ptarmigan traverse guide

But it feels like the mountains are inviting us back into the alpine, granting us passage. It was first done in 1938 by a group from the Ptarmigan Climbing Club and didn’t become popular with mountaineers until much later. I guess this is what partly sunny means in the Cascades, right? We traversed right for a while, eventually crossing onto the west side of the ridge and onto the Garden Glacier. We also saw the first people since Cache Col. This was easily in the top 5 most beautiful campsites I have ever had in the Cascades. Featured In the dark, I inspected it very carefully and miraculously found the leak and patched it! It was a moody morning, with Johannesburg hiding in the clouds. Along with the Iso­la­tion Tra­verse and routes in the Pick­ets, the Ptarmi­gan Tra­verse is among the rare glaciat­ed adven­tures left in the low­er 48 of the U.S. that gets you out in an envi­ron­ment dis­ap­pear­ing before our eyes. Tour up the Le Con­te Glac­i­er and climb Le Con­te and Sen­tinel. Contact. Fog swooped in and out with a light mist, creating an eerie feel to the huge mountains around us. The Ptarmigan Traverse is very popular, and thus there is a well defined trail through the heather sections. The Ptarmigan Traverse snakes its way back and forth on either side of the crest. Finally, we started climbing once again and entered sub-alpine meadows beneath Miner’s Ridge. The Suiattle River Road was incredibly potholed with large monsters, so driving it twice really sucked. Good to know for future beta. For a river trail, it is not very beautiful because it does not follow the river very closely, unlike the Hoh River Trial or such. Literally the first thing I did was map out a high route from Cascade Pass to the summit of Glacier Peak, which I called the Glacier Peak High Route. A few more steps and I stood atop Dome Peak, elevation 8,924 ft! We followed the Miner’s Ridge Trail, which had one more glorious climb to the ridge top before diving towards the Suiattle River. We crossed down and quickly sank beneath the clouds, offering a partial view of the massive South Cascade Glacier. Rotating around, I saw only jagged mountains, clouds, and blue sky. Cherie Feryn. For a quote, or to pur­chase trav­el insur­ance, please click this link Rip­cord Res­cue Trav­el Insur­ance™ or call +1 – 415-481‑0600. Along the way, you’ll enjoy spec­tac­u­lar camp­sites, climb some peaks, and take a soul­ful jour­ney away from all the ​“noise and haste” of mod­ern life. Luckily, our planned camps were both on the east side. Out of the clouds but still cold, we put away our glacier gear and began a long traverse over to the Yang Yang Lakes. Pioneered in 1938 by a climbing club of the same name, the Ptarmigan Traverse crosses 30 odd miles of massive glaciers and craggy peaks as it winds its way along the Cascade Crest from Cascade Pass to the Suiattle River. We had challenges – mostly the poor weather – that were frustrating in the moment, but ultimately made the experience so much more rewarding. This itin­er­ary is sub­ject to change due to inclement weath­er, unsafe route con­di­tions, and oth­er rea­sons beyond our control. As we crossed back onto the west side of the crest, we reentered the clouds, although we quickly dropped beneath the ceiling. It was a rare day that I kept my leg thermals on as we started hiking in the morning. You’ll enjoy straight­for­ward glac­i­er trav­el and from your high tra­verse enjoy views of the North Cas­cades exten­sive, though reced­ing glac­i­ers. We found the snow bridge on skier’s left in fine shape, although we were pretty careful crossing it. At the pass, we encountered clouds breaking up and some filtered sunshine, classic Cascade Crest action. Well documented trip and spectacular route you put together. A light drizzle accompanied our dinner cooking. High clouds were already building east of the crest, looking very thunderstorm like. The route, from Cascade Pass to Dome Peak, is generally remote, unmarked, and challenging, traversing rugged terrain and several glaciers. It was so incredibly perfect. It's easy to underestimate the amount necessary for your trip! Crit­i­cal ben­e­fits of Rip­cord Res­cue Trav­el Insur­ance include: For sched­uled cours­es and climbs, you should fly into Seat­tle-Taco­ma Inter­na­tion­al Air­port (SeaT­ac). Somedays the bag is bigger than others. If nothing else, we will have these memories together. They never published it. Advanced back­pack­ing and cross-coun­try