Ptarmigan Peak
Wietse Bylsma accompanied me on an ascent of Ptarmigan Peak in the Skoki region of Banff National Park on 21 July 2007.  Just as I did on my trip to Anthozoan Mountain, I was planning on riding my bike up the Temple Fire Road for the approach.  Wietse did not own a mountain bike; therefore, I lent him my own and dug an old bike out of storage.  My old bike was quite dusty and needed a serious tune-up as it was impossible to shift it into high gear.  I figured that this would not be an issue on the Temple Fire Road as I would be in low gear most of the way up and would not really need to pedal much on the way down.  Starting from the Fish Creek parking lot at 8:12 AM, we pedaled and pushed our way up the road for about an hour to the trail head.  By the time we hiked to Halfway Hut, a cool drizzle was falling, and the tops of the surrounding peaks were all shrouded by clouds.  We took a short break here before proceeding to the nearby backcountry campground.  We found the "cutline" described by Bob Spirko and were soon slogging up the lower slopes of Ptarmigan Peak.  Visibility was limited on the upper mountain which made route-finding a bit of a challenge on the summit ridge, but we eventually made it to the summit by 12:36 PM.  The lack of views was quite disappointing, and we were on our way down by 12:56 PM.  On our descent, we actually ended up a little too far to skier's right of where we came up.  Luckily the sky began to clear, and we were able to figure out where we were and get back on track.  Good conversation helped to pass the time on the dull trudge back to the trail head, and after an eight-minute bike ride, we were back at the parking lot by 3:50 PM.

Be sure to check out Wietse's photos of this trip.
Wietse is gonna have a sore butt tomorrow! Wietse takes a break from pedaling and pushes his bike up the Temple Fire Road.
My original plan was to backpack in here this weekend.  Glad I didn't. Wietse crosses a bridge over Corral Creek.  Ptarmigan Peak is shrouded by clouds at upper right.
This was a nice short cut through the trees. Wietse hikes up the "cutline" just north of the campground.
If you look closely, you can see the trail that Wietse is following. Wietse grinds his way up the slope.
We plunge-stepped down the snow on our return. The upper mountain is really socked in.
Wonder where the summit is... Wietse crosses the narrow section just before the summit.
Lovely summit views, eh? Despite the lousy weather, Sonny and Wietse are all smiles on the 3059-metre summit of Ptarmigan Peak.
Finally, we got some views as we were descending. The sky clears up to reveal Hidden Lake.
We were actually a bit off-route here. Wietse scree surfs past a pinnacle.
Doesn't look very inviting! This is the unnamed peak between Pika Peak and Ptarmigan Peak.
We got back on track here. Mount Redoubt dominates the background as Wietse continues to work his way down.
Ho hum... Wietse descends the lower slopes of Ptarmigan Peak.
Sure, the summit looks clear NOW! Here is one last look at (L to R) Pika Peak, unnamed, and Ptarmigan Peak from Temple Fire Road.
The return bike ride was the most thrilling part of the trip! Wietse rolls into Fish Creek parking lot after a quick ride down Temple Fire Road.