’d heard of the length of the climb.  I  estimated: 13 hours of daylight  leaves 6 hours up, 6 hours down, and one hour to pack. We’d started at 7:15 am, and would need to turn back by 1:30 p.m.

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Goat overlooking Asgard Pass

Near the icy lake, we stopped to eat one of our two remaining bagels, and then hurried  up Prusik Pass, jogging on the flatter sections.

We reached Prusik Pass to find two other climbers  about to start up the West Ridge.  We passed them on the approach, and they let us climb ahead. We arrived at the summit by 1:00 p.m., within our original parameters.

Rappelling took longer than expected, putting us a little behind schedule. We ate our second bagel near the pass. Our bridges burned (no food left) we were committed to making it out (as well as no permit to spend another night).

By 5 p.m., sliding and stumbling  down Aasgard Pass (even worse than scrambling up through the precipitous scree) I was hungry enough that when I saw an almond on the ground, I  picked it up, ate it, and looked for other nuts.

At Colchuck Lake,  at 6:30, I explained toother  campers  that we were hiking out that night since we had no food.

“No food!” they exclaimed. “You want some food?”

Yes, we  happily ate their leftovers.

About 8 p.m., we started our hike out. Luckily, we brought headlamps. Hiking down a steep trail, full of scree, tree roots, and  boulders is not easy, even by headlamp.

We reached the car at 11:20 p.m., tired, sore, but successful. We’d gotten a rare chance to climb a jewel of the Cascades.

And, experienced  classic adventure  hallmarks:
I was very cold
we ran out of food
hiked out  in the dark
got lost

I don’t think  “Adventure Companies” will  sell  many “real” adventures.

3 comments for Prusik Peak adventure (Enchantments, Cascades) »

  1. Adventure indeed. Glad you have the perspective to appreciate the experience, even if filtered through discomfort, even misery. I’ll bet that it will be one you remember vividly for a long, long time.

    Comment by Claire Walter — September 4, 2011 @ 7:36 am

  2. It’s the jogging part with all that on your backs that got me. I bet the people who gave you their leftovers are still talking about how crazy you were.

    Comment by Marian Thier — September 15, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  3. We left the sleeping gear in the tents and brought only the climbing gear. I wore my helmet and harness, so jogged carrying only the rock gear, shoes, and water.

    Comment by sibylle — September 15, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

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