Essential Gear. Every fallen log over the trail (there are quite a few) is a cur. The characteristics that define the classic alpine environment present themselves around every corner and over ever col; precipitous glaciers, snowfields, towering peaks, boulder fields, flowering alpine meadows, crystal clear and cold alpine lakes, … At 6:40 p.m. we’re past the turn-around time but on the summit ridge. A couple notes....the route onto the Le Conte Glacier was already 35-40 degree ice for 30 feet. Glorious are those moments that creep! The Ptarmigan Traverse, North Cascades Washington. The Ratio has become my go-to bag for almost every type of trip. For more info, click the "Search" button on this site, enter "ptarmigan traverse" in the search box, and click "Title Only" in the options. My immediate takeaway: The Mutant is everything you want without anything you don’t. The last hour reaching the col capping the Dana Glacier is particularly interminable. This should be every outdoor user’s goal. However, some years (particularly later in the summer) crevasses do open up on some of the glaciers crossed to present hazards. You'll get thirteen previous reports and discussiosn about the traverse, including Guiran's report with helpful pictures. It was designed by guides for routes like the Ptarmigan, with a comfortable and snug fit, additional snow and ice gear loops, and easy rope carry. This strategy will add an additional day to the trip for fast travelers, two to three extra days for slower groups. Diary. Peacefu…, WA. The Ptarmigan Traverse is the oldest and most famous high route in the Northwest.The first crossing of this route in July 1938 by four members of the Ptarmigan Climbing Club has become a standard in Northwest mountaineering folklore. Normal overnight kit plus ice axe, crampons, and glacier travel gear. Yang Yang Lakes with Spider Gap in center. Stewart sleeps poorly because he’s shivering in a 40-degree bag as temperatures dip well below freezing. With the 2.5-liter pot, we were able to boil enough water for all five of us in one fell swoop, making life easy. Ptarmigan Traverse is an alpine climbing route in the North Cascades of Washington state. We laugh over the degree of our ruin. From there, our group of five will begin the Ptarmigan Traverse, a classic high-alpine mountaineering journey from Cascade Pass to the Suiattle River, through the heart of the 566-thousand-acre Glacier Peak Wilderness. Lowell Skoog indicates that the Ptarmigan is about 30 miles long with roughly 11,000 feet of climbing. Tom and I have shoulders that are on fire from pack straps that have tenderized soft muscles. Consider doing the route as an out-and-back excursion to Cub Lake. Blessed are these new aches: They take our minds off our principal pain. That hour translates into another three-day trip should I want to claim I’ve actually topped Dome. The doubts weigh as much as the gear pinching our shoulders and time shifts into low gear. Although technically moderate, it is a committing, remote, mountain traverse. Sharing in-depth conversations between the world's adventurers, athletes, and outdoorspeople, The GearJunkie Podcast is your inside look into the outdoors industry. A team of three who passes us and who are traveling on foot without the encumbrances of 7 pound skis, 7 pound boots, 2 pound skins and 1 pound poles, easily outpace us. Ptarmigan Traverse is located in remote wilderness of Washington State. We can’t rest long, however. The event horizon of this green hole spans only a few miles but, moving at an average speed of zero miles per hour, we are stuck in Hell for eternity. Now the heat and soft snows of afternoon suck energy and ravage our psyches. It crosses 30 miles of rugged North Cascade terrain from Cascade Pass to the Suiattle River, across glaciers and above truly wild valleys. From Cascade Pass (5400 feet) this route, first pioneered by the Ptarmigan Climbing Club in 1938, heads cross-country to the south over Cache Col. The snow as we contour steep side slopes is consolidated but soft on top. It will definitely require some experience using ice axes, understanding glacier travel, and good mountain sense. Recommended trip legs. After 11 hours of travel, time and tongues both drag. No pictures, no written account, nothing. Will we be walking our skis more than riding them? Day One The Ptarmigan Traverse is a popular high-level alpine trek through some of the most beautiful glaciated mountains of the North Cascades. Bolder, more capable mountaineers could scramble to the top and back in five minutes, but we feathered-clucking climbers decide we should rope the pitch. This trailhead is in North Cascades National Park and, as of 2011, a permit was not required to park. 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. Normal mortals will find that doing the route in 4 or 5 days makes it enjoyable rather than a sufferfest. Another Consideration. Man it feels good not to notice my shoulders anymore! Northern End. If your days seem to fly by too fast, you’re probably not suffering enough. The Ptarmigan Traverse is a challenging, off-trail route in the North Cascades of Washington State. Most people leave their shuttle vehicle up the Suiattle River Road. As we pack the car, the others are returning the rope, stove, and first-aid kit they carried as group gear. Copper Ridge Loop 35.4 mi 57.1 km • 8,660' Up 2639.55 m Up • 8,658' Down 2638.84 m Down. Do it fast. Day 1: Trailhead to Kool-Aid Lake. We make careful turns down the steep, frozen backside of the gap and then are spit out onto broad slopes marinating in sunshine. GearJunkie hits the road to get out of office for a new content series with Go RVing. The Ptarmigan Traverse can be done as a four-day ski program, a five-day mountaineering program without any summits, or as a seven-day program with a couple of different climbing objectives on the route. The Downey Creek Trailhead is another 9.5 miles up the road beyond milepost 22. Mix-up Peak, Magic