OverviewThis route is actually a traverse of many of the popular peaks in the Chugach State Park, starting in southeast Anchorage. It begins at the Glen Alps Parking lot on the Anchorage hillside, and finishes in Indian, south of Anchorage along the Seward Highway. This description is based on a single long day, including about 12.5-13 miles of travel (elevation changes not taken into account), and roughly 8,000 feet of elevation gain. To give an estimate, the only known link-up of the route took 13 hours. Start elevation is 2200', and the finish is around 30'.
Getting ThereStart at the Glen Alps trailhead for Chugach State Park (http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/units/chugach/trails.htm), located near the top of Toilsome Rd. Finish near Indianhouse Meats along the Seward Highway, or the Turnagain House Restaurant for a post-hike meal slightly farther down the road.
Route DescriptionBeginning at the Glen Alps parking lot (2200'), begin up the Flattop trail. After cresting Flattop, partially descend the backside, and continue up the ridgeline for Peak 2 and Peak 3, etc to Flaketop Peak (the highest point on this section of the ridgline). Continue to follow the ridge until you are forced to descend the scree slopes to the saddle on the east side of Ptarmigan Peak.
Crossing the saddle, continue up Ptarmigan Peak and continue along the east-west ridge. Try to stick true to the ridgeline, and you'll encounter some fun 3rd class at times. Eventually you'll come to Hope Point above Rabbit Lake. Continue to follow the ridge, descending to another saddle, and then continuing back up until the ridge splits three ways. Continuing to the east lies Homicide Peak (an out-and-back option to throw in if you'd like), however the traverse so named continues south to North Suicide.
THE RIDGELINE TO NORTH SUICIDE IS EXPOSED AND LOOSE! So be careful. Depending upon your route finding along the ridge, it should primarily be exposed 4th class. This is one of two short sketchy sections in the route, so exercise extreme caution as the rock is loose, exposure great, and consequences of a fall are most likely fatal. The ridgeline will hold a relatively constant altitude through the 4th class section, and then become an easier scree slope ascent up the north side of North Suicide, with the occasional scrambling required.
After summitting North Suicide, descend the standard route down it's south side to the saddle between it and South Suicide (about 1000' of down). Then up scree ascent of South Suicide, before turning back towards the eastern ridgeline heading towards Indianhouse Mtn. This ridgeline will descend gradually, and eventually come to a point where there is a small rise along the ridge. Gain this rise to stick to the ridge proper, then continue along the ridgeline.
Between this small rise and Indianhouse Mtn. lies the second sketchy portion of the climb, with hard 4th class, to easy 5th class climbing on loose, sketchy rock with dangerous exposure. For a few sections where the ridge drops off when trying to stay on the ridge proper, it may well be necessary to descend one of the southern gulley's partially to circumnavigate more dangerous sections before re-gaining the ridge - most likely via steep mossy, chossy, scrambling. This section of the route is only for those familiar with Alaskan scrambling, and comfortable with Chugach choss.