West Slopes

Page Type
Alaska, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hiking, Mountaineering
Summer, Fall
Time Required:
Half a day

Route Quality: 0 Votes

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West Slopes
Created On: Oct 15, 2007
Last Edited On: Nov 5, 2007


The western slopes route is the most logical and direct path to the summit. The route is quite steep with over 4,000’ of elevation gain in just three miles. Aside from the angle, the climb is relatively easy going when dry. In wet conditions, expect to run into slippery sections of rock, grass, and mud. It should also be noted that this slope is prone to avalanche (even in summer) when loaded. Check the conditions prior to heading up. As you ascend, you’ll encounter vegetation and terrain changes from boreal forest up to tundra, and on to exposed rock. Aside from great views, the final ridge makes this climb worth the effort. Enjoy a quick, fairly easy, and exposed scramble before topping out.


Begin at the Bird Creek Valley Trailhead. Walk down a dirt road (closed to cars, but open to ATVs and snow machines) for approximately 100 yards to a fork. Take the right fork and continue for about ½ mile to a trail breaking uphill to the right. This is the line to the top.

Route Description

Penguin Peak TopoRoute Topo
Follow the trail through boreal forest up into a wide valley of tundra. The trail winds alongside and over a small stream. During dry conditions, the stream and trail can be confused. If you are concerned about your descent route, leave a small cairn to mark your turns. Remember to leave no trace and remove your cairns on the way out. The trail thins as you leave tree line and reach open tundra. However, traces of trail can be picked up as the valley leads to the summit ridge. A radio tower will come into view as you climb out of the valley. Head up toward the tower to gain the talus slope leading to the final summit ridge. Before heading up, take a moment to take in the views of the Turnagain Arm. From the tower, climb north up 1000’ of talus to a false summit. There is a subtle path up the talus that provides some switchbacks and a decent line. This section can be managed fairly easily without finding the path as long as some caution is used in regards to loose rock and rockfall potential. The summit is now just across the obvious ridge. Enjoy a fun scramble with exposure en route to the prominent summit cairn. A summit log should be located amongst the rocks of the cairn.

Descent: Retrace the ascent route.

Essential Gear

Standard hiking gear is appropriate for non-snow condition ascents. Be sure to include rain gear, as precipitation along the Turnagain Arm is a common inconvenience.

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chugach mtn boy

chugach mtn boy - Jul 12, 2011 4:43 pm - Hasn't voted

Critter Precautions

This trail in grizzly country doesn't get much traffic, and the bottom 2500 feet are in very heavy brush where it would be easy to surprise a bear at waaaay closer range than you want. Make noise and carry spray.

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West Slopes

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