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Bold Peak

After enjoying one of the sunniest and warmest early summers in 35 years, south central Alaska has returned to its usual rainy summer self. In fact, August was one of the wettest in history. Awesome. So, I thought I’d put up a quick post from better days when the sun was high and temps warm. This was a great day on a big Chugach summit.

The Chugach range in this part of Alaska is a surprisingly imposing group of big peaks. Although not high by absolute standards, these seven and eight thousand foot peaks rise dramatically from almost sea level. Few trails and roads access these monsters making their summits rarely visited.

Not far from Anchorage is Eklutna Lake, a long, glacier-fed body of water not far off the Glenn Highway. It’s a busy trailhead popular with ATV enthusiasts and water sportsman. The lake is over 10 miles long and there’s a road and single track along its northern shoreline. It accesses some of the taller peaks in the range and Bold Peak was in our sites this day.

The threat of afternoon thunderstorms had us on our bikes uncommonly early, at least for this crew. The air was slightly crisp. Skies were clear and the winds calm. The 11 mile ride along the shore is a mix of 4-wheel drive road and fun single track. We hammered the approach in less than 50 minutes and were changing out of our MTB shoes and locking our bikes at the start of the hiking in short order.

There’s a good path initially but the ascent up to the main approach gully (Stiver’s) was a bit of a bush bash until tree line. After that, it was up a steep boulder field and then a loose, sketchy couloir with a fixed line hanging down.

Above that, we gained an upper valley that was choked with wild flowers and flowing with fresh water.

Still higher there was a snowfield to a saddle and the final 1,500 feet to the summit. Great views in all directions.

It was disappointing descending without skis but the scree fields eased the pain slightly. Down climbing the fixed line section was slightly sketchy with rock fall but we took our time one by one and were soon back in the alders yelling for bears.

I punched through and almost went subterranean.The ride back was hot but a dip in the lake at the conclusion made for a fine ending to a great day. Final tally was about 8.5 hours and 7,000 vertical feet.

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Reader Comments (2)

How is the bouldering without the snow? Can a dog that doesn't jump do it?

August 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAbe


I think any dog used to scrambling around in the mountains could deal with the steep sections without a problem. No jumping required.

August 31, 2014 | Registered CommenterBrian

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