Our Days in Chititu

McCarthy longtime locals were calling this the worst mosquito summer they could remember -and I don’t think they were lying. To minimize losses to our precious sanity and blood reserves, we had to wear our long-sleeve wind breakers and gloves. Which wouldn’t be that bad by itself, but under the hot summer sun these layers were way too much. The sweating was a mess. The buzz of mosquitos was incessant. And the 5 mile “road to Chititu” is anything but a road after the first mile. Alders and vegetation invade the airspace above the trail. You loose the trail and then find it because it is so difficult to distinguish. By the end of the fourth mile we were quite sweat drenched, but then a heavy flash rain for the last mile determined that every square inch of our clothing and bodies should be dripping wet. The rain, had astonishingly little effect on the mosquitos. Hoping to find shelter from the rain in Chititu, we quickened our already fast pace. We found such shelter at a horse stable in Chititu at 5:30pm. We were only 3 hours into the trip and I was already ready for it to be over. But the testing of patience was far from over.

Jumbo Mine

Additionally, the National Park Service has done the work of writing up the hiking details for those looking to reach Jumbo Mine (attached below). One tip I’ll say again, and which goes for any trip to McCarthy is to bring bikes, that way you can operate on your own timeline and not be confined to the timeline of the shuttle buses (which shut down waaayy too early in the land of the midnight sun). You can’t drive across the bridge, but you can bring bikes and bike the remaining 5 miles to Kennecott pretty easily.

The Elementary Peaks

We wrapped around Polonium Peak and ascended up to the saddle between it and the Elementary Spires. At this saddle, we dropped our packs and traveled unweighted up Polonium’s East ridge. No signs of prior ascent were found, and I left behind a summit registrar. Over the course of the trip, the views would become ‘more of the same’, but for now they were amazing and fresh.

Bear Peak

My cousins and family had come to A-town (Anchorage) for a week, and so amongst other Southcentral Alaska things such as Flat Top, Gold Chord Lake, and Crow Creek gold panning, we made arrangements to spend some time in Seward. Now; Seward is no stranger to tourism, thanks to a lovely blend of both natural beauty and the free market, however Seward is especially full of foreigners (such as myself) on 4th of July weekend. Why is 4th of July weekend in Seward such a rave, even for us Alaskans? Well, 4th of July is historically when the popular Mt. Marathon Race takes place. Fortunately (at least for this year anyways) race day was moved to Tuesday so the city wouldn’t be as overrun as it otherwise gets.
(Ok, so maybe that’s not the real reason the day changed, but that is the reason I’m happy its not held on the weekend.)

A Berry Wonderful Loop

The snow line went splendidly. Wonderful 50 degree snow, a little hard, not yet softened by the sun. But that beats the other extreme: slushy and unsupportive. Sophie was nursing a broken toe at the time so I got all the first kicks in crampons. From the top of our snow line, the summit was a little walk away, and earned at 1pm. Sophie logged into the registrar, I took lots of great pictures. The Turnagain Arm was splayed out and the views in all directions, of the countless Chugach Mountains, were pristine. I’m glad we didn’t do this one on a day with poor visibility.

The West Ridge of Benench’iltledi Peak

These ‘Elementary Mountains’ have made a sweet spot in my heart since I found them on google earth back in my college days. I’d made a try at skiing one of them that semester, but that didn’t work out. That was over two years ago. Furthermore, it was cloudy on that trip so I still lacked any reconnaissance photos of the area. Benench’iltledi Peak, was pretty standalone and it had a particular route I wanted to do it by; the west ridge. Additionally, I had some good beta on the approach for this peak from a Roaming Dials packrafting page

Kenny Lake and Tonsina Daytreks

You know that thing where you convince yourself the bushwhacking won’t be “thaat bad”, and then by the time you realize just how godawful it actually is, it is actually easier to keep on going through it than it is to turn around? Yeah? Well, I played that sneaky little trick on myself here and ohhohooohhoh; I fubbed me self reaaaal good this time!

Beyond Dora Peak

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.

Brooks Range Express 2.0

3 Peaks, one Memorial day weekend. In similar fashion to the maiden voyage, Myself, Sophia Tidler, Gerrit Verbeek, Chelsea Grimstad, and her two dogs, Kiva and Bean, hopped aboard the Brooks Range Express (my truck) on a non-refundable ticket to the North North.

Peak 7150

9 miles total, 5300′ elevation gain. Peak 7150 was a straightforward dayhike I’d been carrying around in my back pocket for years. I’d actually solicited this trip idea many weekends over the years but they never gained traction and no attempts ever materialized. The weekend of May 15th displayed the right characteristics to deploy this trip. “Right characteristics” meaning a single day of decent weather bounded by undesirable weather on the days bookending it. Not much is required of this hike other than good physical fitness and a desire to do it. There are two west ridges to Peak 7150 with Onemile Creek sandwitched in between. I like how we went up the southern more interesting one and came down the northern mellowly sloped one.