Friday, June 4th 2021
So I did what I was good at and rambled on, into the night…
Friday night after work found me at the end of the Usibeli Coal Mine Road and making way for Dora Peak. The bugs were ferocious down below and so I hardly took a break until I came to the summit of my first peak; Peak 4100. What laid ahead I didn’t have much an idea of. But I had two days and two legs and with them I would ride the ridge as far back as I could while still leaving enough time to get back by Sunday nightfall. At the end, I’d learn a good deal about these free-roaming hills beyond Dora Peak.
I topped Peak 4100 at 11:20pm. Then down to the 3500′ saddle before a midnight slog up to 5572′ Dora Peak which I assumed had been climbed since it bore a name. After the trip I’d be informed my predecessor was southcentral legend Richard Baranow joined by his partner S. Harris. climbing Dora Peak in 1987.
Saturday, June 5th 2021
Dora Peak was gained pretty easily, starting on the lower north ridge, wrapping to the wide gully at its east, and then (after dropping my pack on the ridge) clambering up the remaining of the east ridge.
The views from the top were some great, quite typical of Alaska summits. Along the way to my own camp, I found some (likely) sheep camp spots where rocks would be stacked in a ring to serve as windbreak.
I made camp at a low point on the ridge and got some rest from 4am till 8am. I knew I had to get a move early because the forecast had called for some weather later in the day and through the following night: I could get a full nights rest later.
So I woke up to my alarm, and kept rolling, rolling on a side-hill to what would be my favorite peak of this trip: Peak 4753′. It was a joyful morning. Along the sidehilling, water was found freely flowing and I took stock. I left my pack near the saddle and at 10:10am arrived atop Peak 4753.
I took a lot of photos atop Peak 4753. But from Peak 5500 onward to Peak 6100 I must have felt pressed for time since I took less than usual. And besides, the views weren’t changing all too much and they were repetitive miles I knew I’d have to retrace on my return trip. Again, I found human activity between Peak 5500 and Peak 6100 in the form of a rock ring. Near the top of Peak 6100 I found a piece of wood that, though old, looked like it’d been cut by tools, even closer to the top I found another, this one with nails in it. Topping out at 3pm, a bronze plaque announced to me the presence of a 1924 surveyor crew. Being nearly 100 years old, it’s likely none of them are alive anymore.
The way back up n’ over Peak 5500 was equally uneventful. I hastened my step more seeing the incoming weather and wishing for my clothes to still be dry when I zip into the tent and into the sleeping bag. After a dinner and some bible study, I rested well; from about 12 at night till 12 in the afternoon. The weather was actually quite nasty through the night. Better to be in the tent sleeping than out walking.
Sunday, June 6th 2021
A new day came and it was back to sunshine. I packed up my things and made way north over Peak 4987. This would require less elevation gain than returning over Dora Peak and would be something different.
On maps, Peak 4987 is the southern 5000′ contour line and another 5000′ contour ring is to the north. I surveyed both points (by a simple mans water bottle level) from the tops of each other and I found them to be quite close in elevation, but with the southern one (Peak 4987) feeling sliiiiightly higher. But it made of little difference to me since I was passing over both regardless.
I putzed around hopeful to discover a bridge (which would imply a trail), saving me from both wet feet and bushwhacking. I pressed myself with trying to answer the question of how all the heavy machinery got lugged in because solving that riddle would yield the path of least resistance. Ultimately I gave up and waded Cripple Creek, then schwacked up to a reclaimed area of land and found a trail to finish on.
Back at the car I enjoyed a beer I’d stashed in the river to keep cool. By 9:00pm I was returned to the quaint town of Fairbanks, Alaska.
One thought on “Beyond Dora Peak”
I’m just beginning to understand why you love hiking soo much. The pictures are awesome and your trail updates are an enjoyable broadcast to hikers so that they might gain valuable tips for their next adventure! Stay Safe!!