Home (to hike page),  Slideshow

 

The Honey Badgers head to the Ptarmigan Traverse… again

Mt Formidable  (8325', p1885')

Hurry-up Peak   (7821', p1061')

Magic Mt            (7610', p570')

August 12-13, 2011

Carla Schauble, Franklin Bradshaw and Dave Creeden

Hot sun, eve clouds melted, morning clouds melted.  Morning temp 47F.  Baro  at 1020 eve, 1019 morn

 

My short history with the Ptarmigan Traverse

Ah, so many times I’ve inquired about the Ptarmigan area.  A mystery and my imagination ran with ideas.  Hearing of one day runs to full seek trips.  Several attempts turned early due to weather. The latest last month.  Then a few weeks ago Carla and I snuck in the back door via Bachelor Creek for toe taste into the southern area.  This time we’d again give a shot at going in from the north.  Maybe head in early before the mountain was a wake to sneak in the door.

 

Many hours and days on planning a very committing four day trip squashed due to jitters and the weather window saddening changing from five days to two.  Like that ever happens in winter here?  Carla threw a quick comment of heading into Magic, Mix-up, Hurry-up Formidable peaks.  Let’s head in and see if we can get a view from the top of a few of them, okay?

 

Will we get past Cascade Pass

Missed the early 3am wake up and instead it was after 5am by the time we left Seattle.  The drive from Marblemount to the Cascade Pass TH seems real long.  Not vehicles at the Eldorado TH parking and a mob of out of state cars and guide vans at the Boston Basin pull out.  Twenty-one cars at the Cascade Pass TH.  We were greeted by a local deer that wanted to valet our car.  Not sure what to tip and we declined anyway.  Clear skies and great views of J-burg and all the way to Cascade Pass.  The ski route was out.

 

NCNP trail info,  map.

 

Shortly on starting (7:55a, 3640), another deer blocking the trail was pan handling.  A few switchbacks later another was a little insistent on wanting us to hire it as a guide.  From vast urban experience with street corner beggars we smiled and continued on our way.  The switchbacks, OMG, a reason I dread this trail.  Hoping I won’t go mind numb going up and down wishing I was just going steeply up.  It’d be so short without all those switches.  3.7 miles, 1700’ ten million switchbacks and 90 minutes later we arrived at Cascade Pass. 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-012.jpg

Very odd, It felt like summer and the pass was warm and empty.  We enjoyed a break in the peace of the warm morning then a right hook up towards Mix-up Arm.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-009-pan.jpg

Looking South before Cascade Pass –Mix-up to Johannesburg

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-014-pan.jpg

Looking east from the Pass Mix-up on right

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-023.jpg

 

Boot path intermixed with steep sidehill snow.  We passed our turn-around from last month.  The way was a steep sidehill, so glad we turned around in that white-out.  I remember emotional tears when we decided last trip was no fun.  We wanted sun and warm.  This time we had it.  c6000 before the nasty gulley (now nicely filled with snow) (4.3m, 10:12a) we donned crampons.  Looking back a light figure approached rapidly.  I made a comment along the line that it looked like Dave, then turned away to buckle my crampon.  Looking up there was Dave!  Now are party was three as we passed Mix-up Arm and up.  A choice of up or down.  We took the high route around thinning snow then a little down across the long flat snow.  Now a view of approaching Cache Col and Gunsight Notch. Gunsight Notch would take us to Mix-up.  For now we’d cross Cache Col heading south to Kool-aid Lake for camp. 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-028.jpg

Looking to Cache Col from north approach

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-031.jpg

Looking back to Cascade Pass and Sahale (Forbidden is the bump left of Sahale)

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-029.jpg

Tree Top Dave approaching Cache Col

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-032.jpg

Carla takes a gander at the Col

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-034.jpg

Then climbs the east side

 

