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Adventure.Rocks

Ptarmigan Traverse

Stacy and Adam did a 5 day trip over the Ptarmigan Traverse crossing 6 glaciers and having an incredible time. 81 photos
July 20, 2020

Monday, July 20



Van broke on the way
20 Jul 2020 - 14:16

Glued things back up and got back under way.

Luckily with electrical tape, super glue and ingenuity we were able to patch it up enough to get going again!

Tuesday, July 21



First selfie!
21 Jul 2020 - 09:22
Working up to Cascade pass
21 Jul 2020 - 09:31
Fiddling with Lenses
21 Jul 2020 - 11:03
Lunch Bench
21 Jul 2020 - 11:51

Still fresh faced and stoked!
The slopes up to Cache Col
21 Jul 2020 - 11:52
Starting up toward Cache Col
21 Jul 2020 - 12:17
Working around to Cache Col
21 Jul 2020 - 12:32
Stacy trucking along
21 Jul 2020 - 13:23

We climbed across a snow field and onto the Cache Glacier, the first glacier of the trip. We carefully traversed under a cornice to find a path up and over cache col.

Climbing under a cornice
21 Jul 2020 - 15:10

The top of cache col had formed a rather large cornice which there was no option but to climb up under.
Rocky weakness allowed us to climb past
21 Jul 2020 - 15:14

We managed to 4th class scrambling to get up and around the cornice on Cache Col
Looking at the Middle Cascade Glacier from Cache Col
21 Jul 2020 - 15:25

This is the glacier we would climb on Day 2
Looking at our path for Day 2
21 Jul 2020 - 15:25

This is our route up the Middle Cascade Glacier. Staying climbers left to avoid the major crevasse activity.
Stacy arriving atop Cache Col
21 Jul 2020 - 15:25

The short rock scramble was actually kinda gnarly. Extremely crumbly and unstable.
Working toward Koolaid Lake
21 Jul 2020 - 15:42

By late afternoon we were in camp enjoying pizza and scouting out our route for day 2.

Cold Pizza is best Pizza
21 Jul 2020 - 17:41

At camp for Day 1

Wednesday, July 22



Red Ledges
22 Jul 2020 - 09:19
Red Ledges path annotated
22 Jul 2020 - 09:19

A lot of the route looked improbable from a distance

Adam working up to Red Ledges
22 Jul 2020 - 09:40
Stacy on rotten snow at Red Ledges
22 Jul 2020 - 09:52
Stacy on Red Ledges
22 Jul 2020 - 09:57

But there was always a way through! This gave us a view of our next Glacier: Middle Cascade

Working towards Middle Cascade Glacier
22 Jul 2020 - 10:10
Selfie on Middle Cascade Glacier
22 Jul 2020 - 12:23
Stacy leading up the Middle Cascade Glacier
22 Jul 2020 - 12:24
Crevasses on Middle Cascade Glacier
22 Jul 2020 - 12:47
Crevasses on Middle Cascade Glacier
22 Jul 2020 - 12:47
Adam on Middle Cascade Glacier
22 Jul 2020 - 12:54
Crevasses on Middle Cascade Glacier
22 Jul 2020 - 13:04

After 800+' of roped travel climbing up the glacier we reached Spider-Formidable Col. This narrow notch separates Spider Mtn and Mt. Formidable.

Decent from Middle Cascade Glacier
22 Jul 2020 - 13:26
Adam contouring around to YingYang lakes
22 Jul 2020 - 15:02
Looking at our path for Day 3
22 Jul 2020 - 15:24

Traversing around until we ascend the Leconte Glacier
Snow field down to Ying Yang Lakes
22 Jul 2020 - 15:24

LeConte Glacier in the distance which is our objective for Day 3

Finally we descended from the glacier to a pristine alpine lake to make camp for the night.

Meadowns heading down to Ying Yang Lakes
22 Jul 2020 - 15:52
Adam at YingYang Lake
22 Jul 2020 - 15:59
Ying Yang Lakes
22 Jul 2020 - 16:52

Thursday, July 23



Selfie at YingYang Lakes
23 Jul 2020 - 08:50

To gain the ridge and start the day, we first had to ascend a steep, snow covered talus field and scramble up loose third class terrain.

Elevation gain first thing in the morning
23 Jul 2020 - 09:13
Stacy ascending to the ridge line
23 Jul 2020 - 09:29
3rd class rock to the ridge
23 Jul 2020 - 10:10
3rd class rock to the ridge
23 Jul 2020 - 10:11

After ascending the snow field, we walked along this broad ridge line with sweeping views of the surrounding valleys.

Meadow on a ridge line
23 Jul 2020 - 10:21
Meadow on a ridge line
23 Jul 2020 - 10:24
Mountain flowers
23 Jul 2020 - 10:46

After descending from the ridge, we found a sunny, dry spot to rope up for the upcoming Le Conte glacier and looked back at the terrain we had covered the day before.

