Again, we awoke to the sounds of rock fall, feeling pretty certain that they were coming from the vicinity of Dragon Tails Peak, at the south end of the lake, and, I might add, the vicinity of Aasgard Pass, which we would have to negotiate to gain the Enchantments once again…
…I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying, but it almost sounded like “HELP!”…Hmmm…That’s not good…
Heading off for the “facilities”, I stored that thought away in the dim recesses of my mind. Right about the time I was headed down Memory Lane, with T.P. in hand, I could hear someone yelling something, I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying, but it almost sounded like “HELP!”…Hmmm…That’s not good…I listened for a minute or two, and it repeated…I still could not make out what they were saying, but before I could decide on which call I would answer first, I could hear feet pounding the trail, and was met by 2 of the boys that had camped next to us…”Do you hear someone yelling for help?” they asked, and I told them I thought so, but couldn’t make out what they were saying.They hurried on down the trail, and I told them that we would be along shortly.
When we reached the south end of the lake, we could hear distinctly the cry “We need a helicopter!”
We packed up, and headed for Aasgard Pass, and the sound of the yelling. When we reached the south end of the lake, we could hear distinctly the cry “We need a helicopter!” By now there were probably 5 or 6 people up with the injured climber, and several at the base of the slope, and all were trying to get out on their cell phones, but it was no use. So, one person decided to head out for the cars, and get help, and we told them that we would continue on over Aasgard Pass, to see if someone there had a cell that would get out. The injured climber was in a V slot at the base of Colchuck Glacier; about 1,000ft up an incline of nothing but tossed boulders from our location on the lakes edge.
At the lake the elevation is around 5600ft, and at the top it’s over 7800ft, which is gained in less than a mile, so it’s a pretty steep scramble over jumbled granite of all sizes and shapes.
Aasgard Pass was basically just a ravine that heads up and over a saddle between the Enchantment peaks, and Dragontail Peaks. At the lake the elevation is around 5600ft, and at the top it’s over 7800ft, which is gained in less than a mile, so it’s a pretty steep scramble over jumbled granite of all sizes and shapes. Once we reached the top, we met a group of 4 women that had a cell phone, and they seemed to remember getting service further back, so they followed us back towards their camp at Sprite lake, looking for reception.
When they were unsuccessful, they allowed us to continue on, with their phone, to see if we could reach help. She told us that when we were done, we could drop the phone off at their camp at Sprite lake, her husband and son were there. It wasn’t long before we were able to reach 911, although faintly, and we relayed the information that we had. Because we didn’t know the condition of the climber, his vitals, etc., the guy on the other end told me that they would not send help, until they had some kind of verification, and they would pass along the info to the local SAR’s.
I turned my head, to look at the guys, and lost the connection. Before I lost contact, I did find out that I was the 2nd person to phone in, so maybe??? We just didn’t know. We dropped the phone off at their campsite, and explained everything to her husband; imagine 3 guys showing up at his camp with her cell phone! There was a little confusion at first, that’s for sure.
We just missed an awesome site by 20 seconds!!! “Curses! Foiled again!”
We made our way to Leprechaun lake, and once again, it looked as if it was going to be a struggle for a campsite! We just missed an awesome site by 20 seconds!!! “Curses! Foiled again!”, I mutter under my breath…Or, maybe it was out loud…With different words… with resignation, after learning from our mistakes at Colchuck lake, I plopped down on a marginal site, again, and waited for the guys to scout out another site, as we could see from here that the great tent site we had used last year was already taken.
20 minutes later, I could see Greg waving from across the lake, so I picked up my pack and headed across. This was a great site, as well, nice and flat and still had great views of the surrounding peaks. There was also a large snow bank close by to serve as our refrigerator, a great luxury! Great, now I’d be able to resurrect my melted Fruit Smoothie!!!
We were never able to convince Ed to give it a try, he was happier to simply watch the idiots splashing around in the water.
Aaahhh…A nice cold treat at the end of the day. What? Don’t know what a Fruit Smoothie bar is??? Man, you gotta catch up! They’re great ice cold instead of the melted goo they turn into from being in the sun too long… After setting up, once again Greg and I took the icy plunge to get clean. We were never able to convince Ed to give it a try, he was happier to simply watch the idiots splashing around in the water.
We finally get to see the Mountain goats the area is so famous for! And, up close and personal, I might add! They practically wander through camp, posing for us on the large boulders around us, for Greg and I to click away to our hearts content. They bray at each other,(or whatever it is goats do) seeming to vie for the better spots for grazing.
…so it seemed that someone had convinced them that a helicopter was necessary.
One of the Ewes has 2 kids, cute little buggers. It was during our picture zapping frenzy, that two of the women that we had borrowed the cell phone from, stopped by our site for a couple of minutes to let us know that a helicopter had showed up at the snout of the Cowlitz glacier, so it seemed that someone had convinced them that a helicopter was necessary.
We thanked them for the info, and wondered if the climber was ok. By now, we’ve turned a wary eye towards the skies overhead, as they looked bruised, swollen, and lumpy, as if someone had beaten them with an ugly stick. There were rumors of thundershowers tonight, and I was hoping that’s all they were…
…And, before I can answer, the goat outside replies, “Dave, it’s me Ed”
Tired, we turn in for the night, and it’s not long before we’re fast asleep. That is, until I hear footsteps clattering across the granite outside, but I’m not alarmed, I figure it’s just the goats outside, stumbling around in the dark…Until, it tries to get into the tent, then it’s got my undivided attention!!! I reach across Ed’s bag, and start hollering, all the while trying to keep it from getting in the tent!!! “HEY, HEY, HEY!!” I holler frantically, trying in vain to stop if from clambering in … This wakes up Greg, and he yells, “WHAT!!” And, before I can answer, the goat outside replies, “Dave, it’s me Ed”, and calmly enters the tent…Heh, heh…Sorry about that, Ed.
Now, I’m wide awake again, staring intently at the crossed aluminum poles directly overhead, and counting…”One thousand one, one thousand two…”
Great… Now my heart is pumping so hard from adrenaline, I may never get back to sleep…But I do, and am dragged from sleep again, this time by bright flashes, followed by loud thunder! And, it was really active, flashes every 20 seconds or so, followed by the crashing of thunder!!! Now, I’m wide awake again, staring intently at the crossed aluminum poles directly overhead, and counting…”One thousand one, one thousand two…” I figure if I get to 1003, flashes separated by thunder, I’m bailing!!!
Thankfully, they never did, so I did my best to convince myself that it was ok, and go back to sleep…And, I might add, Greg and Ed slept through the whole thing, blissfully unaware of Dave’s latest trepidation…