At Cache Col we scrambled on the far left, one foot on rock and one kickstepping in the cornice snow (5.3m, c6954, 3522vert, 3h30m).  From Cache Col we looked south to an amazing view.  Our first of Mt Formidable. 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-036-pan.jpg

Dave and first views of the Northern Ptarmigan traverse –Formidable center

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-041-pan.jpg

Dave looking back NW toward Cascade Pass from Cache Col

 

 

 Click and drag to interactive pan. Shift and Ctrl key to zoom in and out

 

The north face truly lived up to its name –GULP…  Just left before leaving the col about 50’ up hill is a large rock walled camp site (empty).  Snow to heather, heather to snow and soft snow down over 800’ to the indent and flowing outlet of Koolaid Lake (6m, c6133, 4h).  If it wasn’t for the outflow we would have missed the indent of the lake covered with deep angled snow.  Before the stream a bit of bare ground on a bump for campsites.  Dave generously gave us first choice on a site.  50 minutes later we had camp set and packs hoisted to head south.  Dave wanted to give Spider a go and we’d leave him at the Spider Col, head west and give Formidable a go.  We’d clocked the  expected time and knew we’d be walking back in the dark.  Didn’t help that I slept in and we left the TH an hour and a half later than I’d hoped.

 

Beyond Red Ledges

Traversing south on snow, then boulders.  A few heather patches and occasional boot path, then back to snow.  We seemed to do a slow upward traverse for a long time, and through a few exposed rock areas. We’d spied the red ledges from Cache Col and seen they were snow free.  Steep snow leading to them encouraged us to don crampons for the short bit.   The ledges were happily rather un-eventful with knowing of Fay’s incident in them before (25min from camp, c6370’).

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-053.jpg

The Red Ledges

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-056-pan.jpg

Looking north from the south of the Red Ledges –Cache Col is the dip in the center

 

Once past we continued our traverse slowly upward.  A brief stop at the edge of the Middle Cascade Glacier to check out our route. The Glacier being well covered we made a fairly direct route with a few zig-zags up the steepening pitch to The Spider-Formidable Col to dodge a few small depressions hiding crevasses and some wide gapers too. 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-066.jpg

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-071.jpg

Dave heading up the Middle Cascade Gl

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-073.jpg

A few gaps

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-081-pan.jpg

Carla heading up the Middle Cascade Gl

 

At the Spider-Formidable Col we went direct for the left notch (2hrs, 2.3m from camp, 8.3m from car, c7264).

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-086.jpg

First views south from the Spider-Formidable Col to the central Ptarmigan Traverse

 

 

 Click and drag to interactive pan. Shift and Ctrl key to zoom in and out

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-088.jpg

Alien in disguise…

 

Here we parted company with Dave.  It had been enjoyable sharing the longer part of the trek.  Now he would take a left east for an attempt on Spider and we’d drop and head west for ours up the south side of Formidable.  The view south into the middle of the Ptarmigan traverse was spectacular on our traverse.  Yang Yang Lakes surrounded by Old Guard, Sentinel and Le Conte.  Easy looking to get to the Lakes, but from there… the route looked impossible.

 

South of Formidable we crossed over a saddle for our first view of the south side of Formidable (2h45m, 3.1m from camp, 9.1m from car, c7020’).  Pleasantly much tamer than the north side, but not by much.  Reading route descriptions we think we knew what to do.  From Paul’s description and others people don’t go far enough west.  We planned to go through the bowl below us, over a ridge and to the next.  Avoiding the top of the obvious gulley at the south saddle we dropped the heather ridge to its left (south) as beta suggested –good call.  Traversed west across the bowl and up the ridge on its west side.  A fairly easy though steep transition to rock and heather finding a large cairn on the ridge (3.7m, 3h50m from camp, 9.7m from car, c7368’).  Found out later AndyD said he placed the cairn earlier –Thanks Andy.  Whew!  Maybe we were on route –at least someone else had been this way and thought so. Some more route discussions ensued.

