Ascent of Alaska Mountain on 2011-09-02

Climber: Richard Hensley

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, September 2, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Alaska Mountain
    Elevation:5745 ft / 1751 m

Ascent Trip Report

This hike was really about the Kendall Katwalk, but I wanted to go farther along the PCT and have a destination goal. So I picked this very rarely climbed little mountain. I didn't pay close attention to the few trip reports about the final summit climb because I expected to find a climber's trail from the PCT. I let the PCT take me to its highest point on Alaska's eastern ridge. There was a boot path about 15 feet up the ridge, and when I cut over to the right (north) side, I saw nothing but small animal trails. The south side appeared to involve some descending, so I didn't look there. The north side was a hassle: either steeply slanted growth to walk on or boulders. Also climbed a 20 foot rock that turned out to be a false summit. Worked my way around to just north of the summit block. The east side of this block appeared to involve some class 3 to 4 climbing that I didn't feel like doing. I chose to fight my way through the dense small pine trees on the west side, sometimes using limbs to pull myself up the very steep ground. For what it's worth, I set my Magellan Triton 1500 on the summit rock for an hour undisturbed, it quickly settled on 5748 for elevation. From the summit, the view north was blocked by higher mountains in the area; through the light haze I could see as far south as Mt. Adams. The views around the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and down into the Gold Creek Basin were nice, but I had already seen most of this from the PCT. In other words, there really isn't much reason to climb this. Certainly too much hassle for backpackers hiking through, and not very many people are into 18 mile day hikes. So how rarely is this climbed? When I took the more obvious way by zigzagging down the steep, sandy and rocky south face, I only briefly saw one set of bootprints. I rejoined the PCT just west of where it passes below a large rock outcropping on the south side of the mountain. From the satellite, it looks like there could be an easier way down along the southwest ridge once past all the dense pine growth near the top. Where the PCT crosses this ridge, however, I saw no evidence of this being used. Then again, how many people climb this?
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3997 ft / 1217 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3997 ft / 1217 m
    Round-Trip Distance:17.6 mi / 28.3 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
visibility 100 miles; little hazy in valleys
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3343 ft / 1018 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2689 ft / 820 m; Extra: 654 ft / 199m
    Loss on way in:654 ft / 199 m
    Distance:8.9 mi / 14.3 km
    Route:PCT, scramble east ridge
    Start Trailhead:Pacific Crest Trailhead  3056 ft / 931 m
    Time:4 Hours 16 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3343 ft / 1018 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2689 ft / 820 m; Extra: 654 ft / 199m
    Gain on way out:654 ft / 199 m
    Distance:8.7 mi / 14 km
    Route:south face, PCT
    End Trailhead:Pacific Crest Trailhead  3056 ft / 931 m
    Time:3 Hours 36 Minutes

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