Ascent of Shaker Peak on 2016-01-16

Climber: Ryan Johnston

Others in Party:Ryan Johnston -- Trip Report or GPS Track
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, January 16, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Shaker Peak
    Elevation:5089 ft / 1551 m

Ascent Trip Report

A pretty rough 6 hour and 20 minute journey up to the summit and back, from the Eklutna Lake Parking Lot. There is no established trail for this peak that I could find, so I walked the road to the north of the lake to the outermost point at approximately mile 1.5 and just shot straight up through the woods. About a quarter of a mile through the mixed forest I ran into a cliff that was about a quarter mile wide and about 500 feet tall. Rather than go around I decided to go for it and work my way up the cliff utilizing the best route I could see from the bottom. It was really icy, but with YakTraks and some caution I managed to make my way to the top. From here there's another strip of mixed forest and some scrub you have to work through to make it up into the open terrain. The problem this day was encountered in this area, where the recently wind-blown snow had accumulated. On this particular day I decided to pack the crampons and ice axes, but chose to leave the snowshoes in the car. Bad idea! I could've certainly used the snowshoes through this nearly quarter mile section of the journey. Instead I had to plow my way through the deep snow and expend a lot more energy than I had expected to on this journey. Due to my late start (11 am) and the shortness of the day this time of year, my original goal of Salt Peak summit was shot, after taking way too much time in the deep snow, if I wanted to make it back to the car before it got completely dark. I did however manage to make it to the summit of this previously unnamed peak, right behind a flock of 20 Dall Sheep. From the top I could see Denali and Hunter in the distance over the Talkeetnas, all of Palmer, Eklutna Lake, and all the way across the Knik Arm to Spur and the other southwest Alaska Range volcanoes. It would have been nice to accomplish my original goal of Salt Peak, but all-in-all this was a really nice summit and well worth the effort. The ascent took right at 4 hours, and due to a lack of energy about halfway through the descent I ended up taking about 2 hours and 20 minutes to get back to the car. The ridge top was extremely windy, almost devoid of snow on the wind-torn south and east facing slopes, with deep piles and some small cornices of snow on the west and north facing slopes. The only really icy areas were between 1,500' and 2,500' elevation.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4204 ft / 1281 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.4 mi / 10.3 km
    Trailhead:Eklutna Lake Parking Lot  885 ft / 269 m
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 20 Minutes

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