DIFFICULT 1.6 mi. Cascade Pass Road. Trip Report By. After a dayhike to Cascade Pass with Collin and a tedious vehicle shuttle, we camped at Marble Creek on the Cascade River (note if you reserve a spot during a weekend, you have to pay for two days). Nearby Hiking Trails. Ptarmigan Traverse I hiked the Ptarmigan Traverse July 16-21, 2006 with my dad Peter, Don Myers, Don and Heidi Dimmitt, Dave Mann, and Collin Vansandt. At this time the Suiattle Road is blocked because of the washout,so no parking permit is required there either. W of that right-angle bend where the Cascade River road branches off.) This is a multi-day alpine ridge traverse off trail which takes 4-8 days depending on the desired intensity and amount of summit climbs/rock climbs you do. (Summer 2010 update: Winter storms have washed out sections of the Suittale River road. When we finally reached the Suiattle River road at the end, we still had 6 miles of road to walk due to a washout, so I dug my shoes out of my pack to walk the road in comfort. But they are also known by various names and compass directions, such as “West Portal” or “The Portals South” or “Portals East Peak”. Gary Paull, local champion of public lands, will share photos and stories from his adventures on the Ptarmigan. You can improve or add to this guidebook entry, Washington Trails Association We did the Traverse from North to South. If it hasn't been mentioned summitpost.org and wta.org are great resources, read Beckey's book. How and when you accomplish it is entirely up to you and your partners. (40), Additions & Corrections As all PNW climbers do, Rich and I have always talked about skiing or climbing on the classic Washington mountaineering route, the Ptarmigan Traverse. A map of the route is here, which is taken Lowell Skoog. Crest over a ridge then drop 200 feet (now lower than the parking lot), to pass below a rugged rock face, then reattain the ridge on the far side.Contour below the ridge top on the southeast side, climbing gently for half a mile, through a talus slope that often holds snow late into the season. One trip here, though, and you may rightfully conclude that it is a spectacular destination in its own right. It sometimes washes out a mile short of the end. The Ptarmigan Traverse begins by hiking the Cascade Pass Trail. The first one is interesting enough, the 2nd one no longer exists (404 error). The Ptarmigan Traverse is very popular, and thus there is a well defined trail through the heather sections. We ascending WNW to the ridge crest and found it vary difficult to "walk" the ridge crest south. Ken Giesbers. 2. The Ptarmigan Traverse is a challenging, off-trail route in the North Cascades of Washington State. And hey - you just came back from one of the world's beautiful places - got any pics? Because you can't use the trailhead parking, the Forest Service does not require a parking permit at this time. 5 years ago “The dude from Wyoming says hi” these were the best words we heard all day. Two days after returning from an awesome Bugaboo/Selkirks trip with Robert and Mark, I was driving behind Theron as we set up our car shuttle for the Ptarmigan Traverse. Parking: Every entrance or exit point where you might park a car is on either National Forest or National Park land. Ptarmigan Traverse Picture Show with Gary Paull and Lowell Skoog. For example, the Weather permitting, Coleman Pinnacle and Mount Baker dominate the view to the west. Each stage is treated like a route on other SP pages; access them by clicking the links under the Routes heading in the left sidebar, or in the table below. All Rights Reserved. Your best option is drop down to the wide gravel bank on Downey Creek. The Cascade Pass Trail (N start) is in the National Park, where no pass is required to park. Marmots, like deer, are strict vegetarians. We dropped off my car at the Downey Creek trailhead, … [Normally Essential gear is listed for individual routes, but since all these routes are stages of one trek, we can spell it out just once.] © 2006-2020 SummitPost.org. Download our gpx tracks here, from my Strava: Cascade Pass to Yang Yang Lakes (Day 1) Yang Yang Lakes to Cub Lake (Day 2) Cub Lake to Downey Creek TH (Day 3) Technical gear: Ice axe; Crampons and mountaineering boots (trail runners + Leopards would have … Subscribe to our free email newsletter for hiking events, news, gear reviews and more. After fully recharged, make the long hike back out . Seattle, WA 98104. Ants climbing Sahale. 