trav­el with loads to 40 – 50 pounds. We side hilled easy snow high above rugged cliffs and endless waterfalls that spilled into the brushy valley floor. We stood high above the tarn, at approximately a 30 degree angle above the tarn. Trip Intermediate Alpine Climb - Ptarmigan Traverse. We arrived back at the car around 7 pm, tired, wet, and ready for real food! We felt like we had discovered yet another secret, but we know that there are an infinite number of special spots like this for those willing to explore. Ser­vices avail­able may include, but are not lim­it­ed to, heli­copter evac­u­a­tion, med­ical care, etc. The traverse doubles back here and follows a long broad ridge towards the true crest. Ptarmigan Traverse : : Climbing, hiking, mountaineering. As we ascended towards the glacier, we once again entered the clouds. We agreed on shortening the trip to 4 days and covering just the northern section of the high route from Cascade Pass to Image Lake. Eventually it was time to leave. I scrambled up first, which was sketchy loose death class 3, so I gave a belay to the rest of the guys. The Ptarmigan Traverse begins with 3.7 miles of switchbacks through old-growth forest to Cascade Pass, one of the prettiest day-hiking destinations in the Northwest. Although only four days, this trip had the feel of a longer journey. Ptarmigan Traverse is a 30.6 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Marblemount, Washington that features a lake and is rated as difficult. Note on Itin­er­ary: Although we do our best to fol­low the sched­ule list­ed, the very nature of climb­ing in an alpine envi­ron­ment requires flex­i­bil­i­ty. He is one tough guy. At Kaiwhat, we began ascending south through heather and open forests on a faint game trail. This was our first time on a glacier in a whiteout, and it was not a pleasant experience. Your eloquence, perspective, patience and appreciation of the mountins is beyond your young years. At the col, we took a break and ditched our heavy packs. Further along, we got a close up view of the Gunsights. This led us down to Canyon Lake, which is set in this incredibly steep cirque. Thinking 5 or 6 days likely mid july, likely with at least a summit or two a!ong the way. Must have SPF rating of 20 or more. My gut felt queasy and my legs were burning, but at least I was only walking a marathon with a heavy pack that day, right? Climb up the glac­i­er to the Spi­der-For­mi­da­ble Col en route to Yang Yang Lakes for the evening. At this point, the traditional Ptarmigan Traverse heads southwest over Spire Point and exits to Downey Creek. The lakes are beautiful granite walled lakes perched on a bench with one of the most incredible views I have ever seen. And when you step off the snow, you’ll enjoy some pleas­ant alpine rock on the sum­mits acces­si­ble dur­ing the trip, includ­ing the inac­ces­si­ble Dome Peak. Logan and I remarked how crevasse free the bulk of the 2 mile long glacier was and how fun it would be to ski. If prop­er writ­ten can­cel­la­tion notice is not received, amounts paid and reser­va­tions made will be forfeited. Nowadays, many groups tackle the traverse every summer. But life has had other plans lately, and I need to accept them, no matter how jarring it feels. We woke up the next morning to similar weather as the evening before. The Ptarmigan Traverse is perhaps unique in Washington: a week-long, off-trail high route weaving between the glaciated peaks of the North Cascades, never straying far from the crest. It was such a relaxing, calm evening, napping in the meadows. The iconic Ptarmigan Tunnel in Many Glacier is a popular day hike. Finally, we got to snow and then climbed up to Totem Pass. The Ptarmigan Traverse Extended Trek (Part 1) by Bill Wicheta “We were wanderers from the beginning.” Thus Carl Sagan begins his book Pale Blue Dot.How true for many of my friends and I, thus the lure of long wilderness treks in beautiful high country is hard to resist. We packed up quickly and got on the move, trying to make the best of the good weather. The beau­ty of this area – espe­cial­ly the cen­tral por­tion and the White Rock Lakes area – is beyond words. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. There are moments that stick with you because of the thousands of little things that come together to create total perfection. The Ptarmigan is not for hikers, so much as for climbers, and experienced ones at that. