Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Ptarmigan Cirque

4.5km 7239ft trailhead 7938ft cirque vert gain: 700ft

Our trip to Ptarmigan Cirque began with a snowstorm which isn't too surprising at Highwood pass as its the highest public road in Canada. The trailhead begins where the pocaterra cirque trip begins (trip # 3 in the blog) and we were anxious to get a view of that previous route on this trip. In this snowy picture of Suz, you can just make out the unnamed peak we climbed to get the view of the valley (see pic #4 of Grizzly Peak/Col entry)

I was a little nervous as well owing to Suz's parents being with us and I didn't want to drag them up a mountain in a snowstorm!

After a half hour the snow let up and the sun came out long enough to enjoy the larch trees turning their famous hue of orange.

Up in the cirque we found this purple flower making a go of things at around 7500 feet. From this photo you can see that spring and summer have winter breathing down its neck. Summer really only lasts a couple weeks at this altitude.

Sun is finally out giving us the view we came for. Grizzly col (the second part of trip 3) is the saddle between the two middle peaks. The water in the creek behind me was some of the best I've had. I bottled some and took it home.

Suz pauses in front of Mt Arethusa beside a larch in full bloom. For a short trip this was pretty satisfying. Suz's parents enjoyed it which pleased me. The weather was perfect right down to the snowstorm which put the finishing touch so to speak on the surroundings. For a two hour hike this trip has got to one of the most underrated as it launches you right into a high alpine ecosystem without having to climb several thousand feet of vertical. For us it was pretty cool to stare across the valley at our route from the previous trip.

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