Adam Kiwi Coiling
23 Jul 2020 - 11:49
Adam approaching LeConte Glacier
23 Jul 2020 - 12:42
Seracs on LeConte Glacier
23 Jul 2020 - 12:55
Looking back at the Day 2 route
23 Jul 2020 - 12:59

Descent from Middle Cascade Glacier toward Ying Yang Lakes
Looking back at our path from Day 2
23 Jul 2020 - 12:59

After descending from Middle Cascade Glacier, we contoured around to YingYang Lakes.

We acscended 900+' up Le Conte glacier, navigating our way between crevasses and seracs.

Stacy descending some steep snow
23 Jul 2020 - 13:04
Fuel for the climb!
23 Jul 2020 - 13:26
Selfie on LeConte Glacier
23 Jul 2020 - 13:58
Working up LeConte Glacier
23 Jul 2020 - 14:15
Lunch atop Mt LeConte
23 Jul 2020 - 14:50

There were some pretty sweet bivy spots with wind block walls here. But we were heading to White Rock Lakes for our bivy.

After a hard slog up Le Conte glacier, we reached the top of Le Conte Mtn. We took a quick lunch break before descending down to South Cascade Glacier, one of 4 "benchmark" glaciers used to study climate change in the U.S.

South Cascade Glacier below us
23 Jul 2020 - 15:27
South Cascade Glacier
23 Jul 2020 - 16:03

We now had to descent to and cross the glacier.
A weird thing
23 Jul 2020 - 16:03

A weather station maybe?

As we traveled across South Cascade glacier, we marveled at the flow lines on the broad expanse of snow and ice beneath our feet. Next up was a steep descent to camp at White Rocks Lake.

Adam lookind down on South Cascade Glacier
23 Jul 2020 - 16:12

We had to descend a couple hundred feed and then cross it to a small pass in the distance there.
Looking down toward White Rock Lakes
23 Jul 2020 - 16:30
Descending steep snow to White Rock Lakes
23 Jul 2020 - 16:59
Our incorrect route down to White Rock Lakes
23 Jul 2020 - 17:33

This snow was much steeper than if we had gone climbers left of that line.
We picked the wrong route
23 Jul 2020 - 17:33

We descended the center snow line, but the climbers left snow line was much gentler. It was our only real navigational error of the trip though.
Adam filtering water
23 Jul 2020 - 18:08

When we arrived at camp at White Rock Lakes we saw other people for the first time in days! This alpine setting was absolutely gorgeous, but the wind was whipping through this valley and we could feel the temps dropping quickly.

Wind block at White Rock Lake
23 Jul 2020 - 18:27
This tree was a great wind block
23 Jul 2020 - 18:27

White rock lakes was crazy windy at all times, so you had to bivy behind some sort of wind block, this tree actually worked really well.
White Rocks Lake
23 Jul 2020 - 18:31

Friday, July 24



After a very cold and wet night, we woke up in the rain. No time to dry our gear, just had to pack it and go. Stacy's lip had some weird reaction to the sunscreen yesterday and was comically large.

Glacier selfie
24 Jul 2020 - 08:59
Looking up the Dana Glacier
24 Jul 2020 - 11:31

Obvious avalanche derbies on our path up
Our path up the Dana Glacier
24 Jul 2020 - 11:31

This morning was a low point for morale. Starting to feel the days of physical exertion, poor weather, and an intimidating glacier ahead of us.

Stacy on Dana Glacier
24 Jul 2020 - 13:10
Clouds on the glacier
24 Jul 2020 - 13:38

We climbed into clouds and met another rope team high on the glacier.

After a very long day in bad weather, we climbed out of the last valley and emerged into the sun. It was glorious.

Stacy basking in the sun
24 Jul 2020 - 16:53
Dryig our gear out after a wet night and day
24 Jul 2020 - 17:02
The billowing clouds behind us
24 Jul 2020 - 17:24

The valley was persistently socked in with fog and clouds. We managed to climb out of it just before stopping for the night.

Saturday, July 25



Our last day was all down hill, should have been easy... Instead it was the worst bushwhacking we've ever done!

Starting Day 5
25 Jul 2020 - 08:45
Bushwhack
25 Jul 2020 - 09:34

Adam is only 10 feet ahead
Our friends Shwacking
25 Jul 2020 - 10:02

But along the way we found our glacier friends from yesterday!

The very obvious trail...
25 Jul 2020 - 10:52
Stacy in the shwack
25 Jul 2020 - 11:02
River Crossing
25 Jul 2020 - 12:20
The trail out of the mountains
25 Jul 2020 - 12:49

After 5 days of hard slogging, we were finally getting pretty tired which made this a long day.

Final selfie!
25 Jul 2020 - 14:59

Parking lot!