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Questions about Ptarmigan Ridge

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In the past I have approached Ptarmigan Ridge by way of Mowich Lake and Spray Park. The road typically remains gated at Paul Peak until August so the approach is pretty long. Plus you would have to descend the route or park another car at Paradise if you wanted to descend the DC route.

 

Is it feasible to approach via White River allowing a descent of the Emmons? Has anyone done this? Any coments on length or difficulty?

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I dunno. It seemed really feasable last time I was in the area. I think if you traversed along around 7500, then maybe climbed through the mini icefall on the west side of the Carbon it could go. Anyhow, that's how I've been planning to hit T.R.

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Actually, it looks like a pretty much strait shot. I think that icefall starts around 8000. In the pic, the curtis ridge camp is on the right of the carbon where a tiny little broken section is. Looks like you could just traverse over to the slopes of the ptarmagin. this shot is from mid-June.

 

philsteep.JPG

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There is always the Ipsut Creek approach, lots of elevation gain but not too many extra miles, or even a long traverse from the West Side road. I've read one TR of a Mowich Face climb where they came in from the west, took 2 days to get to high camp, but sounded like they had a good time.

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Doing Ptarmigan Ridge in June I belevie to be a bit early I did it in the middle of July which allowed the ice to settle up better. In June you are probably going to a snow route with some ice. That presents a problem of getting across the carbon and I doubt it would be worth your effort.

If you do Ptarmigain ridge a few things to keep in mind.. Mike and Nelsons book are off... The elevation of the rock buttress is at 11,500 not 12500. I went to the right the ice was great and the 5.8 rock was not that hard and it was good rock. So Hope this helps

 

Dave

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I've been into Ptarmigan from Mowich lake and Ipsut and Liberty from St Elmo pass (the carbon is never all that fun) and Mowich.

 

I prefer Mowich if you get to the lake in a car but I also like to go down thorough Muir which is a PIA logistically. Nice traverse though. I think the better way is come in over St Elmo and Curtis at around pt. 7783 (carbon not with standing) and go down through Sherman.

 

If nothing else you don't have to stress about the ride back. I also believe st elmo is shorter than the other two. But you miss the heather parks and have some big holes you'll want to miss.

 

The other though I have had is wait till Mowich is open and then go down close to Sherman and take a hard left and cross back over Curtis and back to Spray Park...that would be an adventure smile.gif

Edited by Dane

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Ptarmigan Ridge is high on the tick list and I've been recently discussing the logistics of the climb with my climbing parters. Our consensus.....

 

Early season:

Approach via WR during the early season when driving to Mowich lake is not possible. Conditions crossing the Carbon would be much better than later in the summer. Only one vehicle is needed. It might take two days to get to 10,300' bivy spot.

 

Mid/Late Season:

Start at Mowich lake and leave a second vehicle at WR.

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What year were those pics taken? It's possible with 2 fairly lousy snow years in a row stuff could get broken more and quicker.

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Last summer the gate at Mowich didn't open until the weekend AFTER the 4th of July weekend, even though the road to the lake had been snow-free for quite a while! Grrrr! Never did hear a rational explanation. Hope it's different this summer; it's nice to drive to 5,000'. But, even if the gate is still closed, it's only about four miles from the gate to the lake, taking the shortcuts. I would think that it would still be better than other options, except for the transportation issue.

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Road life is supposedley improved when the grade is allowed to dry out for a couple of weeks after the snow has melted off. This is also practiced in Oregon on the road to Cloudcap, I believe.

 

I was pissed off (too) a few years ago when I biked past the Paul Peak gate on Mowich Lake road and found one small patch of snow the entire way to the lake. I honestly don't know if this whole line of reasoning is a management ploy to 'limit human impact'- or a legitimate course of action, but it does seem to make some sense.

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I know it's a PIA. But the Mowich seems the most logical and I don't know why you have to wait....take a bike with a trailer.

 

Park your car at the Paul Peak trailhead.

Ride your bikes as far as you can ride the bikes up. (End of June you can get to the lake.)

Climb.

Come down Tahoma Glacier or other side and have somebody pick you up.

Get your butt back to Mowich lake by either walking Wonderland trail (base of Tahoma Glacier).

Or have friend who picks you up on other side, borrow his bike with a Burley trailer, and ride it to Mowich Lake to pick up your buddy(ies) bikes.

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I have a friend who went up about a month ago (he didn't top out); he doesn't post on this board though. What questions do you have and I can pass them on.

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Road life is supposedley improved when the grade is allowed to dry out for a couple of weeks after the snow has melted off. This is also practiced in Oregon on the road to Cloudcap, I believe.

 

The road to cloud cap is not paved. Since it rains all the time here anyway I can't see how letting it dry after snow melt could possibly affect its lifespan.

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rbw1966, Mowich lake road prob sees alot more traffic.

 

Wet + unpaved + steep == bad washboards. In the summer it doesnt rain much even on Rainier, so it seems like a reasonable plan

Edited by Alex

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A direct reply to your original question. Hell Yes!! I have done the approach from WR to Ptarmigan H.C. twice. Once mid June and once mid July. Neither time was crossing the Carbon a major issue tho of course July was much more broken. It makes great sense when Mowich is closed. PM me if you want a more detailed description.

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