West Ridge

Page Type
Alaska, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Half a day
Rock Difficulty:
Class 3

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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West Ridge
Created On: Aug 23, 2012
Last Edited On: Aug 23, 2012


The West Ridge route on Ptarmigan peak is the standard route and a classic Chugach scramble. Although it is a walk-up, it is by no means an easy route. The climbing is Class 3 on typical Chugach crud. However, the route in particular, and Ptarmigan Peak in general, have some good rock to monkey around on. This route is a great first harder climb for aspiring Chugach climbers. Also, it is a nice training route to get or stay in shape for longer ascents.

Getting There

Start from either Glen Alps or Rabbit Creek Trailhead. Go up valley about 3 miles and head into Ptarmigan Pass. From Glen Alps, Ptarmigan Pass will be to your right (south) up a narrow gully, and it is on the left (north) side from the Rabbit Creek Trail.

It is noteworthy that parking at Glen Alps costs $5 or requires a Chugach State Park parking pass. This trailhead is often very overcrowded, esp. on good weather days. But it makes a great start if you want to bike in, cutting the trip to and from Ptarmigan Pass in half at least.

Finally, Ptarmigan Pass makes a very nice place to camp as well as embark on peak bagging. Ptarmigan Peak lies to the east and Flaketop Peak lies to the west.

Route Description

From Ptarmigan Pass, head up the obvious West Ridge of Ptarmigan Peak. Follow the ridgecrest until you run into rocky cliffs (5th class). Traverse up and right along a small climbers' path. Choose a gully to turn left into, and climb up through a hundred feet or so of Class 3 terrain. This is the crux. Continue scrambling up Class 2/3 terrain to the bouldery west summit.

To reach the taller east summit, continue following the ridge till you hit the summit block. Traverse south (right) around the peak and look for a gully going up and left toward the true summit. Scramble up Class 3 terrain to the summit.

Essential Gear

A helmet is advised but not necessary for this climb. Also, in the winter, an ice axe and crampons are essential.

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West Ridge

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