Peters Peak (Northwest Ridge)

Peters Peak sits on the ridgeline south of Rumble and west of Bellicose.  Dwarfed by these two peaks it is easily overlooked, however the Northwest Ridge features a wonderful airy Class 4 ridge-walk. Getting to the base of the peak takes the better part of a day and the remoteness combined with the short technical traverse makes for an excellent 2-3 day trip.

To get there first head up and over Bombardment Pass and down into the Peters Creek via the sheep highway that is due north of Bombardment Pass. Once you reach the pass turn immediately left and hike up until you hit the trail.  You can go straight down and bash through the talus (which appears to be a rite of passage for those who can’t find the trail), but if you hunt around for the sheep trail you’ll have a well-traveled trail all the way to Peters Creek.

Lee on the sheep trail just below Bombardment Pass.

A view of Peters Peak from the valley below Bombardment.

Lee across Peters Creek.

At Peters Creek work your way across the creek and camp on the bench at the base of the valley between Rumble and Peters. This is a wonderful campsite and I recommend you hike up valley a couple hundred feet (to around 3300’) so you have a good view of the valley when setting up camp.

Peters Peak itself is the peak due east of the campsite.  Hike up-valley until around 4700’ until you are past the initial cliff bands on the north side of the 5400’ bump, then turn and work your way up the snow / remnant glacier until you can reach a sub-ridge at 5500’. Next start right up the face and work your way to the ridgeline.

Looking up at the face you ascend to reach the NW Ridge proper.

This sounds complicated but if you can see the route is obvious.  Basically hike up valley till you can gain the bump west of the Northwest Ridge proper. Next gain the ridge by scrambling up 500’ of extremely loose blocks until you finally gain the ridge.

Lower part of the NW ridge.

Middle part of the NW Ridge.

Final Class 4 pitch to the summit.

The Northwest Ridge was first climbed by Steve Johnson in 1991 and it is a classic Chugach scramble.  From where you gain the ridge to the final airy summit pitch is about 2000’ vertical feet of Class 3, however you only gain about 500’. Eventually the ridge pinches down and the final 300’ is very exposed with a few Class 4 moves. Reverse the route to descend.

We had poor conditions so my photos aren’t so great – so I’ve included Ross Noffsinger’s excellent video from an August 2012 ascent of Peters Peak below. This is a great overview of the route and gives you a view of what the exposed summit ridge is like (and what kind of protection you need).

Northwest Ridge route up Peters Peak. Note – this is not a GPX import so do not treat it as such.

Lee Helzer and I climbed the route in early August and were in a light mist for most of the day.  Because of the wet slick rock we opted to belay the final few hundred feet and carried long slings / cord that we used to wrap several rock horns and adequately protect the route.  The final summit traverse was especially fun and we were bummed to be in the fog and not enjoy the dizzying view down to Wall Street Glacier to our east.

We reversed the route, belaying 500’ or so of the most exposed rock and then carefully downclimbed the rest of the route.  At one point we got off-route briefly when the fog obscured a sub-ridge that dropped down to Wall Street, but we quickly figured out our mistake.

Lee reversing the summit traverse pitch.

Lee descending the NW Ridge.

It took us 4 hour to get to the top form camp and 2 hours to reverse the route back to the bench. At the bench we opted to drop down a scree gully and explore the Raisin Glacier, but had we continued back to camp it would have taken us another hour.  I’d say in good dry conditions you could easily climb the peak in 6 hours roundtrip from camp.

After dropping down from Peter’s, Lee and I hiked across the Raisin Glacier and scrambled up Transcendence Pass with thoughts of possibly attempting Moonlight.  Getting up Transcendence Pass in late summer is no easy task and we had to ascend near vertical dirt before reaching the scree gully that took us to the col.  Once at the col we looked at the open bergschrund on Moonlight and quickly turned tail and headed back to camp.

Lee across the Raisin Glacier.

Approaching the neve line on the Raisin.

Old mining ruins on the Raisin Glacier.

Lee on the climb up to Transcendence Pass.

Lee on top of Transcendence Pass.

North glacier of Moonlight Mountain. Would be a great spring ski!

Asleep within minutes of laying down and then up early for another day.  Lee opted to scramble up Rumble while I opted for another hour of sleep plus a leisurely hike back.  Over the pass by 9am and followed a side trip to the top of Pleasant via the South Gully.

Then back down to the valley floor where I took a nap until Lee caught up with me and we continued back to the car in the late afternoon fog.