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Alex

Ptarmigan Traverse in 2 days?

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so not climbing the peaks is not actually doing THE ptarmigan traverse. just hiking it is more like hiking up the back side of half dome. so they did a nice long traversing hike and not a nice long travering climb.

 

I pretty much feel the same, when someone tells me they "did the Ptarmigan", I always follow-up with "how much of it" ... to me doing the traverse implies following as close as possible the route of the original group and doing some real climbing.

 

Not to detrack from the physical accomplishment and effort of other ............ going light and doing "The Ptarmigan Trek" is very feasible in 24 hrs. Call me anal if you wish

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I think in modern times people have just referred to the Ptarmigan Traverse as the travels with a few summits. It must be understood by most parties attempting this what the original adventure included. While many people do make some sort of trip along similar ground I think some people's definition of the Ptarmigan Traverse is vague.

 

I'd like to check it out some day. bigdrink.gif

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Erik and others,

 

I agree that perhaps the original traverse is far more grand than the glacier and trail trek between these peaks. However, it seems that the vast majority of those who "do" the traverse merely tag a few summits in between their trekking.

 

I was on the traverse last summer and nearly everyone I met had only climbed one or two mountians -- if any at all -- while traveling in this backcountry region.

 

The vast majority of those who have completed this in a day call what they did the Ptarmigan Traverse. I would guess that those who have skied it in a day certainly did not stay on the crest, but followed the somewhat non-technical glacier portions and snow-covered trails.

 

I think the term traverse in and of itself is somewhat undefined regionally. In the Sierras people have very staunch ideas about what a traverse entails. In the Cascades, many will avoid technical difficulties. As a result it feels as if we in the Cascades have two types of traverses which might be defined as technical and non-technical.

 

I believe that it would be quite difficult to repeat what the original Ptarmigan Club did in a day. The vast majority of those who set foot in this area do nothing at all like that which Bill Cox, Ray Clough, Tom Myers, and Calder Bressler did way back in 1938 wearing hob nail boots.

 

Jason

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Daylward's point is well taken. Often it seems to me that there's a lot of downtime between views. In this downtime, I might just look at the trail extending out in front of me...or the ass of the female climber hiking in front of me (in the rare event that is happening for me). The downtime thing is especially true if you are hiking through a boring old forest with absolutely no views.

 

A couple of years back a buddy of mine (Gordon, you out there?) tried to get me to do the PCT from Snoq. to Stevens in one day. It's something like 30 miles. I said it did not interest me, that I wanted to be able to enjoy where I was as opposed to be constantly "on the go". Now, I understand that you still can see a lot even when you're moving at a good clip.

 

Still, though, I prefer the communal approach. Hummm hummmmmmm huuummmmmmmmmmmmm. ooo.gif

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LOL

 

Repeating the original trip in a day is not humanly possible.

 

The four Ptarmigans took 13 days. They climbed Johannesberg, the North Face of Buckner, the Dome peak-to-peak traverse and a soup of other peaks. I believe they didn't carry over at any time, they probably climbed packless. Mostly, their trip consisted of doing a part of the traverse on one day, then climbing adjacent peaks on the next day, then moving on. They did at least two days when they climbed three peaks in a day. Some of those peaks were Spider, Formidable, Magic, I don't really remember exactly. After they reached Cascade Pass and climbed Buckner I think they had been out for nine days and they took another four days to hike back to where they left their car. Harvey Manning wrote an article about their trip a long time ago, which is where I know this from (although I may not be repeating things accurately, because I don't have the article here).

 

When planning a one day repeat, keep in mind that the Ptarmigans themselves had to bivi before getting off of Johannesberg. Also, their exact itinerary has probably not been repeated by anyone, in a day or otherwise. The summer of 1938 was apparently very, very dry, and the Ptarmigans got little rain if any.

 

The "Ptarmigan Traverse" now refers to the hike or ski from Cascade Pass down to the Suiattle River Road. To me, the logical response when somebody says they just did it is, "Wow, good job! How many peaks did you climb?" Or, if you want to be nice you could go for "Wow, did you also climb any peaks?"

 

I want to have at it again next summer or spring, if anybody is interested. I tried last summer with Wayne and some others and we were stormed off by a full-on blizzard after hiking for only half a day. This was on the 4th of July. I'm very impressed by the two guys who jogged it in 15 hours, I'd like to be able to do that myself.

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i still would not say these people did the ptarmigan traverse. the traverse as i read it, includes the mountains and not just the trails. we are definatly debating semantics here, but still being correct and accurate is key.

 

again these peoples one day feats are impressive, but nowhere as impresssive as the original traverse.

 

as an author jason, i would think you would be staunch on the actual traverse and not the long hike. traversing in my mind, would to stay high as possible tagging everything i could

 

klenke!! good tip on hiking with females!!!

 

bigdrink.gif

 

 

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My point was partly that since the four Ptarmigans left their gear, none of their climbs were actually a part of their traverse. The Ptarmigan's traverse wasn't technical, their detours were. Compare for example with Alex Bertulis' and Half Zantop's traverse of the Pickets in the sixties, which entailed going over the peaks without returning to their gear - as far as I know.

