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.
We then turned west and followed sheep trails all the way across the ridge to the base of the peak. The route up East Twin followed a series of gullies on the east face that eventually deposited us on the East Ridge. On the ridge we were greeted with a series of cairns that we followed twisting up the ridge on both sides across boulderly class 3 sections and a few chimney moves. The route was pretty straight forward and at 2:30 we reached the summit.
Unfortunately clouds obscured our views to the south but the view across the Matanuska Valley and Knik Arm was perfectly clear. We sat around briefly enjoying the view and thumbing through the register. However, soon it began to snow so we turned tail and quickly descended the route and soon were back on the tundra at the base of the peak.
On the last bit of our hike out the clouds burned off once again and we were greeted to a panorama of fall colors.
East Twin – East Ridge – Class 3
The route up the East ridge ascends a series of gullies and ramps until you can finally gain the East Ridge around 5200′. From that point take the ridge to the summit. It is a fun exposed scramble that is often in shape from late spring through late fall.
Approach: Park at Eklutna Lake and hike up the Twin Falls trail to the bench. From the bench follow a faint trail north that drops down the the creek that drains East Twin and the up towards Twin Pass (the pass between East Twin and Pepper Peak). At the pass head West and follow sheep trails along the ridge to the base of East face of East Twin.
Route: At the base of the East face scramble up a series of gullies and chimneys until you can finally gain the East Ridge proper. Once on the ridge continue scrambling west choosing whichever side of the ridge is easiest. You will encounter several sections of exposed Class 3 and an occasional Class 4 step, however with good route finding you can avoid all the Class 4 rock. As you get higher the North side of the ridge offers easier travel.
Descent: Descend the route.