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 … Distance: Roughly 35 miles; Elevation Gain: No idea. Ptarmigan Traverse is an alpine climbing route in the North Cascades of Washington State. After a two-and-a-half day journey to the foot of the LeConte Glacier we were greeted by an insurmountable ice cliff on the broken lower glacier blocking our passage to the second half of the route. Shuksan No. (If you're driving up SR 20 from the west, you'll just go straight where the highway turns sharply left.) Hike the trail about 6 miles to 6-Mile Camp. It is drizzly at the RS, reportedly wet at Cascade Pass. The stages, as I've divided them, run from N to S: Climbers on the Ptarmigan find themselves choosing from these summits: Dome, Sinister, and Gunsight are beyond the S end of the PT, but are so tempting they're often climbed as part of a Ptarmigan trip. Home » Hike/Climb » Mountaineering in ... thinking how lucky I was to see a ptarmigan on the Ptarmigan Traverse, and not realizing the encounter would be the first of an extraordinarily animal-rich journey. I hope this will spur SP members to add more. Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. The Ptarmigan Traverse (or “PT”) is a week-long, off-trail high route weaving between those glaciated peaks. Ptarmigan Traverse You want beauty, remoteness, challenge, and reward — look no further This majestic summer alpine traverse, considered the best in the Cascade Range, is the oldest and most famous high route in the Pacific Northwest. I like to also carry large-area, small-scale maps to help identify distant peaks or to facilitate an emergency exit down an alternate valley. "There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing." We are concentrating on logging out the trail and doing any brushing and tread repair we find along the way. Mount Baker from the Ptarmigan Ridge trail. Go straight to start on the Ptarmigan Ridge trail. At 4.5 miles and 5970 feet is a plateau suitable for camping, and what maps show as the end of the trail.Beyond the plateau, a primitive boot trail continues up the rocky hill: East Peak (also known as The Portals East). Thanks. I never wore them. Ptarmigan Ski Traverse. Home » Hike/Climb » Mountaineering in ... thinking how lucky I was to see a ptarmigan on the Ptarmigan Traverse, and not realizing the encounter would be the first of an extraordinarily animal-rich journey. Day 3 – Sunday, July 5 Ptarmigan Traverse Northbound (10.1 miles + 2 miles of road walk) My only defense is that it's been ages since I was there, and nobody else has pointed out the inaccuracy. But hidden within a fortress of mountains lied a handful of surprises. Their name comes from the Ptarmigan, a small chicken-like bird that lives in the Alpine. Nowadays, many groups tackle the traverse every summer. Barring any roadblocks, the Traverse will take us almost a week—six days and five nights. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. The Ptarmigan Traverse is a classic alpine style climbing expedition. Washington Trails Association is 501(c)(3) nonprofit. In July or August you might travel in shorts under clear skies, but come prepared for drenching rain, wind, fog, or snow flurries. We didn’t think twice about what it would be, we knew exactly what we wanted. At our camp S of Spider-Formidable Col we were pestered by a group of 6 or seven bucks. Be prepared to tell where you intend to camp each night. It leaves the highway 0.9 mi. Soak your feet, watch for dippers and enjoy the surrounding wilderness. drive S up the Sauk Valley road about 10 miles to the Suiattle (pronounced like Seattle, but with an “ooh” sound between the S and the E) River road and turn left. While the Ptarmigan Traverse is a wonderful hike, the peaks along the way are a large part of why people go in the first place. Go Hiking Trip Reports Cascade Pass,Downey Creek #768,Ptarmigan Traverse. 705 2nd Ave, Suite 300 At 2.9 miles, crest over the ridge at 5630 feet and change directions from southeast to due west. There are alternatives to these camps to allow for more time spent climbing, shorter or longer stages, or other situations. 14 map. There's a hump on the ridge (point 7004) that is very difficult to get around. Ptarmigan Traverse, Aug 14-16, 2020. Beckey's guide describes 2 or 3 times as many peaks (and little towers) as are named on the USGS maps, and includes perhaps the only guidebook decription of the PT itself, though it's buried in the “Trails and Alpine Hiking Approaches” section. So why is it listed as a mountain/rock? 13 map, Buy the Green Trails Mt. The Ptarmigan Traverse is perhaps the most famous mountaineering traverse in the lower 48. Each hiker must decide where their stopping point is, before returning the way them came.Note: The term “The Portals” is used to identify the rock formations flanking the climbers’ route. There are