The previous fastest known time for this traverse, 15 hours 40 minutes, was by Joe Stock and Andrew Wexler. 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. After a year and a half of dating and each going on separate week-long trips last year (Nate to Mt Robson and me to the Sierras) we decided that it was time for a week long trip of our own. The Ptarmigan Traverse is a challenging, off-trail route in the North Cascades of Washington State. When I was younger, I would have been so frustrated with the weather. Trip Intermediate Alpine Climb - Ptarmigan Traverse. 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. So far, it was looking like the weather might actually cooperate! I could not think of a more beautiful spot to climb perfect granite in the Cascades. Formidable above was inspiring, but we had to be content with the striking cracks and calving of the lower glacier, as clouds obscured the lofty peaks. They climbed an incredible number of peaks along the way – in fast and light alpine style – and it is a widely held belief that their exact itinerary has never been repeated, especially taking into account the peaks climbed in the northern section of the traverse. We traversed right for a while, eventually crossing onto the west side of the ridge and onto the Garden Glacier. However, we were just getting to the good part! Luckily, we had our tent pitched so that the door was downwind and the wind was so strong we could actually keep our door open and stay dry! I scrambled up first, which was sketchy loose death class 3, so I gave a belay to the rest of the guys. We packed up quickly and got on the move, trying to make the best of the good weather. Looking up, there must have been 20 waterfalls of substantial size, all suspended high in this steep cirque. The Ptarmigan Traverse snakes its way back and forth on either side of the crest. I guess this is what partly sunny means in the Cascades, right? 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. The Ptarmigan was apparently first done in 1938 by members of the Ptarmigan climbing club, who took 13 days to do the traverse, climbing many peaks along the way. It became my obsession and morphed into a greater goal, a Cascade High Route from Snoqualmie Pass to Canada. The Ptarmigan Traverse is perhaps the most famous mountaineering traverse in the lower 48. We got peek-a-boo views of the giants around us. Services available may include, but are not limited to, helicopter evacuation, medical care, etc. The trail descended for a while and entered back into the forest. The third party, led by legendary Ira Spring, actually continued the traverse all the way to Image Lake, just like we would be doing. It looked dangerously steep at first, but was totally fine once we dropped out of the clouds. However, we later found an alternative steep snow route around the bergschrund on skier’s right. bmbrost 1 year, 1 month ago Cub Lake via Ptarmigan Traverse. Our plan was to go over the summit of Dome and through the Gunsights. The drop off to either side was massive, with steep snow slopes falling off into the clouds. Since we could not see much, we decided to rope up and start across the glacier. The Suiattle River Road was incredibly potholed with large monsters, so driving it twice really sucked. If proper written cancellation notice is not received, amounts paid and reservations made will be forfeited. Finally, the sun went down and temperatures became frigid, so we crawled into our sleeping bags for the night. He is one tough guy. This next section to Kaiwhat Pass was the biggest unknown of the trip. As for the actual Ptarmigan Traverse, it was every bit as beautiful as expected. It was a cold, clear night, well below freezing. Overall the glaciers were in great shape and very easy to navigate. There were substantial open crevasses, but we were able to descend down and right rather efficiently between the crevasses. But it feels like the mountains are inviting us back into the alpine, granting us passage. The following itinerary was designed for the seven-day group program. Fog swooped in and out with a light mist, creating an eerie feel to the huge mountains around us. There is a research station on the lateral moraine just west of the snout of the glacier. A warm, full zip jacket with hood is recommended and ideal, Helly Hansen Vanir, Feathered Friends Volant, Marmot Guide’s Down Hoody, Outdoor Research Virtuoso Hoody, This piece with a high SPF rating and lightweight fabric offers protection from high altitude sun, Softshell pants are water resistant, yet highly breathable and durable. Today is reserved to climb Dome Peak, return to camp and enjoy the views. Since I did have running shoes with me, I decided to see how fast I could get around the lake. Simple Swiss Army type with scissors. Climb up the Dana Glacier and descend south onto Itswoot Ridge and camp with view of Glacier Peak. I am definitely not in track shape anymore! The section from the Hanging Gardens to Totem Pass is not difficult, but it requires a lot of slippery heather sidehilling. August 7 - 12, 2020. The Ptarmigan Traverse is supposed to be the most scenic high alpine route in the US, weaving its way along the Cascade Crest. The beauty of this area – especially the central portion and the White Rock Lakes area – is beyond words. So this is what 40% chance of showers means in the Cascades? I have some mountaineering and ice climbing experience in the North East but generally pretty beginner, and no experience on glaciers etc. I had just read this. 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. Required fields are marked *. Needless to say, it completely deserves the reputation. approximately 4000-4500 cubic inch (65-75 liters) capacity, avoid unnecessary options that add weight, Black Diamond Mission 75, Osprey Ariel 65, One down or synthetic bag rated from 15-20°F /-9 to -7°C, Marmot Helium, Marmot Trestles, Western Mountaineering Apache, North Face Guide 20, Full length inflatable. The “entrance ramps” were some easy hiking and scrambling to get up onto the upper Dana cirque. We also strongly urge you to consider rescue and evacuation insurance if your own policy does not provide the coverage needed. It epitomizes remoteness, wildness, and alpine adventure. We truly entered a different world, isolated from the rest of humanity that was beneath the clouds. It was a rare day that I kept my leg thermals on as we started hiking in the morning. 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. The car shuttle for the Ptarmigan takes a considerable amount of time to set up. 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. We will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations, waiving certain fees when feasible.
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