 

West side was a gulley option and up was supposed to be some sort of ledges.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-094.jpg

right heading north up the ridge after the large cairn on the ridge

 

We took a right heading north up the ridge, back to snow then rock again for cl3 scrambling up good hands holds to a slab with water flowing.  Now rising to of the snow part of the basin a chasm grew on our left (west). Carla assured me this was in the description. Just how to get across it to the ledge on the other side.  It was a steep rock wall not looking inviting then a steep snow patch broken with water flow. 

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-095-pan.jpg

The Chasm of doom –all we had to do is get the ledge on this side to connect.  Where is Harry Potter when you need him?

 

Hmmm.  Hey, let’s just go over it?  Ever see Laurel and Hardy?  I went over, into a moat, try going down it, too thin, so up stem off the rock wall, ice ax in snow into a not so happy place.  Carla, not to be left out of the fun pushed hard to go under bypassing the joys I’d had to get herself wedged solid between rock and snow.  I’ll hold off on the following ten minutes.  Easy to look back at and laugh.  Nothing bad, just I felt bad laughing so hard at the time. 

 

Okay… we made the ledge and looking around the corner a loud noise and explosion of snow.  Holy S^#!!  A huge chunk of snow broke off from above destroying itself bowling down our route to be up.  Very glad we’d had the delay and adrenaline pumping we take different routes to cross sloping slabby and gravely wetness.  Well were there wasn’t gravel there was wet heather.  I crossed a small rib to go up the other side of it and Carla went up the gulley the snow had pummeled down.  Loose Cascade style cl3+ scrambling.  Taking our time checking each hold we took parallel routes.  Rock fall not as much an issue since we were on other sides of the little rib.  Basically, straight up fine loose Cascade rock that took us eventually to the summit (4m, 5h30m from camp, 10m from car, 8354’). 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-099.jpg

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-126.jpg

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-127.jpg

Formidable Reg –A Fay Standard : )

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-128.jpg

Carla getting in some summit reading

 

 

 Click and drag to interactive pan. Shift and Ctrl key to zoom in and out

 

The sun glowing yellow, now orange

Standing there in the sun, million dollar views surrounding us.  Wow! Each peak of familiarity had a slightly different look from this aspect.  Warm sun colors, snow everywhere.  Hard to believe this was the middle of August and not June.  Food, name that peak, browsing the register (another famous Fay reg from 2005) and finally we had to go.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-138.jpg 

Our route in (looking north from Formidable summit)

 

 The day was getting old and we knew much of our return would be in darkness.  Hopes were to attain the South col of Formidable during the light.  The way out could take more time than the way in.  Loose rock, downclimbing, snow, route finding in the dark and keeping the legs going from a long day.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-140.jpg

Starting to head down from the summit

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-144.jpg

Taking good care for all that loose junk

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-155.jpg

Spent time looking at the close stuff too –Indian Paint Brush. Years of photos of it and this may be the first one in focus

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-152.jpg

On the ledge heading to the chasm

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-156.jpg

Carla crossing the chasm of … in style

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-157.jpg

A little class 3+-4 getting out of it

 

Retracing the loose stuff was slow, oh, and the wet ledges, then this time we dropped down into the chasm and up the little toe ledges on the east side.  More wet ledges highlit by loose down climbing to snow.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-159.jpg

And more down climbing to the snow above the cairn ridge

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-164.jpg

The Cairn that Andy built

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-160-pan.jpg

Now to cross the south bowl to the south Formidable saddle –took heather right side of skinning snow gulley in center

 

 

Past the Cairn, down steep snow, east and up the snow filled gulley to the south Formidable saddle. 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-168.jpg

Close up of gulley and route on right

 

The day had past, moon rising and sky filled with oranges and blues of a beautiful sunset.  Only  a moment to take in the views south to the lakes and distant Dome Peak.  By the time we reached the Spider Col it was dark and time for head lamps (8h15m from camp, 11.6m from car…).  Seems like summer has just begun and already the days are getting short.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-170.jpg

