Post subject: Beta TR: Flattop Mountain, Ptarmigan Point, Tyndall 7/28/07
Posted: Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:19 pm
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:19 am Posts: 527 Location: Capitol Hill, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
I've been going through a little TR withdrawal lately so this what I like to call a "Beta TR". No splitting, but ALWAYS on the lookout for sick lines. I had a friend visiting from out of town, so I proposed a casual hike up Flattop Mountain in The Park.
As Spring turns to Summer, The Park becomes more and more crowded with tourists from all over the world. Up until now I've always been able to find a parking spot at Glacier Gorge TH. However, at 10 AM on a hot Saturday in July, we were forced to take the park & ride in to Bear Lake.
The majority of my past excursions in this area have been to Sky Pond or Glacier Gorge. I've never been up any of the trails from Bear Lake. However, I've heard about great ski lines on Tyndall Glacier and inside Ptarmigan Point Cirque.
Flattop Mountain Trail is unique among the trails in The Park because it is one of the only marked trails that leads all the way to the top of the Continental Divide (most other trails lead to various lakes in the cirques below the Divide). I soon began to call it the Gaper Trail, because above tree line it was marked with dozens of huge cairns 10 yards apart, as if the beaten dirt path all the way up was not obvious enough! While it was by far the easiest way I've personally ever ascended, there were some steep switchbacks that left me a little out of breath.
The clouds were sitting low in the valley all morning. As we climbed, a soft drizzle came down on us, but luckily we had rain jackets unlike a few unfortunate tourists who came down in wet cotton sweatshirts.
Hallet Peak hidden in the eerie mist
Above treeline, the endless grassy fields extended out for what seemed like miles. It was a long trek to the top of the mountain, but well worth the scenery. I came around the bend to Tyndall Glacier and my jaw dropped.
"Siiiiiick...." I gasped in a high-pitched expression of stoke for snow.
"You'd ski that?" my friend asked.
"You're crazy," she shook her head.
Truth is, it was probably a little too hairy to ski now, but I could picture the line going next season, and I obviously added it to the list.
Next in line was the Ptarmigan Point cirque on the north side of Flattop. There were a bunch more lines to be scouted, and I put my camera to work. I'll definitely be heading back here next season!
Ptarmigan Point rises on the right of these lines
The sun came in and out during our climb down, but we managed to avoid rain the whole time.
Women or snowboarding? Good thing I didn't have to make a choice today.
_________________ Riding a '06 Voile Split Decision Freeride 173, '07 Salomon Malamutes, Spark Ignition I bindings.