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in … Entering and exiting via Cascade Pass. Your trip will be can­celled from the date writ­ten notice is received. White Rock Lakes is part of the Southern portion of the Ptarmigan Traverse in the North Cascades of Washington State. In the warm morning light, everything felt so hopeful and alive. The view from Miner’s Ridge of Glacier Peak and Image Lake is so classic. Finally, I would like to thank Daniel, Logan, and Jacob for joining me on this wet sufferfest. Today was our shortest day by far, so we were in no rush. For those interested in connecting these two features without losing the elevation via trail, an off-trail goat traverse is an attractive option. Dome Peak is in the heart of the Cascades, a white sentinel. The Alpine Lakes Crest Traverse traveled through miles of terrain without a trace of a human, while the Ptarmigan has a trail that is better than most trails in the Cascades! Our plan was to go over the summit of Dome and through the Gunsights. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. The drop off to either side was massive, with steep snow slopes falling off into the clouds. The “entrance ramps” were some easy hiking and scrambling to get up onto the upper Dana cirque. With the personal challenges I have been facing, I really wanted splitter weather and perfect conditions this summer. The trail was easy to follow, but definitely not in good shape. But on every other guide I looked at for the hike, including from our former Summit Daily hiking columnist — the late Kim Fenske, it said Ptarmigan’s summit was closer to 12,500 feet. Their route cov­ered the Cas­cade Crest from Cas­cade Pass to a val­ley just north of Glac­i­er Peak, in the Glac­i­er Peak Wilder­ness area. Visibility dropped to less than 100 ft and we wandered through wet cliffs, just taking it “75 ft at a time”. The third party, led by legendary Ira Spring, actually continued the traverse all the way to Image Lake, just like we would be doing. Even when things are not going your way, there are incredible opportunities during those fleeting moments of sunshine and a certain mystique beauty in the gloom. We were not sure whether to descend on the east or west side of the ridge and with limited visibility, it was even tougher to figure out. We found a lovely tarn, flat campsites, and beautiful meadows abound. Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy, Sign-up now for Level 1 Avalanche Courses, New Book about Christine Boskoff by Johanna Garton. We also strong­ly urge you to con­sid­er res­cue and evac­u­a­tion insur­ance if your own pol­i­cy does not pro­vide the cov­er­age need­ed. I remember first seeing an internet photo of Image Lake and immediately falling in love with the Glacier Peak Wilderness, even before I had ever visited. Its a few pounds swing depending on decisions, but im totally paranoid about being underprepared, and also lazy about carrying extra weight! I could not have dreamed up anything better. Kyle, But first, we had to do that damn car shuttle again…. All Rights Reserved. We could go big and try to finish the trip via the long and strenuous Bath Lakes High Route or we could take the unmaintained trail from Canyon Lake to Image Lake and hike 16 miles out. I know that some day I will come back to this remote spot with a rock rack (and stronger climbing skills). The sea of clouds unfolded beneath our feet, leaving only the highest peaks poking out. Thanks for sharing your vast knowledge. Seasonal Popularity. But the good news is we didn't see or cross any sketchy snow bridges. Even in the fog, it was marvelous. Nothing turns hours into days better than suffering. We descended quickly to our packs and got going since we still had a lot of big terrain to cover. Background Our original Ptarmigan Traverse trip was actually planned for last September, but with the weather looking iffy we opted for Glacier Peak instead, which, smoke and mosquitos aside, was a fine climb. This "trail" rides a fine line between climbing and backpacking. In some conditions, this can be done as a very strenuous backcountry wilderness trek. We feared it would steepen and cliff out in a sketchy waterfall, so we trended left onto rock slabs. We followed the obvious climber’s path up and right towards Cache Col. From a distance, Cache Col looks impressively steep. Ptarmigan Traverse Peaks that may be climbed along the way include Mix-up Peak, Magic Mountain, "Hurry-up" (S Mountain), Mount Formidable, Spider Mountain, Le Conte Mountain, Sentinel Peak, Old Guard, The