Moon rise

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-171-pan.jpg

Moonrise in the Ptarmigan Traverse

 

Dave was to leave a sign that he’d passed and headed back to camp.  A just in case, so we’d know he made it out okay.  There in the snow spelled out in rocks was “DAVE 7”.  Sweet, everyone okay and we’d have tracks to follow out.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0812-178.jpg

hey, Dave, give a sign you made it off Spider…”

 

Even in the later day’s softer snow we lost tracks a few times.  Our goal was to find Creeden tracks, not bear tracks...  Made for a game heading to camp.  Seemed a long walk to finally reach the Red Ledges (1h15m from Spider col). In the dark we spotted sparse melt outs of the trail and goat tracks to guide us along with the Creeden tracks.  The moon was bright helping and our pleasant evening stopped finally at camp (10:50p, 14, 14h55m, over 7070vert).  Dave woke a moment to make sure we were okay, then didn’t hear more from him.  It’d been a long and adventurous day (14m, .  Tough tired, I was looking forward to more adventuring in the morning.  Food, dry clothes... some goat chasing and night photo ops.  I wound down closing my eyes, today was a good day.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-194.jpg

 Johannesburg sets a grand sight this morning

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-195.jpg

Formidable – takes on new meanings from now on

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-197.jpg

Camp and morning fog

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-199.jpg

All of us enjoyed breakfast –Son of Billy too

 

 

A Magic morning at Kool-Aid Lake –day2

Had thoughts earlier of maybe doing Spider today, but after Dave’s story of the crap rock, we decided a group hike up Hurry-up and Magic would be more fun.  Move camp and if weather held do Mix-up tomorrow.  We had a leisure morning and by 9:00a started heading east up the hill on firm snow.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-201-pan.jpg

Heading up the east face to Hurry-up

 

 Twenty minutes after leaving camp the sun lit up our tent. And another twenty and we were on the thin ridge north of Hurry Up.  A break then started up the ridge.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-207.jpg

Carla taking in views from the Hurry-up north ridge break

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-208-pan.jpg

Looking east from the ridge

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-215.jpg

Time to head up, or is it?

 

 I came over a point to find Dave and Carla at a stop.  Ahead was a drop and just plain didn’t look like cl2-3.  Hmmm, this couldn’t be right…

 

We re-gathered, dropped back down to the snow on the west side and a steep sidehill traverse (c7300’) below moats south a tenth of a mile to the end of the snow (.7m, 1h15m, c7300’).  Ah, looking east and up this looked like nice Cascade loose cl2-3. 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-217.jpg

The right Hurry-up route

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-222.jpg

We took a gulley one to the south for firm rock rather than loose…

 

 

Nice scrambling up rocks, mini ledges, heather.  Working right more little ups and into another gulley.  “Hey Dave, this is fun!”  Nice some easy going scrambling after yesterday’s joyous fest.  c7550 I move right into another gulley that pushed the cl3 and kept going up.  We popped up to the high point as indicated at peakbagger.com to see that a point just south was definitely taller (10:45a, c7800+/-).  A fun ridge scramble with a choice of going east around a slightly airy gendarme rather than dropping ten feet and going around the west side.  Hey, we were having a fun day and even though on Hurry-up were in no hurry.  Who better to scramble with than Dave and Dicey?  We reached the summit with Dave already relaxing on it in the warm sun (.9m, 10:55, 7831’, 1860vert).

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-239.jpg

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-226-pan.jpg

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-228.jpg

Baker off highlit by Johannesburg

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-240.jpg

And Formidable again…

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-241.jpg

Taking in the summit views northeast

 

 

 Click and drag to interactive pan. Shift and Ctrl key to zoom in and out

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-255.jpg

Anyone up for Magic?