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It's not really the traverse if you didn't repeat the original route. In that case it would make it basically a variation or something partial. Just like a climbing route on a mountain. Call it staunch if you want. What do you then call someone that claims to climb a technical mountain route but didnt? Well in this case maybe not a fibber but I would choose to enlighten that person.

 

To claim you hiked the trail along the route that those dudes bagged the peaks back in the 30's and call it the Ptarmigan Traverse is only humoring yourself.

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Another way to view the question of whether a hiking traverse is the actual traverse is to look at other mountain routes. Both Shishipangma and Broad Peak, for example, have difficult summit ridges and parties commonly climb to the fore-summit and call that a complete climb, though the actual summit is perhaps a half mile distant or something and slightly higher. Here in Washington, most climbers report climbing Mount Rainier when they haven't not crawled over to the actual highest point on the crater rim. Or another example: what people normally call the "North Ridge" of Mount Stuart, for example, enters onto the ridge at mid-height, and leaves it a few hundred feet below the summit. So one could call this "Part of the North Ridge" and reserve the name "North Ridge" for those who climb the lower portion of the route and the gendarme pitches (probably less than 5% of the climbers who climb the "North Ridge". The Ptarmigan Traverse was first done WITH the peaks whereas the N. Ridge may have first been done WITHOUT the start and finish but my point is that the usage of names for routes in the mountains is highly subjective, and you have to ask questions to be sure what is meant. If somebody says they did the Ptarmigan Traverse, you know that most people consider that completing a hiking traverse with perhaps a peak or two added in, so if you want to know what they did you have to follow up and ask them which peaks they climbed. If they say none, I wouldn't bother to argue that they have no right to claim they did the traverse.

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its like people who say they "did" a route when hanging on every bolt or hanging on TR. "yeah, ive been on that, soft for the grade, I thought"

 

although, if you traverse through the group but not tick summits, what do you call it - we did the Summitless Ptarmigan Traverse, or something?

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although, if you traverse through the group but not tick summits, what do you call it - we did the Summitless Ptarmigan Traverse, or something?

 

A nice hike maybe.

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Dumpster, you're definitely free to apply route names any way you like. It's only unfortunate for yourself if you insist on applying route names differently than others. It will just prevent you from being understood.

 

In a way the insistence on nothing other than the original itinerary qualifying for the route name is kind of like insisting that alpine rock routes can only be done by using the exact same holds and sequences the first ascensionists used.

 

The recession of glaciers and other environmental changes also play. The Ptarmigans probably spent more time on glaciers on their trips than we could now if maintaining the same pace.

 

The traverse goes from A to B, it's the detours that climb the mountains and they're fun, but not quintessential to doing the traverse.

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In a way the insistence on nothing other than the original itinerary qualifying for the route name is kind of like insisting that alpine rock routes can only be done by using the exact same holds and sequences the first ascensionists used.

 

You are right it's way too complex to comprehend what I wrote. grin.gif

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Troll grin.gif

 

I think I understood your post, and if I did then I disagree. It's all good though.

 

Anywayz, I'm not sure what makes the two of us the right people to argue about it - unless you have done that hike that goes along the way of the Ptarmigans in 1938... I certainly haven't done the Ptarmigan Traverse, no matter the interpretation.

 

Cheers man bigdrink.gif

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Of the four that are planning on going this summer, two are probably going to only climb Mixup and then hike. Myslef and my friend who did it last year (but only made two summits) plan on hitting four peaks. So we are all going to do the traverse part of the "Traverse".

 

And why the hell does this area get more rain than everywhere else in the Cascades it seems? I would think late July, early August would be the best time to do the trip...is this true? I'm probably putting the whammie on myself by saying I'm going to do it...but WTF, I plan on being a climbing bum for two months next year. I usually accomplish about 25% of my tick list each year but get other climbs in instead....so according to averages, if I say I'm going to climb every peak between the Whack and Snoqualmie Pass, I'll have a pretty good summer!! grin.gif

 

That blizzard on 4th of July, I was getting snowed on at Ragged Ridge by Easy Pass, first time I ever got snowed on in July. fruit.gif

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I definitely never admitted or claimed to be the expert on the subject. I'm right there with you and was only offering food for thought. I just figured some of my remarks were valid from someone's point of view and that it also let's us know how tough those old guys were.

 

I've seen some slides of guys doing part of that trip a few years ago and it looked fantastic. They needed a gps to find the route wink.gif

 

What's the best time of year for that thing anyway? What do you guys think are the most worthy and\or attainable summits for the regular party?

 

I'm not taking any hobnailed boots either. grin.gif

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Slightly on the thread but I'd thought I'd let posters know that on Feb 5 at the next Skagit Alpine Club meeting, Bob Kandiko will be doing a presentation on Alpine Traverses. Hearing from ppl that have been to his slideshows before, they are supposed to be pretty good. I guess he did the Picket Traverse this past summer. PM me for me details.

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Polls are not accurate actually. If 2 people work in the same place and one of them votes sometimes the other person cannot. Like right now for me.

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klenke, is snoqualmie->stevens really only 30 miles? I was under the impression it was more along the lines of 50.

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How Haute was it laugh.gif

 

Well lemme tell ya, it was so Haute that th Mexicans were putting it in their chili... fruit.gif

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