On June 25th Yvonne and I opted to give Bold Peak (7522') a try. We drove to Eklutna on Saturday morning and by 8:45 am were biking in. The bike ride (10 1/2 miles) went by fairly quickly despite us not having biked more than once this summer. By 10 am we had cached our bikes, changed and began hiking down the East Fork of the Eklutna trail.
The trail leading up the East Fork of the Eklutna was in good shape and we made quick progress and soon reached the spot where the creek coming out of Stivers Gully crosses the trail. Here we poked around in the brush for a few minutes looking for the trail and soon found it leading upstream on the east side of the creek. We followed it up, crossing back and forth on either side and by 10:30 had emerged from the brush onto the talus slopes that make up the base of Stivers Gully.
From that point on, the route was fast and straight forward. I fully expected a much harder route but the climb is essentially a huge scree gully that is pretty low angle. We cruised up the lower talus slopes until we entered a canyon-like feature with huge walls on either side. This portion had snow in it so the walking was even faster. At 12 we reached the portion of the route where the canyon constricts and you're forced to ascend a steep gully and finally crawl up an exposed rock rib. There is a fixed rope here which, in dry sunny weather, isn't needed; however in wet conditions it is much appreciated (as we were to find out). ( Read more... )
On Labor Day weekend Yvonne and I climbed East Twin (5863'). I had previously tried this peak a total of three times; each time I barely made it to the base before turning around for a myriad of reasons.
On Saturday. September 2nd Yvonne and I left town in rain and drove to Eklutna. It was still cloudy at the parking lot but at least it wasn't raining. With hopes dimmed of getting up the peak, we left the parking lot with the goal of at least checking out the route. The walk up was in dense fog and after getting above treeline, we walked around in swirling fog before finally opting to head back down. This was my third time turning around on this peak; although this time it could hardly be called an attempt.
Sunday, September 3rd dawned with a dense fog that began to burn off around 9 am. We headed back up to Eklutna and at 10:45 started hiking up the Twin Peaks trail. As we ascended, it got warmer and the sun began burning off the fog in the valley below.
We soon reached the top of the labeled trail where we turned off on the slight footpath heading down to the creek that flows off of East Twin Pass. We then began booting up a good trail and at 1 pm, we reached Twin Pass where we were greeted with a herd of Dall sheep that traversed the ridge in front of us. ( Read more... )
The season is upon us. Gone are the weekend mornings of leisurely starts and sleeping in till 7:30 and meeting at 8:30. The sun rises at 5:55 am and sets at 9:57 pm. Although it doesn't make any sense, we argue that because the days are longer we should get up earlier so we can have a longer day. Thus we go to bed on Friday night and set the alarm for 5am. It beeps at 5 and I jump in the shower to wake up; an hour later we're driving north - skis, pickets, ropes and plastic boots in the truck. We want to try Granite Peak but as we get closer the rains come and just past Palmer we pull over, disappointed and turn back to Anchorage. It is 7:30. ( Read more... )
Up from Ram Valley to the ridge E of Significant. Up Peak 5320'. Down and up again to the bumb NW of Peeking. Down to Peters Creek. Up to the base of the W. Ridge of Bees Heaven for some sleep. Up the W. Ridge of Bees Heaven then down the East ridge then up the long ridge to Thunderbird Peak. Then down the loooonnng ridge to the spillway across Eklutna Lake. 21 miles, 12K vert. And although Kim Gordon doesn't necessarily conjure images of pastoral Chugach ridge walks - her screams generally keep me going for hours... thus the music.
...then the fun started. What in May had been a simple skin now required a traverse across a shifting groaning rock glacier. The traverse started with a jog across the Bellicose/Benign gully to a safe-enough zone where we transitioned from sneakers to mountain boots. Then up and across the rock glacier which consisted of glacier ice covered with mud and rock that shifted with every step. It should be mentioned that above the rock glacier is wall of loose rock that is routinely shedding the ubiquitous microwave-sized block... ( Read more... )
Read more for additional pictures and a ridiculously detailed route description. ( Read more... )
These are old pictures from a trip that Yvonne, Eric and I did on September 11-12, 2010. I put up a video a couple years ago but never edited the photos, but since it's been an Eklutna summer I decided to go through them and post some of the better ones. ( Read more... )
We got there easy enough: 7 hours to our base camp at Blue Eyed Lake through devils club, cow parsnip and fireweed that towered over the head, muddy steep alder tunnels and up and down 2000' of scree and snow to a secluded lake where we got some much needed sleep. Then up and over Inferno Pass which lies tucked into the shadow of Devils Mistress, down the West Fork of the Eklutna, curling around to a final glacier headwall full of crevasses that we kept punching though, up a steep loose rock gully that shed torso size boulders with little effort, and up steep scree until we were finally standing on a platform looking at a buttress of rock that was not going to let us easily pass. ( Read more... )
Benign Peak, at 7235', is one of the 21 7,000' summits in Chugach State Park and one of the few 7,000' summits you can do in a day. ( Read more... )
Notes and photos from a fun day on Goat Rock. ( Read more... )
...Anywhere else in Chugach State Park, Baneful Peak at 5,495', would be a worthy objective - but when dwarfed by 6,000', 7,000' and 8,000' peaks like Bashful, Baleful and The Mitre, it seems trivial and hardly worth the effort. And so we halfheartedly started our scramble up the grassy tundra slopes just above treeline. However - within a couple hundred feet the ridge quickly transformed from a tundra stroll to an exposed 3rd class scramble as we gained elevation. The north side of the ridge was a 1500' cliff to our left - and the south side of the ridge was a 4000' steep slope on our right. We scrambled on - every step of the way becoming a little more intricate and interesting. ( Read more... )
Icicle Peak route profiles and pictures. ( Read more... )
The Watchman is one of those peaks that hides in plain sight. Even though the peak is 6410', its proximity of other large peaks causes it to be easily overlooked. From afar it looks like little more than a sub-peak of Benign, even through technically it's a peak (as in there is 500' of prominence separating the summit from the actual summit of Benign), and lies over a mile from the true summit of Benign. That said, with neighbors like Benign, Bellicose, Bashful and the Mitre it's easy to understand why it's often overlooked. ( Read more... )