 

Normal summit stuff, treats, lounging, name that peak.  Peak stories and after 40 minutes time to move on.  We passed the false summit on the west and continued north finding a worn boot track that led down a gulley north of the ones we’d come up.

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-262.jpg

Heading down northwest from false summit

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-265.jpg

And following boot path to loose gulley

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-277.jpg

Trying to hide behind a rock

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-276.jpg

And trying to blend in

 

 

 A Ptarmigan tried blending into the rock not moving.  Matt would have had a great time with the photo ops.  This was the obvious normal route.  Dirtier than the route we came up and landed us direct to were we’d come of the snow (12:00, 1.1m, 1860ascent, c7300’). 

 

 

I think by this time Dave was having a good time and with Carla twisting one arm and I the other he joined for some Magic.  Well, I don’t think it really took any arm twisting.  It was such a nice day and Magic was so close. 

 

The Magic is the route unfolding

Avoiding the steep sidehill traverse we walked the snow below the snowfield as far north as possible.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-280.jpg

End of the rock.  Hey Dave, what you think about Magic?

 

 It ended in a steep section I opted to crampon across and over to the saddle south of the Magic south ridge (12:35, 1.5m, c7100’). 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-288.jpg

Son of Billy leading the way

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-289.jpg

The easy south ridge of Magic

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-290.jpg

Topping the ridge, a mix of snow, moat  and ridge scrambling heading north

 

A goat led us up a short ways and we followed tread up the west side of the ridge running north.  Topping out on the upper flattish ridge we took advantage of nice ledge and rock walking inside the moat (snow on east side of ridge, rock on our left).  A little bit on the snow and more cl2 ridge scrambling.

 

We had a peak-a-boo north to the summit –oh my…  At the false summit (1:07p, 1.9m, c7605’) I had a repeat.  Ahead vertical walls and needle spiked spires lining a ridge to the highpoint.  Remembering Matt’s word’s we dropped 80’ down the uber loose NE gulley one at a time, under snow heading north with the vertical wall on our left.  From the false summit I’m sure many have looked and opted to turn back.

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-293.jpg

Finally at the north peak –gulp!

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-296.jpg

Down 80’ of loose gulley

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-298.jpg

Through the moat

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-297.jpg

And now up and across the white ridge

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-301.jpg

Looking back from the white ridge

 

Hidden across the loose traverse and in a most, then up a cl4 move was another cl3 rocky scramble.  Ah, more like it.  Angling up and north over a ridge of white quartz (?) another cl3 rock face, then west and up being pulled a little south with nothing higher to go up (1:30, 2m, 2920ascent, 7610’). 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-306.jpg

Dave tagging Magic

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-307.jpg

Carla enjoying some summer Magic

 

 

 Click and drag to interactive pan. Shift and Ctrl key to zoom in and out

 

Not many recent entries in the 1985 reg.  Matt and Cartman from the week before, then all the way back to Ed’s fateful trip 5 years earlier.  Found it interesting that Matt and Eric summited the same day five years later as Ed. Gave me a little pause…   Why no entries in five years? Maybe no one coming up, or more likely no pencil and seems like most hikers don’t carry one.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-304.jpg

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-309.jpg

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-344.jpg

A moment of pause reading what may be Ed’s last written words…

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-347.jpg

Have to have a cheesy summit shot

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-348.jpg

Goode… Soon…

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-351-pan.jpg

Pano east

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-362.jpg

Camp far below at Kool-Aid Lake

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-369.jpg

Through the moat

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-375.jpg

Last look back at Magic

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-376.jpg

Across the ridge snowfield

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-380.jpg

Scramble down the west side of the south ridge

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-381.jpg

Flowers all around –this is a great year for them

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-384.jpg

Last look up Magic south ridge

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-385.jpg

Camp far below

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-387-pan.jpg

Magic left –Hurry-up right

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-397.jpg

A better view of Hurry-up from camp

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-395.jpg

Back at Camp

 