Lizard, German Helmet, Spire Point, Gunsight Peak, Dome Peak and Sinister Peak. Lowell Skoog indicates that the Ptarmigan is about 30 miles long with roughly 11,000 feet of climbing. Supposedly, the view of Mt. Ptarmigan Traverse, North Cascades 31 July – 08 August 1971 My Life As A Mountain Guide One of the advantages of acting as an assistant or instructor in the University of Washington climbing courses was meeting many new people interested in climbing who would later serve as climbing partners. As we climbed higher, we watched the edge of a thick marine layer of clouds begin to overflow the crest. Every 30 minutes or so I found my butt on the cold ground. Ptarmigan Ski Traverse The oldest and most famous high alpine traverse in the North Cascades and you get to make turns! Thanks Cherie! It is on nearly every Washington mountaineer’s dream list. This was truly an all star squad that may never again come together, but hopefully we have adventures in our future! I had never seen any photos of this spot, but it sounded enticing. Make sure you transport in checked bag, not carry-on! It felt like threading the needle. Some of the best moments of this trip are: Cascade Pass: The first time you get a hint at the true enormity of the mountains here, looking down the cascade river valley. hydration bladder or water bag with drinking tube (must also have 1 Nalgene Bottle or equivalent), Purifies drinking water while on the climb, Steri Pen, Potable Aqua, Polar Pure crystal iodine, Bring a 2-4 cup camping bowl or a plastic "Rubbermaid" style container for your mountain dining, A 12-16 oz (350-500 ml) mug with an attached lid will help keep you hydrated. I decided to check out the direct ridge line. 1. People typically start at Cascade Pass. We were able to walk around camp barefoot and dry out our wet feet. Begin the day climb­ing up the Red Ledges and drop­ping down on the Mid­dle Cas­cade Glac­i­er. Their report was never published, and due to tumultuous world events, the traverse wasn’t repeated for 15 years. But up close, it is a nice and easy snow slope, although there appears to a be a sizeable cornice in the earlier season. To make matters worse, it seemed that my Thermarest Uberlite pad had developed a slight leak. Two lightweight to mediumweight, pull-over is best, This is what you will be wearing while hiking at higher altitudes or while kicking around camps at lower altitude. Sometimes you just have to keep opening the bag more and more and overstuffing it. For climbers this trip offers numer­ous sum­mit oppor­tu­ni­ties, all in an incred­i­ble wilder­ness set­ting. However, we later found an alternative steep snow route around the bergschrund on skier’s right. In the clouds, it was difficult to tell if the main snow chute would go. We truly entered a different world, isolated from the rest of humanity that was beneath the clouds. The ridges around us were steep granite, cutting through vast fields of ice like how the distant peaks broke through the clouds. On these magical mornings, despair is replaced by hope. Even with the weather, it was a marvelous sight. Needless to say, it completely deserves the reputation. This was a world still dominated by snow and ice and the mighty Chikamin Glacier. The Ptarmigan Traverse is unrelenting: 35 off-trail miles with 25,000 feet of elevation change along a series of jagged peaks in Washington state’s … Overall the glaciers were in great shape and very easy to navigate. At the col, we crossed the crest (for the 199th time) and stepped onto white pearls in the sky. I am definitely not in track shape anymore! Skiing the Ptarmigan Traverse — a high route through the North Cascades along the boundary of Chelan, Skagit, and Snohomish counties — wasn’t designed as a journey to warp time, it just turned out that way. But in our conditions, it was a constant challenge to stay dry and manage the routefinding with the ever changing weather. Ptarmigan Traverse Cascades + 2 First Ascents in 3 Days + Matterhorn Ultraks Video +ays Ptarmigan Traverse - N Cascades - WA - Trip report with pictures from Felix Berg and Co : Two first ascents in three days - from Stefan Nestler at Adventure Mountain At the lakes, we found a solo tent and a whirling drone above us. As the trip approached us, the weather looked downright ugly for July, so we convened at my house Friday night. As the sun started to come up, the rest of the crew got up to appreciate the sublime morning.

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