"Shakuseyi Peak" (also known as Peak 3920 or Sevenmile Saddle Peak) is a beautiful peak in the Takshanuk Mountains northwest of Haines, which divide the Chilkat and Chilkoot River drainages. Along with Mount Ripinski
, both are beautiful peaks, but it’s the views of the surrounding mountains from Ripinski which are the star of the show. If you can hit it on a clear day, the views from Shakuseyi Peak are nothing short of stunning. To the southwest are the spectacular Cathedral Spires, to the southeast is the impressive Mount Sinclair, and all views to the north produce incredible views of a kaleidoscope of rugged un-named peaks rising straight out of the ocean.
We were lucky enough to climb Ripinski on a clear day and to extend the trip northwest to the summit of Shakuseyi Peak. If you can too, then it may be one of your most spectacular days ever. Despite the elevation of the mountains, out of all the alpine mountains I’ve climbed in the world, the views from the ridge between Ripinski and Shakuseyi Peak are probably the best I’ve seen from any non-technical peak.
The peak offers a choice of routes, including a 10 mile traverse over Ripinski and Shakuseyi Peak. While these mountains are usually easy climbs, don’t underestimate the peak, especially if you do the traverse. Remember that you start climbing right from near sea level and Southeast Alaska is notorious for bad weather.
Unlike Mount Ripinski, Shakuseyi Peak has a bit of scrambling required when climbing from the Southeast. Although officially un-named, some climbers refer to this peak as Shakuseyi Peak after the creek on its north slopes (Steve Gruhn information). Another good name for this peak might be "Bald Eagle Peak" since there are many of these majestic birds on the slopes of this mountain.
Shakuseyi Peak from Jones Gap.
Getting To Haines, Alaska
The first destination is Haines Alaska, which can be reached by road, plane or by ferry. If coming from places like the lower 48 states, the most economical way to get to Haines would be to fly to Juneau and take the ferry from there. No buses serve Haines, but you can take a bus to Skagway and then take the ferry from there.
Getting to Haines via Road, Plane or Ferry is a very scenic trip in itself, at least when the weather is good.
Kessler and Shaylee in Haines Alaska.
Getting to Haines
Haines is accessible by road from the Alcan Highway from Haines Junction, Yukon Territory. The highway is designated 3 on the Yukon side and SH7 on the Alaska side. The highway is 152 miles long (about 3.5 hours) and is a very scenic drive.
Wings of Alaska
has flight to Haines from both Skagway and Juneau.
The Alaska Marine Highway System
has ferries from both Juneau (3.5 hours) and Skagway (one hour) and is a relatively economical way to travel. The ferry terminal is north of town and a shuttle taxi service meets incoming ferries.
View from part of the Alaska Marine Highway between Juneau and Haines Alaska.
The Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry
has service to Haines from Skagway (35 minutes). This one drops you off right in Haines, so it’s a good service to use.
Looking out over the Chilkoot Inlet from the slopes of Mount Ripinski. The Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry can been seen below.
Getting to the TrailheadSevenmile Saddle Trailhead
This is the standard route up Shakuseyi Peak.
From Haines, drive the Haines Highway (or bike or take a taxi) 6.8 miles northwest to the trailhead on the right (north) side of the road. Park at one of the pullouts near the trailhead.
View of Mount Emmerich and the Cathedral Spires from not far above the Sevenmile Saddle Trailhead.
Peak 3920 can also be climbed from Mount Ripinski. Directions to the trailheads for Mount Ripinski are outlined below:
From Main Street in Haines, follow Second Avenue uphill to the north. After 0.3 miles, continue straight on Youngs Road. Follow Youngs Road to its end (the last part is on a fairly rough dirt road). The trailhead is about 1.7 miles from Main Street in Haines and can be walked to rather easily if you don’t have a car. Taking a taxi is another alternative.
Just west of Haines and from the Haines Highway (SH 7), Piedad Road heads north. The Piedad Trailhead is at the end of Piedad Road and is close enough to town that you could walk there without a car.
Routes OverviewSevenmile Saddle Route
This is the easiest route to the summit of Shakuseyi Peak. The trail is in good condition, but it is very steep at times, gaining almost 4000 feet elevation in 3.2 miles. Part of the trail is a little brushy, but that section is very short-lived.
See the route page for details.
A short scramble near the summit of Peak 3920
Mount Ripinski to Shakuseyi Peak Traverse
If you are up to it and if the weather is good, this is the route to take. It ascends Mount Ripinski first (via one of the above routes) and then follows the ridge west to Jones Gap. From Jones Gap, the trail continues along the ridge before climbing to the summit of Shakuseyi Peak. The route then drops to Sevenmile Saddle and down to the Sevenmile Saddle Trailhead. This route is 10 miles long and is very spectacular.
See the route page for details.
Looking west from the the traverse between Mt Ripinski and Shakuseyi Peak.
Be aware that some of the maps and guidebooks to the area are out of date concerning trailhead and trail conditions. Two useful publications are the Haines State Forest Mount Ripinski Trail System
and the pamphlet Haines is for Hikers
. Both are available (for free) in Haines, but you might have to search around a bit.
No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trails.
There are three places to camp around Haines.
Portage Cove is on Beach Road (east side of Chilkat Peninsula 0.5 miles southeast of Fort Seward (which is the southeastern part of Haines).
Chilkat State Park
is seven miles south of Haines along Mud Bay Road (west side of Chilkat Peninsula).
Bear Creek Cabins and Hostel
also allows camping and is the least expensive place to stay without a tent as well. It’s a nice place and is where we stayed.
Haines also has several hotels and lodges.
Backcountry camping is permitted. The area around Jones Gap between Mount Ripinski and Shakuseyi Peak makes a scenic campsite, though in late summer water might be scarce (in early or mid summer it shouldn't be a problem).
The area around Jones Gap is rather gentle and would make a good campsite.
When to Climb
Mid-June through mid-September is the normal hiking season. With easy access, winter ascents would be reasonable as well, though there can be avalanche danger on the highest slopes.
June can be a really nice time to climb since it’s the sunniest summer month, though there tends to be more snow around. July is excellent too while August and September are wetter and cloudier. Fall and winter tend to be quite wet.
Winters are much milder here than in interior Alaska.
View Southwest from near the summit of Shakuseyi Peak on a sunny day in late June.
Mountain ConditionsWeather Forecast for Takshanuk Mountains
Below is the National Weather Service Climate Summary of Haines. The data is from 1957-2010. This is the closest long term weather stations, but be aware that higher elevations will be wetter and colder. Haines is close sea level, so expect the temperatures on these mountains to be 10-15 degrees colder than in Haines.
|MONTH||AVE HIGH||AVE LOW||REC HIGH||REC LOW||AVE PREC (in)|