Traverse the Northern Cascades

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By Special to the Monitor

Join the Los Alamos Mountaineers at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Fuller Lodge to hear Lynn Ensslin and Dennis Brandt share their adventures on the Ptarmigan Traverse in the Northern Cascades.

According to many Washington State alpinists, the Ptarmigan Traverse is the classic alpine traverse in Washington.

It is unique in that it requires a week-long commitment on an off-trail route, which weaves its way between the glaciated peaks of the North Cascades. It is a route that one should try only if they have climbing and glacier experience.

In early August 2006, Los Alamos Mountaineers Gregg Brickner, Dennis Brandt and Norbert and Lynn Ensslin attempted the traverse, betting on this time of year to give them the best shot at good weather.

Ensslin’s and Brandt’s presentation will take listeners on this adventure, with alpine grandeur that will take their breath away, including brilliant views of glaciated peaks, campsites near clear mountain lakes and colorful wildlife.

Lynn met her husband at the Los Alamos Mountaineers climbing school in the 1980’s and has rock climbed with him and friends since then. Her glacier experience includes traverses in the Cascades and in Colorado. She loves hiking on the sandstone domes and canyons of Utah and Arizona and hiking in Colorado’s mountains. Her favorite climbing areas are Tuolumne Meadows in California and City of Rocks in Idaho.

Brandt has been involved in mountaineering activities for the past 36 years. His first trip was a Grand Canyon backcountry adventure in 1973 led by Merlin Wheeler.

Brandt took the Los Alamos Mountaineers climbing school in 1974 and has been continuously involved in outdoor activities ever since. His early mountaineering experiences focused on Arizona canyon trips, local rock climbing, climbing Colorado’s 14ers, climbing volcanoes in Mexico, mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest and caving in southern New Mexico.

Brandt served as the club’s president in 1987 and 2009, and he was the club’s vice-president and Climbing School Director in 1986.

Join Ensslin, Brandt and the Los Alamos Mountaineers for what promises to be an adventurous and beautiful presentation on Wednesday.  The meeting will be held in the main room of Fuller Lodge.  It will begin with dessert and social time at 7:30 p.m., followed by a discussion of trips past and future.  

The presentation will begin at approximately 8 p.m. The club offers trips that range from easy hikes to technical mountaineering and is committed to safe outdoor practices.  

Membership information and the Mountaineers schedule can be found at their web address, www.lamountaineers.org.