milage signs every mile on the road. They fill your entire browser window; 2. We followed the route description in Stage 3 out of Yang Yang Lakes and found it inaccurate. I met Kurt in Darrington and we drove around to the southern trail head to drop his vehicle and camp for the night. I spent last weekend on Sahale. The soil in this section of the Cascades is so devoid of salt, they'll do anything for a taste of it. Ptarmigan Traverse Southbound (12.7 miles + 2 miles of road walk) Night 1 – Le Conte-Sentinel Col. Day 2 – Saturday, July 4 Sentinel Peak + Old Guard Peak (3 miles) Ptarmigan Traverse Northbound (2.8 miles) Night 2 – Yang Yang Lakes. I loved that the route offered the opportunity see miles of North Cascade wilderness from a high perch. Overview of Ptarmigan Traverse with All Major Peaks. George Momany carries climbing gear and food for five days during his trek on the Ptarmigan Traverse route in … Pick up your permit at the Wilderness Information Center in Marblemount. Day 3 – Sunday, July 5 Ptarmigan Traverse Northbound (10.1 miles + 2 miles of road walk) Day 1. Ptarmigan Mountains Climbing Trip & Ptarmigan Traverse: Cascade River to Suiattle River. 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. If you found anything else I messed up or that's changed, let us know. Info COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. The traverse is usually completed in about a week, most commonly in July or August, and usually done from north to south. Going uphill with a pack full of climbing gear and a week's food is... well, you get the idea. The views here are fantastic, making this a popular resting spot and the destination for many day hikers.To the south is beautiful green Goat Lake. They'll probably give you wide berth. Here too the long abandoned Bachelor Creek Trail heads straight uphill to the Ptarmigan Traverse. It owes its dryness to the Cascades: moisture-laden winds off the Pacific can't climb over the Cascades without losing most of that moisture. This page shows some of my photos from our 2003 family adventure. Discover (and save!) Sun., Oct. 27, 2013. This is not the Pacific Crest Trail; that's miles away to the East. Your best option is drop down to the wide gravel bank on Downey Creek. The National Park lists road conditions here. Ptarmigan Traverse from North End: Ptarmigan Traverse from South End: Jump to DAY 1 • DAY 1 (July 14): Hike 9 miles along Suiattle River Road (due to washout), and then 6 more miles along Downey Creek trail to camp at intersection of Downey Creek and Bachelor Creek. It's discussed in Beckey and you can see it from below. 5. Apparently Marblemount is the only place accessible by road where you can obtain your Backcountry Permit in the summer, even if you're starting from the South. Ptarmigan Traverse 1999. Ptarmigan Traverse ~ 5 days on Cascade Glaciers Eighty years ago, a group of four hardy souls from the Ptarmigan Climbing Club (Bill Cox, Calder Bressler, Ray W. Clough, and Tom Myers) set out to discover what lay south of Cascade Pass, and although they (and many subsequent explorers) found out, words can’t do such a place justice. Monday. Daniel.They are similar in statistics and character, but very different in scenery and remoteness. Reflecting on my plans (which didn’t include any summits), I fancied myself climbing one or two of them somehow, but that wasn’t practical. Email Floris van Breugel | + larger view. The Ptarmigan is not for hikers, so much as for climbers, and experienced ones at that. [Footnote: When I did it in mid-August of 91, I packed running shoes to wear around camp or on dry stretches to give my feet a break from stiff plastic boot. The rewards are the views, the climbs of peaks so remote that this traverse is their most common approach, and the adventure of it all. Less than an hour into our Ptarmigan Traverse Fastest Known Time (FKT) attempt and I was wondering if we had picked the wrong day. There are only a few lakes along the PT; it just happens that they're about a day's hike apart. Although some describe it as a “hike,” it requires ice axe, crampons, ropes, knowledge of glacier travel and rock climbing techniques plus good route-finding skill even if one does not climb any of the summits along the way. Contributions to WTA are tax deductible, and we are committed to making the best use of every donation to our mission. They never published it. The Ptarmigan Traverse is a high elevation route in the North Cascade Range of Washington State. Along the way we climb Mount Formidable, Old Guard, Spire Point, Dome Peak and Dynaflow Tower. The Ptarmigan Traverse in Washington State’s North Cascades has had the word “classic” pinned to it nearly from the time it was pioneered in 1938. No pictures, no written account, nothing. The visible trail shows a continuing gentle ascent.Pass beneath Coleman Pinnacle on slopes that usually retain snow patches late into the season, arriving at a junction 3.8 miles from the trailhead and at 5950 feet. Icing my sore feet part way through the hike out. Look at the map and be humbled. ACME maps work like the Google maps on which they are based, with some important differences: 1. Go straight to start on the Ptarmigan Ridge trail. 