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First Time Thru-hike of the Enchantments

The Enchantments is an alpine hiking area outside of Leavenworth, Washington. It is a popular backpacking area that requires lottery permits in order to camp overnight. In the past I have been lucky with permits. This year I am planning a thru-hike of the area. The approximately 20 mile hike will gain over 4,500ft of elevation, most of which is during Asgard Pass. The pass gains almost 2,000ft of elevation in ¾ of a mile!

That being said, I would love to know how you would prepare for this type of hike. Has anyone here done the Enchantments thru-hike? Any tips/tricks would be greatly appreciated!

Lake Stuart in Leavenworth, WashingtonLake Stuart in Leavenworth, Washington

 

 

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Re: First Time Thru-hike of the Enchantments

I've never through-hiked the enchanments, although I assure you it is definitely up there on the bucket list. If you're going later in the season when there won't be snow up Aasgard it should be a fairly straightforward ascent. If there is snow, more equiptment and training could be necessary, but assuming favorable conditions the training for this sort of thing would probably be farily straightforward. For training I would definitely reccomend a mixed set of cardiovascular and strength training throughout the week. If you feel confident in strength or vice versa one could always focus more on one or the other. When you have the time, definitely go for long hikes with a weighted pack. Nothing gets you in pass-climbing-shape like doing runs (by runs I mean grueling slogs) up Si with a couple of gallons of water in your pack. If you can hit your target weight on those sorts of hikes, and you are focusing on building cardiovascular endurance and strength throughout the week, there's no reason that you should see results over the long term. Doing backpacking trips of similar length and elevation gain will also help with this. Finally, it just comes down to your will to succeed as you switchback up the pass, and if you've made it that far, don't doubt you can make it further.

"Not getting to the summit is not failure, it is an opportunity to go there again."
-Kilian Jornet-
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Re: First Time Thru-hike of the Enchantments

@REI-TaylorH I’ve done it 5x and will be doing it a 6th time in a few weeks. I concur with the training ideas already mentioned. The only piece I will add is to hike on different types of terrain (boulders, granite slabs, steel step down descents) and to know how to route find using cairns. Going up Aasgard is amazing and best done before the sun hits (so early morning ascent while it’s still shaded). Most people going Stuart Lake TH to Snow Lakes think that the hardest part of the hike is up Aasgard. I actually think the hike STARTS once you are at the top of Aasgard because you have 15 more miles downhill (also, every time I’ve done it I’ve logged 22 total miles). The hike from Snow Lakes out is a beautiful 7 mile grind so I also stop at Upper Snow Lake for water and a swim!! Finally go on a weekday if you can because the weekends are busy!!!!!  Happy Hiking!!!

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