-8 minute read-
Picture this. You’re two days in to the Ptarmigan traverse in the Washington’s North Cascades. The wind’s blasting you in the face and your fingers are freezing as you walk the ridge crest, peeking tentatively over the edge to scout your descent to the valley floor. It’s been a long day already and all you want is to setup the tent and fire up some dinner. Before you do that, you’ll have to work your way through the cliff-band lurking somewhere below. All you want is to be off this damn ridge, but picking the wrong couloir will mean a long boot-pack to the ridge only to start it all over again.
It doesn’t take many experiences like this to reinforce the value of carrying slope-angle maps with you into the backcountry.