OverviewBenevolent Peak is an interesting climb found in an extraordinarily beautiful alpine valley. Technically, it is not a "peak" in the sense that it does not have 500 feet of prominence, which makes it a point instead. It is a point found between Bashful Peak (8005') and Baleful Peak (7990'). However, for historical reasons, Chugach climbers still recognize it as one of 21 7,000 foot summits in Chugach State Park (the "Western Chugach"), and it is a very worthwhile objective.
Getting ThereTo get to the base of Benevolent Peak, first drive 25+ miles north of Anchorage along the Glenn Highway. Exit at the Eklutna exit and follow the signs 10 more miles to the Eklutna Lakeside Trail parking area. Park here.
From the trailhead, hike, bike, or 4-wheel 10.5 miles along the Eklutna Lakeside Trail. Just before you reach a bridge between miles 10 and 11, you'll see a trailhead marker on the left side of the trail. This is the East Fork Trailhead. Follow this trail 2.5 miles until you reach Tulchina Falls. Turn left and head towards Tulchina Falls.
Then, let the fun begin! Find a hiker's path up on the right side of the falls. Follow this up through alder, willow, and devil's club 1000-1500 feet over then next 1/2 mile. Then sidehill up valley for another mile till you reach flatter ground. There are some great campsites in this area.
Note that this hiker's path is not at all easy. It's steep and at places very difficult to follow. There is at least one spot with a fixed rope and one other cliff you must surmount to get into the upper valley. Although it's difficult, the hike is also immensely interesting so enjoy!
Red TapeThe only real red tape issue here is that 4-wheelers can be driven only between Sunday and Wednesday.
Also, it costs $5 per day or takes a year Chugach State Park parking pass to park at the Eklutna Lake parking area.
CampingOnce you reach the East Fork Trail, camp wherever you'd like. The best camping however would be on or near the river bar just below Tulchina Falls or up in the meadows below Benevolent proper.
External LinksA further description of the trails around Eklutna Lake can be found here: http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/chugach/eklutrls.htm
RoutesWest Gully to North Ridge
Hike up valley from camp through the talus and scree slopes to reach a long narrow gully on the west side of the point. The left side of the gulley is overhanging nasty Chugach crud and the right side is a rib that runs from the summit down the western ramparts of this point.
Depending on the time of the year, work your way up steep scree or 35 degree snow till the gulley narrows a bit. Then continue onwards and upwards on mostly snow (average 45 degrees but up to 55-60 degrees close to the top) another 2500-3000 feet till you reach the North Ridge.
Walk up the North Ridge to the summit enjoying the spectacular views. Since Benevolent Peak is between the two tallest summits in this part of the Chugach, you'll get an especially spectacular show of those summits, namely Bashful and Baleful.
SW Gully to SE Ridge
This was the first ascent route and has been climbed other times as well but is a bit more technical than the other route. Work your way up and around cliff bands until you reach the SE Ridge. From there, it's at least 2 pitches of exposed 4th and easy 5th class rock up to the summit.