Ascent of Kootznoowoo Peak on 2013-08-12

Climber: Ben Still

Date:Monday, August 12, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Kootznoowoo Peak
    Elevation:4800 ft / 1463 m

Ascent Trip Report

Kootznoowoo Peak "Fortress of the Bears"
GPS summit elevation 4842'
Highest point on Admiralty Island and in the Kootznoowoo Wilderness Area.
photos at the link below:

A video Mike made of the trip can be found here:

Flew into Lake Florence from Juneau with a seaplane and were dropped off at the East Florence Cabin on the east end of the lake on August 11th, 2013. Started bushwhacking that morning at 9am behind the cabin to the old logging roads. Roads very overgrown with alders and clear cut about as thick as it can get without needing a chainsaw to get through. Took the logging road around the east end of the lake to the outlet stream coming out of the valley leading to this peak. Bushwhacked through thick clear cut for a quarter mile into a beautiful moss covered old growth forest. This lasted for half a mile until the devils club, various bushes, and windfall made things interesting. What looked like meadows from google earth were waist deep swamp so we had to veer around what was thought to be the easy part. Lots of deer sign, not much bear sign at all considering this island has the most dense population of brown bears in the world.

Guessing we were far enough up valley to start working up the north slopes of the west ridge of the peak we began the ascent through much easier terrain until around 2000' we hit the wall of vertical brush. We soloed up this using our ice axes in the moss and hooking the occasional tree until we were just too exposed to continue unroped. We roped up for the last 150' of near vertical brush to treeline at 2500'. We continued up to 3000' and made camp after 8 hours of travel. The peak looked difficult so we decided to rest until the morning and have a full day to climb the peak.

We awoke at 4am and were climbing at 5am. Up to the west ridge and then hiking until we were scrambling and startling deer which were acting like mountain goats perched high in the alpine terrain. We traversed around several gendarmes mostly class 3 until the final summit block which offered more of the same class 3 with a move or two of class 4. We arrived on the summit at 7am, much quicker than anticipated. The views from the summit are amazing! A sea of mountains and waterways in all directions. Very rugged! No sign of a previous ascent so we built a cairn on the summit.

We made our way back down the west ridge to camp by 8am. Took a rest and broke camp and continued down to the vertical brush. We looked around for another route and found only bigger cliffs so we made four 100 foot rappels down to the easier ground. Once on the valley floor we made our way back through the thick brush to the logging roads and back to the East Florence Cabin by 4pm. We ate an early dinner and crashed out in the cabin for the night. Our plane arrived the next day and we flew back to Juneau. An awesome trip to a very remote peak in the jungles of southeast Alaska.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5565 ft / 1695 m
    Total Elevation Loss:5565 ft / 1695 m
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Rope, Tent Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:5165 ft / 1574 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4665 ft / 1422 m; Extra: 500 ft / 152m
    Loss on way in:500 ft / 152 m
    Start Trailhead:Lake Florence Cabin East  135 ft / 41 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:5065 ft / 1543 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4665 ft / 1422 m; Extra: 400 ft / 121m
    Gain on way out:400 ft / 121 m
    End Trailhead:Lake Florence Cabin East  135 ft / 41 m

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