A half hour of recording the summit and the other normal summit stuff.  It was 1:30 and time to move on.  We carefully retraced back the east side to the false summit and back to the south Magic saddle.  The snow had softened only a little.  Made the way to a heather/rock island to bypass some steep then back to snow for a butt glissade, more island scrambling and sunshine back to camp (2:55, 3m, c6162’).  We’d had goats around all night and morning and camp looked un-disturbed.  Not goats and so far we’d still yet to see any other hikers in the area. 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-398.jpg

Camp  area at Kool-aid lake

 

Where are we going

Camp packed, Dave got a head start, then we headed north to Cache Col by 3:30.  Good trick Carla, get Dave to go first and set boot tracks –thanks Dave! Our goal was camp at Cache Col camp then do Mix up, maybe relax today and climb in the AM, or check it out or…  The forecast was for moisture to come in in the morning.  It was such a nice day, would the forecast really materialize?  At each point of letting the heart rate settle I took in the views south –amazing. I definitely want to come back. 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-400.jpg

Dave already at Cache Col

 

At the Col I talked with Dave.  He noticed the camp was occupied- bummer.  A talk over of everything and consensus was to head back with the good weather and not push our luck.  Plus, it’d been nice having solitude the entire trip (except goats). 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-404.jpg

Looking NW to Mix-up Arm from Cache Col

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-405.jpg

Getting through the col

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-406.jpg

Bye, bye to the Col –another hiker waits for the rest of his party

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-411.jpg

Last look back to Cache Col

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-410.jpg

Gunsight Notch giving the finger

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-412.jpg

Sahale with its own private cloud

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-415.jpg

Bye Magic…

 

We all three decided to exit together.  After descending the east side of the col there was a hiker sitting on the snow ledge with many four or five more below.  Time to exit, here come the crowds.  Didn’t they look at the weather forecast, or did they not care?  Passing one group, I recognized (or he recognized me) Tobias from Argonaut.  He still appreciated the deep boot buckets Scott and I had left for them.  A brief chat and I scurried off like a badger to catch up with the others.  The worse part of getting out besides the level switchbacks to nowhere was the steep snow pitch to get just above Mix-up Arm.  I could have done without it (Mix-up Arm – 5:00p, 4.4m, c6235’).  Snow traverse to loose dirt to snow to talus and trail.

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\2011formidable-fl\slides\11_0813-416.jpg

People at Cascade Pass –how to get past without the questioning… Smile and say good day…

 

A break above Cascade Pass then the walk past the questioning hoards.  Amazing that still in August a bit of snow still on the trail above 5000’. WE entertained ourselves to avoid the numbing mindless agony of the switchbacks to nowhere.  Happily at the car before 7pm and a rush down the road to get to Marblemount Diner and burgers before 8.

8 miles, 3982 ascent and 10 hours for the day

 

Beautiful weather finally allowing me into the Ptarmigan traverse area.  Good adventure and fun scrambling.  Thanks Tree House Dave and Carla : )

 

Thanks for reading and Happy Trails!

fwb

 

 

Stats:

Day 1   14m, 14h55m, 7070ascent

Day 2     8m,  10h, 3982ascent

Total    22m, 11052ascent

 

Gear:       Double slings, 50m rope -for glacier travel, glacier travel gear.     ice ax, crampons, brain bucket…

 

Notes:

Th-Kool-aid                         6m, 4h

Kool-aid – Spider sad      1.7m, 1131, 1h40m

Saddle - Formidable        2.7, 1200, 3h35m

Summit break                    20min

Formidable - saddle        2.7m, 2h30m

Saddle- Koolaid                 1.7m, 1h30m

                                                14.8m,    13h35m

 

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\Formidable_11_0812s.jpg

Formidable and Hurry-up routes

 

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: F:\0-trs\Formidable\magic_hurry-up_11_0813s.jpg

Magic Route

Copyright 2011, FWB, all rights reserved