Ptarmigan Peak
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Ptarmigan Peak Skoki Lake Louise

Heading up the Temple Lodge fire road - since Adeem and I don't really backpack we improvised. I used a small duffel bag for my camping gear

I love this view of Mt Temple from the road!

First view of our objective Ptarmigan Peak

Another view with Mt Richardson on the left, Pika Peak in the center and Ptarmigan Peak on the right.

Hidden Lake campground - took 2 1/2 hours to hike into.

Nearly at Hidden Lake - about 1km from the campground

We crossed the outlet stream and are heading up and back eastwards

Continuing east to the open slopes

Route up the open slopes with traverse right to the summit

More of the lower slopes route up to the snow gap

Another lovely view of Mt Temple

Adeem on the lower slopes

Nearing the gap and the steep and foreshortened slopes above

Looking back down the lower slopes

Hidden Lake comes into view from the gap

Mt Richardson with and idea of the upper slopes steepness

Mt Redoubt

The upper slopes

Upper slopes

Finally the slope eases

Traversing to the right or east, the summit cairn can just be seen

DC - 10 foot downclimb. Be careful here!

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Looking back at the crux from the summit slope

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The summit slope from just before the crux

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Efforts rewarded!!

Mt Douglas and Mt St Bride

Mt Redoubt

Mt Richardson and Pika Peak

Mt Hector

Adeem crossing the Hidden Lake outlet stream to take the trail back to the campground

Al heading home! Thank you Lord Jesus Christ for a great and safe trip! Come soon and straighten out this world!

Ptarmigan Peak Skoki Lake Louise

Scramble: Class 2 Steep Hiking, tough off trail very steep hiking to the ridge depending where you decide to ascend, right side is less loose. If the upper mountain has snow bring your ice axe and crampons

Altitude: 3,056m (10,024 ft)

Elevation Gain: approx 1,366m (approx 4,480 ft)  - Skoki parking lot at approx 1,690 metres (5,543ft) approx 520m (1,700ft) up to Hidden Lake campground at 2,208m (7,242ft), then approx 850m (2,790ft) to the summit

Ascent Time: 2.5 hours hike into Hidden Lake Campground from Skoki parking lot. From the Hidden Lake campground using the Alan Kane route via Hidden Lake, 1 hour to Hidden Lake and to the open scramble slope, then 2 1/2 - 3 hours to the summit

Best Season to Scramble: Mid-July to Sept

Highlights

This scramble is the similar to Mt Richardson in the Skoki area offering outstanding views in all directions if you get a blue sky day

Getting There

Head west out of Calgary on the TransCanada highway # 1 to the Lake Louise ski hill. Just before you get to the main ski lodge area you will see a sign for "Skoki" or the "Fish Creek Parking Lot", this is a right hand turn onto a gravel road and only a short distance later you arrive at the parking on your right and the locked gate for the Temple Lodge road.

Route Description

Head up the Temple Lodge road (3.8km) for about an hour+, near the end taking the fork to the right on the road. This will lead you above the Temple Lodge and on the route to access the Skoki valley. At the small building and just as you pass the last ski slope head uphill for a couple of minutes to the sign and trail for the Skoki area. Take this trail for another 3.5km for another hour+ to Halfway Hut (outhouse here) From here you continue up the trail for perhaps a couple of minutes and take the left hand turn at the junction for Hidden Lake. The Hidden Lake campground is only a couple of minutes up this trail. There is an outhouse here as well as bear hang poles. Its a gradual uphill to Hidden Lake, approx 1.2km. Total of 8.5 km to Hidden Lake. Adeem and I camped at Hidden Lake campground and did the ascent the next day then all the way out.

From Hidden Lake campground we decided to hike west to Hidden Lake for approx 1 km then from the lake cross the outlet stream and head back east up over gradually rising tundra towards the open scree slopes of Ptarmigan Peak. Took about an hour to do this. Bob Spirko has a more direct approach from the campground through the trees and either up or around the escarpment with some bushwhacking. We hiked on October 3rd and in the morning the campground and terrain through the trees was very icy so we opted for the Alan Kane route via Hidden Lake.

From the open slope I would say that due to steep and loose terrain whether going up or down be very aware of knocking rocks down upon others. Better to hike close together or hike wide apart with different fall lines for rocks. From the open slopes pick your way up the least loose terrain. We found the grey rocks tending on the right side provided the best footing. The route is foreshortened and gets steeper and steeper. We kept mostly on the right side then crossed over to the left side for less steep but more solid footing. We used the middle and the right side to descend on a loose faint trail. Once the terrain eases and you see the ridge above you don't actually go all the way to the top of the ridge but start traversing to the right on fairly mellow slopes. In the distance you can see the summit cairn but the crux is still to come. About 10 minutes before the summit the ridge dips and narrows with an abrupt 3,000 foot drop on the left side and a short slope of 20-50 feet with a big drop on the right side. For an experienced scrambler this would provide a bit of careful excitement but might turn back the less experienced especially if it was covered in snow. This was the case on Oct 3rd it was covered in snow.

Adeem arrived first at the ridge dip and wanted to call it a day. I had been traversing in my crampons and arrived at the dip and gave it some scrutiny and contemplation as I changed into a dry shirt and had a snack. I heard once that Alan Kane had turned back the first time on Mt Nestor and had to come all the way back up that mountian another time to complete it. My reasoning to Adeem was that we had backpacked into the Skoki area, we were 10 minute away from the summit and I did not want to come back up here a second time. So with a brief prayer for steadiness I left my crampons on an began moving down the dip to a point where you downclimb a 10 foot crack on the right side and then traversed along the ridge and up the short slope to the summit with Adeem following in my footsteps. Fortunately all my steps were secure and steady and we encountered no verglas! Verglas occurs where you have a snowslope that has some melting occur and then the water freezes onto the rocks below the layer of snow. This can be very dangerous as you step on to the snow and your boot immediately starts to slide on the verglas. The last slope on Mt Temple can be in this condition at certain times.