Eric just posted about our trip at TAY here. We skied the Ptarmigan Traverse from Cascade Pass: Day 1 to Yang Yang Lakes, Day 2 (a rest day) moving camp to Sentinel Peak, Day 3 to Sinister and Dome and back to camp, and Day 4 back out the way we came in.
I recommend Eric's TR at TAY, but here are some extra pics:
It was an adventure. Eric's goal was to ski the N Face of Sinister, which he accomplished with style. With the twins at home, this was my first outing all year. My goal was mainly to stay upright on my skis more often than planting my face in the snow. I too accomplished my goal, at maybe a 51%-49% margin.
I turned back on the W. ridge of Sinister at 7700 feet. The dirty gully that Beckey describes was under snow. All we could see was a bunch of sketchy moves on rock and snow that were not inviting at all. We did not search around that much – trying only the most promising route onto the rock – but neither of us could see a decent way up, especially in Eric’s AT boots and my tele boots. A week later at least one party successfully navigated the gulley, and I hear that others are heading there this weekend. So we might have turned back too quickly.
This was no problem for Eric, as he circled around and scampered up the N. Face. There was no way I could safely ski the N. Face, and would have had to downclimb it. I was too tuckered and the hour was too late for that. So I sat and watched Eric style it - a thing of beauty.
Turning around on the W. ridge was a bit humbling. On the upside, it forced me to check my Bulger OCD - maybe for good this time. (Or not.)
We tagged Dome on the way back to camp, mostly because we passed right through the Dome-Chikamin col at 8500 feet. We pulled out the rope for one move at the very top of Dome – it was exposed but easy.
Here are some highlights:
Day 2, the rest day: The best part of many trips is just lying around in the sun.
Day 3: Skiing from one glacier to the next: South Cascade – Dana – Dome – Chikamin. Awesome - an overused word, but it fits.
In the afternoon of Day 3, the clouds moved in and we returned to camp in a whiteout. Before it got dark, that is, Then is was a whiteout in the dark. We had to keep picking up our outbound tracks to know how to weave around crevasses or get around rocky points. It was socked in most of the way back to the car the next day.
I'll write this up in story form some time soon. Someone's got to describe Eric's heroic feats on this trip (including skiing Sentinel, and patiently kicking way more than his fair share of the steps). But the Ptarmigan Traverse takes you through an amazing sea of mountains and ridges. Since seeing a picture of Yang-Yang Lakes a few years ago, I have dreamed of visiting the Ptarmigan Traverse. It was a treat to be able to ski it - twice.
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