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JasonG

best of cc.com [TR] Dome and the Lizard - Ptarmigan (Ptarmithumb) Traverse 07/22/2022

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Trip: Dome and the Lizard - Ptarmigan (Ptarmithumb) Traverse

Trip Date: 07/22/2022

Trip Report:

Ah, the classic Ptarmigan....is there a finer high traverse in the Cascades?  After 25ish year of rambling around the range I'm not sure there is a more scenic and pleasant high route.  And so, after a 19 year hiatus it was time to return with none other than @Juan Sharp.  My thumb was still broken with a pin, but no matter, we would take it easy over 6 days and savor the experience.  There is probably too much already written about this particular trip, but I will say that it is worth repeat visits, if only to camp in the places you wished you had camped the first time!  And, amazingly enough, the traverse was much quieter than I had it in 2003.  Probably "closures" on both ends had something to do with that (check notes below for additional beta). 

High points, for us, included perfect weather, good snow conditions, few bugs, an evening visit from a couple curious goats, ethereal marine layer mists from White Rock Lakes, Northern lights from the Dome/Dana Glacier col, solos of Dome and the Lizard (for me), sunrise/sunset on Dakobed, and a surprise visit from @jenny.abegg and partner who were mountain running from Canada to Stehekin, along the crest, in ONE WEEK.  They covered in A DAY, what took us 4 days!  To say we were amazed would be an understatement.  I can't wait to see the movie made by the film crew running along with them for a couple sections.  Low points would be the brush of Bachelor and Downey Creeks, but there is always a price of admission to the glory of the North Cascades parklands.  I'll be back, but I won't wait as long next time!

Heading up the closed cascade river road:

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@Juan Sharp below Mixup on the way to Cache col:

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Formidable:

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Camp 1 with a good view of the NF of Spider:

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Traversing over to Middle Cascade Gl:

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Passing thru Spider/Formidable col, Old Guard and LeConte in the middle:

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Climbing up above Yang Yang Lakes:

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Camp 2:

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Formidable at sunrise:

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Heading out on Day 3:

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Traversing to LeConte Gl.:

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South Cascade Gl.:

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The majestic north side of Sinister/Dome and the Chickamin Gl.:

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Camp 3 at White Rock Lakes:

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NF of Sinister and the Chickamin:

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Elephant Head and Dome from WRL:

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The aptly named Elephant Head:

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Agnes!

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Snout of the Dana:

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The German Helmet lost in the mists to the right of @Juan Sharp:

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Summit ridge of Dome:

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Hydramatic Spire:

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Camp 4, North Cascades style:

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@jenny.abegg and crew heading towards the Chickamin one evening:

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Dakobed from Camp 4:

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Surprise aurora borealis one night....it didn't look like this to the naked eye, 25 sec. exposure.

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Heading toward Itswoot ridge on day 5:

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Dome and @Juan Sharp:

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Sussing out the way to Cub lake from Itswoot ridge:

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False hellebore:

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Getting to the fun part in Bachelor Creek:

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@Juan Sharp crossing Bachelor Creek after doing battle with the worst of it.  Note the bloody shins:

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The Bachelor Creek trail has sustained significant damage from slides this past winter:

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Camp 5, on the banks of Downey Creek:

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We're not in Colorado any more!

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Thru the burn at the end of the Downey Creek trail:

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Gear Notes:
30m rope, glacier gear, helmet, ice axe, crampons

Approach Notes:
Cascade River Road closed at Eldorado. Bachelor/Downey creek trails officially "closed" but in decent shape, esp. thru the burn. Bachelor Creek trail in good shape above 4500'. Cross Bachelor Creek at the alternate 4500' crossing. Flagged from there down to old log across Bachelor Creek at 4100'. Lots of blowdown in Lower Bachelor Creek and upper Downey Creek trails. Much bear sign.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Snaffled 1
  • Rawk on! 5

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Jason consistently produces the best images on this website. Great trip guys! When you nail the weather, bug, and snow condition window on that traverse you certainly win the trifecta.

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Great photos as usual!  What kind of tent is that the 3rd to last photo?

  • Smells bad 1

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Holy smokes, @JasonG—nice work. Those are some seriously fine photos, and it was super fun to connect that Sunday morning. Such a small world! I haven't popped into CC in a very long time, but this was a great TR to step back in for! Hope to cross paths again out there sometime with both you and @Juan Sharp...

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Thanks for the kind words @cfire, it certainly helps that I'm competing with you! :wink:

And yes @setnei, small world indeed- it was great running into you guys out there.  You should do up a TR from your adventure and all the great images you captured!

@Bronco, that tent is one of a kind, not for sale.

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The cool kids leave the tent poles at home.  Or, maybe somewhere along the route, as the case may be. 

  • LMAO 2

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Posted (edited)

Beautiful photos as always, @JasonG! I've been avoiding that closure and I'm wondering how you guys decided to say to hell with it? And the trailhead is closed too, right? So...extra road walking at the end, or ?

Edited by Alisse

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Inspiring pictures as usual @JasonG  !      What a fine time.  Thank you.

  • Thanks 1

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1 hour ago, Alisse said:

I'm wondering how you guys decided to say to hell with it? And the trailhead is closed too, right? So...extra road walking at the end, or ?

Well, we're old and crotchety, and like the Freedom of the Hills..... so we only heed closures if it is actively on fire. I suspect that the USFS is merely covering their liability bases, post-fire.

The Suiattle road is closed within a hundred yards of the Downey Creek trail so not much extra walking on the south end.  The north end has gotten trickier this week since NPS says that it is "closed" unless you have overnight permit in the park (or that is what they said last week).  No idea of how hard they are enforcing it.

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Was trying to embed a hyperlapse, but I am not smart enough.

 

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6 hours ago, kmfoerster said:

Im going to start a petition to get Jason to publish a coffee table book. 

Yes.

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Fantastic Trip Report & Pictures! 

It chaps my ass to hear all the effort the NPS is putting in to keep people from using the forests that they pay for with their taxes, as well as pay the salaries of the NPS staff.  Then they still put their hand in your face and demand more money and more concessions, it's ridiculous.  We need more of that crotchety old man F Off energy!

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10 hours ago, Kuato said:

Fantastic Trip Report & Pictures! 

It chaps my ass to hear all the effort the NPS is putting in to keep people from using the forests that they pay for with their taxes, as well as pay the salaries of the NPS staff.  Then they still put their hand in your face and demand more money and more concessions, it's ridiculous.  We need more of that crotchety old man F Off energy!

I hear you, but they are using your tax dollars to repair the road to Cascade Pass TH.

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OK....added captions.

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