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Summary: Superb blue sky and heat for the four days. We failed in getting a permit for Prusik Peak yet climbed the west ridge of Mt Stuart (a 14 hour day) and the classic route on Ingall's Peak. Recommend applying for a permit by February for the summer months. The Enchantment Lake area (Washington) is terribly popular. Refer to Echoes trip report (October 2010?) NOT Prusik Peak (Mt Stuart and Ingalls) August 22 – 25th 2010 By Jane Weller (organizer) Our three tents crouch on the rock slabs that rose above the lake; Mt Stuart at 94,000’, fanged and jagged, rises steeply to meet the blue. A lovely sight. Two mountain goats peer dolefully at us: scruffy creatures that smell of whatever they have been licking. Whatever made me think we’d get a pass in mid August for Washington State’s ultra popular hiking area? The Enchantment Lakes area is, by far, the most visited hiking area in the whole of Washington. Monday 7 am. The Leavenworth ranger station. It was like a scene from Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” with Mr. Summers drawing the name of doom. However, in our case it was a draw for the group who would be awarded a pass for the area. I never have luck with this sort of thing. I once won a daypack after doing the Grind because I was the only hiker that morning (it was raining hard). I always enter draws at slide shows yet I’m often one digit out. I have no glimmer of a winning streak Meanwhile, Carl flipped resignedly through Selected Climbs of the Cascades. Benham hopped nervously from foot to foot. Mandana and Dave took another draw of their Starbucks grande java. With six other groups in the lottery, our chances proved low indeed. So plan B: Mt Stuart and Ingalls Peak, both on the edge of the Enchantment area and no permit required. The hike to Ingalls Lake was a pleasant two hours. In the evening we were visited by goats on whom we readied our telephoto lenses. Of course there was no need for this. Goats in Washington have one interest in the hikers they see: pee. With a pretense of apathy, these goats watch your every move. As you go to relieve yourself, you may jump in fright after hearing galloping hooves; then you turn to see goat horns poised at your rump. They then lap your pee with an intense ecstasy. Next day we strolled through the intermittent ponderosa forest and up Mt Stuart’s west ridge (an “athletic” route said the guide.) This proved to be a delightfully solid, blocky scramble with occasional exposure, stops so Carl could for the 8th time read aloud the route description describing traverse below “horn” that looked like every other horn on the ridge. Then a final 5th class move below the summit. We were on the fang-like summit in 6.5 hours which seemed commendable to me. “I know of a gully that will take us down,” Carl assured us. Thus my unwarranted sense of ease. We scrambled and slid and rappelled and skidded some more down a variety of different gully systems. We gazed hopefully at Dave’s I GPS. and rejoiced when Dave finally announced a trail 200 meters away. The moon was full and enweaved itself through the black pine forest. We stumbled exhaustedly along. Camp by 10 pm. It had been a 14.5 hour day. The following morning dripped slow. We lazed like lizards on warm rock. The goats peered at us with ever increasing fervent eagerness. Mt Ingalls is a diminutive mountain compared to Stuart, yet Selected Climbing in the Cascades promised excellent rock. Indeed it was. Four short low 5th class pitches on rock like muscled stretched over taunt bone. Delightful. A swim in the chill lake and a Fat Tire Belgium beer on arrival at the cars ended this trip. Such an on rush of wilderness: cloudless air, high mountains and ubiquitous goats. Perhaps this area really is enchanted and there really was some supernatural spell we’d been under. Thank you Mandana, Carl, Dave and Behnam. Definitely one of the highlights of my summer.
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