Mountain. Downey Creek, meanwhile, is a six-mile walk through old-growth forest. The Raven Ultra is BD’s lightest ice axe, great for long, hard days in the mountains. Needless to say, it treated me well. I had wondered, as a matter of novelty, whether it made sense to ski the traverse this late in the summer. Get hand-picked trail guide posts, events and more delivered to your inbox specifically with you in mind. I sleep relatively warm, so others might prefer a 15-degree bag. This section does not … The next few miles of the lower 48’s classic mountaineering route were visible from our campsite: a big climb up a scree-laden slope, a thin ridge run, and a long glacial crossing. In that hour and 20 minutes each of us is lucky to grow new pains. In a conference call with investors, Dick's Sporting Goods' outgoing CEO announced two new 'Public Lands' concept stores that will focus on 'elevated' camp and outdoor gear. They will develop a tour plan and devise a series of ascents that will be completed during the program. This kit could get you to the other... Osprey Mutant 38 Technical Pack ($170). On the snow slopes leading to the col, that team makes it clear that booted feet, rather than boarded ones, are significantly faster for upward progress. While parts of the route are well trodden, much of it leaves you feeling alone. Time, apparently pegged to the speed by which we cover distance, also flies. Tom, ever a Candid, would effuse over the scenery, the rugged country, the magic of gliding on boarded feet over frozen slopes, the artistry of scribing tempo turns onto a landscape-sized canvas. © Copyright 2020 GearJunkie, All Rights Reserved, Specialized Hotwalk Carbon: Meet the $1,000 Bike for Toddlers, Simple and Heartwarming: Salomon Gives an Ode to Chairlifts, The Thrill of the Throttle: Pro Skier Saddles Up a 'Snow Pony', The Best Running Shirts for Women in 2020, The Best Cross Country Skis and How to Choose Them, 'Once Upon a Time': 22 Years of Swiss Freeriding History, Sustainable Skiing: Pros Weigh In on What Needs to Change, Canadian Teen Sends Grueling V14 Test Piece in Squamish, 12 Days of Savings: Gifts for Every Cyclist, Don’t-Miss Deals: Cyber Week Discounts Still Going Strong, Don't Miss These Amazon Cyber Monday Deals. 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. Jump to: Trail Talk Partners Trip Reports Public Lands Stewardship Pacific NW History Gear Talk Food & Grub Photography Talk Support & Feedback Links Full Moon Saloon The Trading Post Take the Cascade Pass Trail to Cascade Pass (3.7 miles). 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. Recommended gear. The following itinerary was designed for the seven-day group program. Enter before February 7th for your chance to win. Magnificent are these moments that border eternity! Take the North Cascades Highway (State Route 20) to Marblemount and follow the Cascade River Road, 22 miles east until it dead-ends at the trailhead for the Cascade Pass Trail (el. The Ptarmigan Traverse seems to be more of a mountaineering high route that traverses 35+ miles through some of Washington’s most beautiful and rugged terrain. Do it slow. 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 North Cascades. 3,660’).Over half the distance of this road is gravel but it is well maintained. When the road is open to the end, a Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at the trailhead. There are very few equipment companies that have stood the test of time like Black Diamond, which has been producing top-shelf products for over five decades. Alternate Exits. Finally, we suck it up and walk. Day 4: Cub Lake to Downey Creek Trailhead. Learn how to live, work, and play — and stay connected! After a long game of gear Tetris, here’s what I packed. This depends on who’s evaluating – hikers will consider this a 4 (expert), backcountry skiers a 3 (advanced), and mountaineers a 2 (intermediate). From next-gen tech to ingenious innovation, our weekly peek at emerging products examines the sometimes cutting-edge, sometimes quirky world of gear design. Our maps have most everything you really need to do the route but a written description of the route can be found in Fred Beckey’s Cascade Alpine Guide – Stevens Pass to Rainy Pass (the green guidebook). This traverse was initially completed in 1938 by four members or the Ptarmigan Climbing Club, who took 13 days and actually went south to north, from Dome to Cascade Pass. We opted to leave the rainfly off the tent with hopes of seeing stars. The process of roping up, establishing anchors, and belaying ourselves there and back will easily devour 45 minutes. They never published it. We endured the 25,000 feet of elevation change as we hiked end-to-end in three days. It was first done in 1938 by a group from the Ptarmigan Climbing Club and didn’t become popular with mountaineers until much later. 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 is drizzly at the RS, reportedly wet at Cascade Pass. Ptarmigan Traverse 34.7 mi 55.8 km • 11,003' Up 3353.7 m Up • 13,119' Down 3998.56 m Down. We wanted to bring a lightweight stove that could boil water quickly and melt snow in a pinch. The Ptarmigan Traverse is a high elevation route in the North Cascade Range of Washington State. We woke at first light, our bags damp from morning dew. A longtime fanboy of Osprey packs, I recently got my hands on its new Mutant 38 for some stout alpine objectives. Moving from Cache Col to Kool-Aid Lake we slide through a world shrouded in Visqueen. The Ptarmigan Traverse requires experience at off-trail wilderness navigation and glacier travel. How much slower will we be? Time needed. The Ptarmigan Traverse is perhaps the most famous mountaineering traverse in the lower 48. Your email address will not be published. For us that makes the true summit an hour too far. We make the 2-mile, downhill traverse to Yang Yang Lakes on rockets. The Ptarmigan Traverse is a classic alpine style climbing expedition.
2020 ptarmigan traverse gear list