Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

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tguha

 
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Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by tguha » Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:39 am

Hi All,

Greetings.
I am looking for some options in Alaska for some peak bagging without spending the $500+ Tax Flight.
What are the Peaks/Glacier High Mountain - Mountaineering option in - Late Spring (May End) with cheapest possible air taxi cost (Between 200-300 round trip drop off).

Any - Suggestions/Opinions are welcome.

With Regards
TG

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Scott

 
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Re: Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by Scott » Sat Jan 20, 2018 6:29 am

In Southeast Alaska and the Panhandle you can access many glaciated mountains by ferry boat. Haines and the Haines Highway is a good place to start.

Also, the Richardson Highway has many big glaciated peaks (Alaska Range) that can be accessed by road, especially along the highway between Paxon and Black Rapids.

You can also drive to McCarthy in the St Elias Range.

I don't know how much it would cost to fly into the Juneau Icefields, but it's not that far from Juneau, so it may be worth looking into. Areas near the coast do tend to have bad weather though.

Denali National Park is another option. There are many peaks that can be accessed from the road at Wonder Lake, including My Brooks, but many others as well.

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Re: Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by chugach mtn boy » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:25 pm

Even $500RT will not get you far with an air taxi. There are some interesting places where the dropoff plus pickup comes to about that, but they are not among the biggest mountains. For $200? Dream on. So Scott is right to steer you more toward basing from the roads and Marine Highway ports.

If you don't care about raw elevation, you could spend a lifetime peak-bagging in the Chugach Mountains right behind Anchorage. The 7-8,000 footers in this region are similar to 9,000-footers in the North Cascades. They have a lot of vertical relief and can be quite challenging. They will be very, very snowy in May, at least in a normal year.

If you are looking for height, 16,000-foot Mt. Sanford (in the Wrangells) is the big one that I've heard of people doing from the road in late spring. But they were extremely fit and experienced people.

Wonder Lake, which Scott mentioned, can be a base for some good-sized Alaska Range peaks if you have a few days for the approach. But it can't be reached in May--the road will still be closed.

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Re: Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by Sunny Buns » Sun Jan 21, 2018 5:45 am

Recommendations above are good ones. How long will you be on the ground in Alaska?

I will add one more - the Denali Highway between Cantwell and Paxson. Back in the late 70s it was a good gravel road - not sure now - Wikipedia says it has lots of washboard and dust.
It runs east/west just south of the Alaska range. Many beautiful snow peaks are visible. As best as I remember, you're a few miles south of them (looks like 20 miles on Google Earth, but some are closer), so you'd have to park and hike in over the tundra, possibly also thru willows. Each mile off-trail is much harder than on a trail. There may be some trails - I'd search link below (and others) for info. Check distances/terrain on Google Earth. Don't know when the road opens.

http://www.newsminer.com/features/outdo ... b144a.html

http://www.alaska.org/guide/denali-highway

Mt. Hayes - photo from Google Earth. http://www.panoramio.com/photo/78259848 ... google.com

Mt. Deborah: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Deb ... er_reading

You might be able to hike in to near this location on Google Earth and set up a basecamp: 63.475356, -147.081993 Looks like 25+ mile hike from Denali Highway. From that BC you might be in position to try Mt. Hayes (13+K) - (63.620003, -146.717534) or an unnamed 12,000+' peak at 63.559268, -146.617673 Maybe that one would be a first ascent and you can name it, write a book, etc. :mrgreen:
Have I ever done any of that? Nope. But it looks fun sitting in my arm chair. :D

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Re: Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by chugach mtn boy » Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:25 pm

It pains me to say it, since he is wrong about everything else :wink: but SB has a decent suggestion about the Denail Highway. Nowadays MacLaren River Lodge will take you up the river to the edge of the mountains for $50 a person, which avoids a lot of brushy hiking.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN4Y4bEg7FU

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Re: Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by Scott » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:05 am

I believe the main reason that peaks such as Deborah and Hayes are seldom approached overland is because the river crossings are said to be extremely dangerous. You almost have to do it in winter and early spring when the rivers are still frozen.

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Re: Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by Steve Gruhn » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:02 pm

The unnamed peak cited by Sunny Buns is known as Moby Dick and was first climbed in 1964. See page 404 of the 1965 American Alpine Journal, page 106 of the 1972 AAJ, and page 223 of the 2002 AAJ.

I would disagree with Sunny Buns, though, about planning a trip on the Denali Highway in late May. The highway usually opens in late May, so you wouldn't want to go through all of your preparations only to find that the road won't be open until three days before you have to leave.

You could packraft across the Delta River from the Richardson Highway and ascend the Black Rapids Glacier to access that area, but that adds some more complexity to your trip.

That said, Alaska is home to tens of thousands of peaks, so you needn't be constrained by air travel; many of them are accessible from the road - with accessible peaks in the Kenai Mountains, Chugach Mountains, Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska Range, Wrangell Mountains, Brooks Range, White Mountains, Tanana Hills, and Coast Mountains. Alaska is vast in extent (overlain on a map of the contiguous U.S., parts of it would be west of California, east of South Carolina, north of Minnesota, and south of Arizona), though, so if you were to narrow down your area of interest, you might be able to receive some more detailed information.

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Re: Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by Sunny Buns » Wed Jan 24, 2018 3:25 am

The unnamed peak cited by Sunny Buns is known as Moby Dick and was first climbed in 1964. See page 404 of the 1965 American Alpine Journal, page 106 of the 1972 AAJ, and page 223 of the 2002 AAJ.


Thanks Steve! I thought it was a tad weird for a 12,000'+ peak to not have a name. There's a photo of it on this website, along with photos of many other Alaska Range peaks:

http://www.planetmountain.com/en/news/a ... reall.html

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Re: Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by Steve Gruhn » Sat May 12, 2018 8:28 am

The Denali Highway won't be open until June 1.

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2018/05 ... ing-crews/

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Re: Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by Steve Gruhn » Mon May 21, 2018 7:36 pm


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Re: Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by Ryan J Thomas » Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:17 am

Anyone looking for a climbing partner to bag some of these summits? I'm living in Alaska and not too far off. Looking to climb in the fall.

I'm especilly interested in climbing some of the mountains tucked away deeper in the park and hopefully bag some first ascets, but I will climb anything.

rthomas5577@gmail.com btw ;D

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Re: Climbing Options - Alaska Range/Chugach/Haines/St. Elias

by ExcitableBoy » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:11 pm

I sold off my entire Alaska kit so I would not be tempted to go back again. It used to be a cheap destination, but with the high cost of airline tickets, extremely restrictive baggage rules, shuttle costs, and air taxis, I realized I could climb in the Andes and enjoy better weather for the same cost or less.


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