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. Continue another 24 miles to the end of SR 542 at Artist Point, elevation 5075 feet. North Cascades. Olya and I just returned from hiking the Ptarmigan Traverse---a six day trek through through the valleys, passes, and ridges of the glaciated North Cascades. Check the weather through the Seattle office of the National Weather Service. Check for current road and trail conditions on these pages from NCNP, MB-SNF, and WNF. 1. Just short of the ridge, I noticed goat scat, so I called to Tom and slung my pack down. The first party to explore the route (in 1938) was a group from the Portland, Oregon Ptarmigan Climbing Club. Saturday - hike out; Monday (To page top) Two days after returning from the awesome Bugaboo/Selkirks trip with Robert and Mark, I was driving behind Theron as we set up our car shuttle for the Ptarmigan Traverse. Print. Cascade Pass Road. Also check out this Backcountry Trip Planner from NCNP. Ptarmigan Traverse The classic and rugged 35+ mile, high alpine traverse from Cascade Pass to the Suiattle River. 20180726_0497. Then it drops slightly over the next half mile, passing nondescript Camp Kiser along the way.You can glimpse The Portals, the prominent rock formations known to climbers of Mount Baker’s northeast side, and access for the Park Glacier climbing route. In winter and early spring snow will add miles to the approach and exit, and avalanche conditions are unlikely to be favorable for more than a few rare days at a time. Rate this Hike ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ... Cub Lake via Ptarmigan Traverse. This site is built by its members, and we welcome you to contribute: A bottle of bug repellent may be your best friend, especially in early season and along the lower-elevation approach and exit trails. ), a thinned-out rack of pro, the Ten Essentials, and everything you need to eat and camp for a week. This is a good page and an important one for Washington State, however it is a route. Pacific Crest Trail section K (Stevens Pass to North Cascades Hwy) DIFFICULT 127.0 mi. Ptarmigan Traverse, WA « Pacific Northwest « The Cascades « Ptarmigan Traverse . Downey Creek . Total elevation gain is moderate, but the mile-high altitude can be a factor if you are not acclimatized.From the northwest corner of the large parking lot at Artist Point, start out on the Chain Lakes Trail. drive S up the Sauk Valley road about 10 miles to the Suiattle, (pronounced like Seattle, but with an “ooh” sound between the S and the E), Routes 2011 Update: Camping in not allowed at or near Cascade Pass, and when you cross through Cache Col toward Kool-Aid Lake, you pass out of the National Park and into Glacier Peak Wilderness Area. If they were rigid you could hug an occasional trunk and swing under it, but slide alder will simply bend and set you down on your back, feet uphill. Note #2: If the team finishes the traverse more quickly than anticipated, the guides will help them to select additional objectives. In Darrington and we drove around to the set of objects that fall... Are no published trips for this hike but even going downhill with an almost-empty pack is hard.! Not require a parking permit at the Bagley Lakes trailhead cutting off vehicle access to this guidebook entry Washington! Kurt in Darrington and we drove around to the lowest spot on the Ptarmigan Traverse, WA « Northwest. To allow for more time spent climbing, shorter or longer stages, or other conditions. Cascades Ptarmigan. Climbs quickly to 6100 feet details in the lower 48 ascends up the a rib that is of! Coming all this way page with pics shuttle car at the wilderness back in again to a washout was annoyance... Downey Mtn larger category under which an object falls parking lot for the start of would! Route description in Stage 3 out of Yang Yang Lakes and found it inaccurate way we climb Mount,! – ptarmigan traverse wta, July 5 Ptarmigan Traverse is an alpine climbing route in the North Cascades National Park where. Though the PT is obviously a route experience ( depending on snow ). 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