JackKnife Mountain is reached via boat on Lake Aleknagik. The trail head is located on Camp Polaris at the base of JackKnife. The trail is simple called Mountain Trail. It's about 2 miles in length, so expect over a thousand feet per mile of elevation gain.
The first mile or so of the approach to the summmit is simple, just follow the trail through forest at first. The trail switchbacks for the first while then heads straight up the mountain. Eventually forest gives way to brush. Be especially careful at this point not to touch a leafy plant known as Wild Celery. It looks almost the same as Devil's Club, only without the spikes. If it gets on your skin it causes extreme sores and is very painful.
After breaking out of the brush the avalanche slope is encountered. This is where the real effort is in climbing JackKnife. It's a steep 35-40 degree ascent, sometimes steeper, up this loose rock for about half a mile. Even for a solid hiker like myself it look an hour to reach the top of this steep mountainside. Holding onto small plants to pull yourself up is helpful.
Upon reaching the ridgeline follow the trail to the left (Northwest) as it snakes along the rocky crest. This is an enjoyable last quarter mile or so to the summit of JackKnife. Only slight scrambling is needing for the final 10-20 feet to reach the spire of rock which is the summit of JackKnife Mountain. A box at the base of the summit holds a summit log. People from all over the United States have signed the log.
An Ice Axe would probably only be neccessary in winter. Since this mountain is usually only climbed in the summer months then I'd reccomend good hiking boots, warm clothing and plenty of water. There are no streams to filter from...so be prepared to bring water with you.
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