Ptarmigan Traverse

The classic and rugged 35+ mile, high alpine traverse from Cascade Pass to the Suiattle River.

Temporary Closure

4/15/21 Update: In the aftermath of the Downey Mountain fire in 2020, the Suiattle River Road is closed west of Downey Creek, at about mile 19. This closure includes all trails beyond the road closure: Downey Creek Trail (No. 768), Sulphur Creek Trail (No. 793), Sulphur Mountain Trail (No. 794), Suiattle River Trail (No. 784), Bachelor Creek Trail (No. 796), and the Sulphur Creek Campground. Please check with the Darrington Ranger District for the most up to date information.

Suggested Itinerary

Peaks that may be climbed along the way include Mix-up Peak, Magic Mountain, "Hurry-up" (S Mountain), Mount Formidable, Spider Mountain, Le Conte Mountain, Sentinel Peak, Old Guard, The Lizard, German Helmet, Spire Point, Gunsight Peak, Dome Peak and Sinister Peak.

Most parties do the Ptarmigan Traverse in 5-7 days but you may do it in fewer or more days depending on your party's fitness and desires. Here's a sample seven day itinerary:

Day 1 - Cascade Pass to Kool Aid Lakes

Day 2 - Kool Aid Lakes to Yang Yang Lakes

Day 3 -Yang Yang Lakes to White Rock Lakes

Day 4 -White Rock Lakes to Itswoot Ridge or Cub Lake

Day 5 - Dome Peak

Day 6 - Itswoot Ridge or Cub Lake to Downy Creek or continue to cars

Day 7 - Downy Creek to cars via Suiattle River Road

  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Intermediate Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Intermediate Mountaineering Climb
  • Length: 35.0 mi
  • 8,920 ft
  • USGS Dome Peak
  • USGS Downey Mtn
  • USGS Cascade Pass
  • Trails Illustrated North Cascades National Park

Upcoming Activities

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Ptarmigan Traverse

Climbing Trip
Best 6-7 days during the posted dates. By invite only for this one.
Difficulty: Intermediate Mountaineering Climb
Wed, Jul 28, 2021 - Wed, Aug 4, 2021
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
0 participants 0 leaders
Registration opens Jul 1
Seattle Branch
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