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Freeman Keller strolls past the Rat Lakes with Edward Mesa behind him

There’s always that crew of people who like to do things a little sideways. Tom Janisch, Mark Shipman, Freeman Keller and Bill Wicheta traversed the Enchantments crosswise to the standard routes, and were rewarded with phenomenal views and color displays.  There are not many out there who would really enjoy slogging up Hook Creek and the descent down Crystal Creek as like they did, but at least we can all enjoy the pictures.

Topographic maps of the route. Map 1 (northern portion)) and Map 2 (southern portion).
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Map 1

Map 2

Map 2

Tom Janisch’s Trip Report:

The Enchantments are frequently hiked on the trail system between Colchuck Lake and Snow Lakes. This is a splendid hike and justifiably popular. There are those amongst us who sometimes seem to look at things sideways; what better way to do an Enchantment hike than sideways?

The standard trail system is on a west or east plane. Spectacular cross country routes approach the Enchantments from the north and south.

The golden Larch display in early October in the Enchantments can be magical. I was interested in hiking the Enchantments sideways. So on a day in early October, 2010 I was joined by Freeman Keller, Mark Shipman and Bill Wicheta on a hike of the Enchantments sideways.

We settled on route that would leave the Icicle near the bridge by Hook Creek, up toward Yellow Jacket Tower, and then a up Hook Creek to Edward Mesa, across the Lost World Plateau, by the Rat Lakes, over Prusik Pass, by Inspiration Lake, to Crystal Lake, down Crystal Creek to Ingalls Creek, to the Ingalls Creek trail head. This is about 15 miles and 7,000 feet of vertical gain total. Most of the route up Hook Creek and down Crystal Creek is cross county.

A few pictures from the trip off of Mark Shipman’s camera:

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Leave It Better Than You Found It. This should be every outdoor user’s goal. Pick up trash left by others, pull some noxious weeds along your route, throw branches over unwanted spur trails, don’t ride or walk wet trails when you’re leaving ruts/footprints deeper than ¼ inch…

Disclaimer. Treat this information as recommendations, not gospel. Conditions change, and those contributing these reports are volunteers–they may make mistakes or may not know all the issues affecting a route. You are still completely responsible for your decisions, your actions, and your safety. If you can’t live with that, you are prohibited from using our information.

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2 Responses

    • Verl Rogers

      Hook Creek sounds good as a route into the Enchantments. Rat Creek was used first, but no one liked it. I’ve gone via Tamarack Meadows, Toketie Lake and Lake Viviane. Viviane is best.

      Reply

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