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Ptarmigan Traverse - Very Late Season

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Does anyone have experience doing the Ptarmigan Traverse in late September/early October? Thinking about going out in the first week of October but cannot find any reports out there for that late. 

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Never heard of anyone doing it that late, but here are some thoughts....

It will vary a lot year to year, based on how much fresh snow is in the hills.  Typically with the short days, broken glaciers, and extensive talus, people shift to more trailed destinations during that week.  But, no bugs in Bachelor creek and no crowds!  Chances are the weather won't be bomber though....

 

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Just got back from the Ptarmigan Traverse yesterday.  A couple notes....the route onto the Le Conte Glacier was already 35-40 degree ice for 30 feet.  I am guessing that will be a lot more by October.  But the good news is we didn't see or cross any sketchy snow bridges.  Overall the glaciers were in great shape and very easy to navigate.  Even the exposed ice I mentioned before was easy especially if you have any ice climbing experience.  

If I were wanting to go in October I would be watching the weather from now until then.  That way you will know what to expect in terms of changing conditions.  For instance if they get an early snow in September that could make the red ledges much more time consuming and harder.  Cal Topo has a weekly high imagery satelite photo that is very useful in terms of seeing snow levels.  It won't tell you whether it is covered by 2 inches or 2 feet but you could see a recent snow made everything white above say 6000 ft.  

Let me know if you have any other specific route questions or need any beta for the trip.  It is amazing!!

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I did most of it in mid-September awhile back and it was really beautiful and empty. Aside from the long nights, the worst thing was having to put on the crampons for every little patch of snow. If you get lucky on the weather, it would be super memorable! 

IMG_0665.JPG

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I've done it in September and it was a fine time. I think biggest problem with Oct will weather-related, as the Pacific High might break  down by then and the storms start rolling in (bringing the skiing..!). The meat of the trip really is mostly above treeline so trying to figure stuff out without any visibility somewhere between Cascade Pass and Cub Lake will make for a bad trip. 

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Good point!  Also, the Downy Creek trail has been burned over and is still smoking.  Will be spicy/filthy for some time, likely years.  Those burns can be spooky, esp. in wind.

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7 hours ago, JasonG said:

Good point!  Also, the Downy Creek trail has been burned over and is still smoking.  Will be spicy/filthy for some time, likely years.  Those burns can be spooky, esp. in wind.

Not to mention... "closed". :) I'd bet it stays officially closed through the winter.

Agencies are ratcheting up their closures "for public safety". 

 

But the ninja does not care. the ninja is only concerned with the flow. 

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13 hours ago, max said:

Not to mention... "closed".

Right.  That. :lmao:

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On 9/18/2020 at 8:15 AM, JasonG said:

Right.  That. :lmao:

 

 

sorry about the language. I'm just passionate about brushy trails.

 

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