Great traverse from Ripinski to 3920
After spending the night at the Bear Creek Cabins, Kessler and I caught a ride out to the Skyline Trailhead with the owner of the cabins since he was headed out to town anyway.
It was a beautiful and clear day and we made our way up the mountain through the forest. Not long after starting the hike, we met a seemingly nice, but delusional old man hiking the trail. After having a short and strange conversation with the man we pushed on.
After we emerged from the forest, the views got better and better as we got higher and higher up the mountain. Since the weather was so clear the views of the surrounding mountains were very impressive.
We made our way rather quickly to the summit of Mount Ripinski. I thought views from Mount Juneau were spectacular (and they are), but views from Ripinski-Peak were absolutely stunning. The views of the Cathedral Spires and other peaks (hundreds and hundreds of them) are much more spectacular than even places like the Tetons, Wind Rivers and the North Cascades (and I'm from Washington).
We had originally planned to climb Ripinski only, but the weather was fantastic and it was still early. We had been told that the traverse from Mount Ripinski to Peak 3920 takes 2 or more days, but looking at the map the route seemed quite reasonable.
After lunch, we set off towards Peak 3920 seeing many bald eagles and mountain goats along the way. The traverse wasn’t too hard and we made our way along the ridge towards Peak 3920. Along the way we saw some HUGE brown bear tracks. Just before the summit there was a nice and short vertical scramble (it had a fixed chain up it somewhere, but at the time we didn’t know this and missed it) before we reached the summit.
After enjoying more fantastic alpine views we headed down the mountain and to the Seven Mile Trailhead. It was a steep route down and we saw one other climber along the way.
We had completed the alpine traverse of Mount Ripinski and Peak 3920 in 8 hours. This included 10 miles of rugged terrain with 5100 feet elevation gain. Kessler (age 9) had a great time and it was one of the best days ever.
It only took less than a minute to catch a ride that would take us back to Haines. The lady who picked us up said she didn’t want to see a child standing out there in the hot sun. It was about 68 degrees outside, but hey, this is after all Alaska.