This is a dormant page that I mostly use to create body sections that I cut and paste into regular mountain pages. Some items on page are just experiments. Please ignore.
JLinks: Letter with historical information from Brig. General Bruce Staser, son of Harry Staser.
Chugach National Forest Brochure
BRexcept that the starting turnout has switched sides of the road in the 2011-12 highway upgrade.
Chugach National Forest Brochure
Crow Pass Trail guide (by Alaska Department of Natural Resources, or DNR)
DNR's map of the trail (blows up well for excellent detail)
Iditarod National Historic Trail
Description of initial portion of Crow Pass Trail (by Alyeska Resort)
Routes OverviewDeuxième Refuge.
Aileron RouteThe Aileron Route is the standard route up Pelée. It gets a lot of traffic during the middle of the day, but it's pretty much deserted at dawn. And you should go at dawn.
As a matter of fact, you should go before dawn. Here on the east side of Pelée, as well as on the summit cones, is the domain of the clouds--dark, dense, wet clouds, day after day after day. If you don't believe me, play the last 30 days of midday images from one of the Pelée webcams. This mountain is a cloud magnet, and the east side is the cloudiest side of a cloudy mountain. That said, if you leave the Aileron trailhead at 5 a.m., the odds are good that you'll beat the clouds, emerging at some point during your ascent into magical, clear views ... which might persist for an hour or two after dawn. Go for it. You can sleep in the afternoon, after you get down.
Grande Savane Route
A route with a tiny fraction of the usage of the Aileron Trail is the ascent of Pelée's west flank via "La Grande Savane" (the great savanna). This is a beeline route that doesn't have the scenic variation or interest of the Aileron, but it's not a bad choice for people who are getting a late start. This is because the west side is drier and less apt to be socked in by cloud, meaning you're likely to get at least some views on your way up, even if you don't get any on the summit.
The crux of the Grande Savane route is getting there. Drive north from Saint-Pierre on the D10 toward the village of Le Prêcheur. On the south end of that village, there is a signposted right turnoff for Pelée. Go straight up this, with no turns, till it dead-ends at trailhead parking, where there is space for a few vehicles. The 2000-foot climb up this single-track, overgrown, potholed road is extremely steep. I've done it (barely) in a rental Clio, but I left quite a bit of burned rubber and maybe a few bits of the undercarriage along the way.
The Grande Savane trailhead is at about 670 meters, leaving you 730 to ascend to the top, but since it lacks the ups and downs of the Aileron route, it may not be much more effort overall compared with that trail. The first 70 meters/200 vertical feet are in a pretty fern forest; after that, you're out in the wide open "savane," and this can be a blazing hot climb (don't forget the sunscreen). The path goes straight up through the tall grass, with an ascent grade of 25-35 percent. At 1155 meters, where it intersects the caldera trail near an automated weather station, you'll need to pay attention; the continuation of the trail eastward and upward toward the Troisième Refuge is a little hard to spot among the rocks and vegetation. Just remember that this path is direct--you need to look straight up.
The Grande Savane trail ends at the ruined Troisième Refuge, just below the Cône de 1902. Proceed from there as discussed in the Aileron Trail section.
For a map of the route, click here.
Aerilon: there is no aerilon at 11o5
Took us 2.5 to top, of which 55 mins to rim, 45 mins on final ridge. Return circuit abt 3 hrs
More diffiiclult more slippery rocks at each stage. 3rd is quite difficult footing on perpetually slimed rocks. Precip at top up to 8000 mm,
Our day views were dawn to 8:30 am, and very late in day after storm. Most hikers w midmorning start got nothing
Bear right at aerilon 100 meters from start (not completely obvious by headlamp, tho you not likely to go wrong in end). Steady grade gives way after a few 100 vertical feet to 200-300 stairs, followed by mixed stairs and light rock scrambling.
Descent to caldera steep stairs and a short scramble. Climb out steeper still, footing begins to get slimy on upper cone 1902.
Reaches ridge at 1050; turn R. To former aerilon pinnacle, then 50’ descent gives break.
Sometimes a bit overgrown, but always will come back to excellent w/in a few yds
WATCH for the yellow Xs. They stop you from wrong turns, such as to secondary summit.
Precheur route 1st 200 vertical in shade then steady uphill w few switchbacks on mowed trail. Appears to be a bit monotonous—upper 500’ certainly is, on open slope w/o the features of the caldera that make upper aerilon so interesting. But no waste of effort, no descent into caldera or from 1902, so overall vertical from 600 m may be not much more. Views all same on way up whereas aer gets new perspectives as you go—if you can see. Clearly less used.
Precheur road marked off D10, south end of town. Straight up no turns. Done in Clio, some burned rubber. Parking for a few vehicles at top.
(Photo: Tempest Anderson, 1902, public domain)
3 4th class sections: short face w some exposure (big but potentially slippery holds), low angle not exposed chimney (low 5th class w/o using rope), rabbit hole (awkward but rope not essential)
As afternoon turned to evening on April 22 and the shadow of Petit Piton thrust like a lance across the Rabot battlefield, the British force …