Michael Totten

Back in Civilization

I have returned in one piece from my backpacking trip, but I am, as expected, exhausted and sore. The trip was 18 miles with 6,000 feet of elevation gain, which only sounds moderately difficult, but many of those miles were up and over boulders the size of houses and cars and along the edges of cliffs, so it was harder than it sounds. Just one of those miles, the scramble/climb up Aasgard Pass, took four and a half hours. And the weather in the Upper Enchantments Basin—a howling wilderness of granite and ice—was hostile and cold even compared with the weather in January where I live at sea level.

The pain and exertion were worth it, however, because this is what the place looks like:

Distant Colchuck Lake from the top of the perilous Aasgard Pass, a mile-long staircase made of boulders up a cliff face

Little Anapurna looms over the Enchantment Lakes Basin

Prusik Peak towers over Gnome Tarn

Mount Rainier from the summit of Little Anapurna at the top of the Enchantments

Here’s a video somebody else made of the climb up Aasgard Pass. Don’t even think about trying this if you’re in bad shape.

If any of you would like to see this place for yourself, the details you need are here.