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Ptarmigan Traverse
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Chris Kannen
(cmkannen) - MLife

Locale: K-T Boundary
Ptarmigan Traverse on 05/18/2009 10:50:00 MDT Print View

Curious if anyone here has done the Ptarmigan Traverse and if so, in how many days, and what was your gear list?

Charles Grier
(Rincon) - M

Locale: Desert Southwest
Ptarmigan Traverse on 05/18/2009 14:02:30 MDT Print View

I did the Ptarmigan Traverse in 1970 with two other climbers. We climbed the major peaks along the traverse including Gunsight (or Blue Pk.) and finished up by climbing Glacier Peak and coming out via the Sitkum Glacier route. We spent about two weeks enroute. With climbing gear and the necessary food, our packs were about 70 pounds as we climbed towards Cache Col and were about 40+ pounds when my wife met us at the exit trailhead. I don't think that a 1970 gear list would be particularly relevant nearly 40 years later but I probably could remember most of what we took. PM me if you are curious.

I think most climbers now consider the Ptarmigan Traverse to be that stretch between Cascade Pass and Dome Peak/Spire Point and exit the route via Downey Creek. The original traverse, however, was between Cascade Pass and Glacier Peak. My major professor when I was a graduate student was a member of the second party to make the traverse in the early 50's. They did not go all the way to Glacier Peak. IIRC, they came out via Sulfur Creek and had to work their way through a lot of blow-down and avalanche debris. From what I have heard, there is nearly a trail through most of the non-ice and snow parts of the Ptarmigan Traverse now.

Edited by Rincon on 05/18/2009 16:51:23 MDT.

Scott Ogden
(Oggie) - F

Locale: The Real Washington
Local knowledge on 05/22/2009 10:43:34 MDT Print View

Best knowledge about this will come from the active boards for the cascades.

Here is a Trip Report:

The posters there are super helpful and you can ask any questions about gear/route.

Also, will have good information.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
ptarmigan on 07/13/2009 17:16:40 MDT Print View

When do you want to go? Are you interested in the southern starting point or the northern? Are you wanting to climb anything while your up there?
I would recommend doing it N to S and plan on nearly a week. The record is slightly less then 24 hours I think.
You will need a wilderness permit and you will have to have a detailed plan of your camps; the snow is just coming off now with Cascade Pass being snow free, I spent last weekend on Sahale. If it hasn't been mentioned and are great resources, read Beckey's book. A basic mountaineering course is essential,plan on a standard mountaineering spread of gaiters, ice axe, crampons, rope, your preference for crevasse rescue and lightened pro, poles are helpful. This is not the place to try trail runners with aluminum crampons. The goats have been known to nibble salty pack straps left unattended.
The flies were bad down low.early season view

Klas Eklof
(klaseklof) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Ptarmigan Traverse on 08/06/2009 11:45:44 MDT Print View

nice report here on the recent speed record trip: