Ptarmigan Peak + Dot Mountain / 雷鳥峯+圓點山

I had underestimated the scale of Pasayten Wilderness during our first visit. In the end, we climbed just four out of the six peaks on the itinerary. Ptarmigan Peak and Lost Peak were much farther away. So for the pups’ sake, I saved them for another time.

Kodak moment on Ptarmigan Peak
Kodak moment on Ptarmigan Peak

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Ptarmigan Peak and Dot Mountain at a Glance

Access: Buckskin Ridge Trailhead at Slate Pass
Round Trip: 36 miles
Elevation Range: 5200′-8614′
Gear: helmet
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: on the trail

The Preface

Last year, the yellow pup and I climbed Monument Peak and Lake Mountain. We included Lost Peak on that trip also. Since these peaks required a lengthy approach, I put off climbing Ptarmigan Peak once more. Then it ended up being my 92nd Bulger peak.

It was also during this trip that the Goodell Fire broke out in Newhalem. So the WSDOT shutdown North Cascades Highway for three weeks. In other words, there was no access between Newhalem and Mazama.

Slate Pass
Slate Pass

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Slate Pass to the Lago-Carru Col

The weather was fair from Slate Pass to Freds Pass. Then the rain came when we went into Eureka Creek Basin. So we took shelter under big trees and waited a while for the rainfall to stop. Later, we left the trail and climbed up to the Lago-Carru col. But visibility was weak because of the clouds. 

Soon, clouds subsided, and then the sunshine came through. So it was comforting to see the route. Then we moved through the rocky northern slopes of Mount Lago over to the 7400′ tarn. But the clouds rolled in once again while I set up our tent. Without much to do, we went to bed right after dinner.

Staring contest by the campsite
Staring contest by the campsite

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Going up to Dot Mountain

The next morning, we awoke to a blue sky. Then we left camp right after sunrise. We made our way up to the north saddle of Point 8207 first. Then we moved north on the ridgeline. Later, we bypassed Point 8165 from the left. Then from there, the route to Dot Mountain was clear.

The pup and I took a short break. Then we walked the final mile over to Ptarmigan Peak through mild terrain. When we made it up to the top, we were 18 miles in from the car. In other words, only 18 more miles to go back to the car later today.

Summit dogs on Dot Mountain
Summit dogs on Dot Mountain

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Ptarmigan Peak Summit Plus Outro

Compared with the mild southern terrain, the north side of Ptarmigan Peak looked vertical. The Lago group dominated the southern skyline. But the views in Pasayten Wilderness went for miles. It was also windy on the summit. So we didn’t stay too long. But I let the pup get some sleep before going back down.

On the way out, we bypassed Dot Mountain on the east. But in hindsight, we should have gone through the top on gentler terrain. Back at the camp, I packed up quickly. Then we both took a power nap before the long trek back to Slate Pass.

En route back to camp
En route back to camp

See more trip photos here.

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