Alaska Mountain in Alpine Lakes Wilderness / 高山湖泊荒野的阿拉斯加山

Alaska Mountain was another faraway place in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. We spent the entire trip on the famous Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). But we found solitude because of the bad weather and the time of the year.

Alaska Mountain and Lake

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Alaska Mountain at a Glance

Access: Pacific Crest Trailhead
Round Trip: 14 miles
Elevation Range: 3000′-5745′
Gear: microspikes
GPS Track: available
Route Info: Luke Helgeson, Dustin Wittmier
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Pacific Crest Trail

It was going to be a long day. So the pups and I began before sunrise. Like the trips before, we hiked the Commonwealth Creek Trail first. So it would allow us to bypass the lower part of the PCT switchbacks.

We crossed Commonwealth Creek back to the east side. But not before we tested out several spots. Then we came to the PCT junction at 3800′ and continued. There was snow by the first clearing above the small, raging waterfall.

Talus on Pacific Crest Trail Section J
Talus on Pacific Crest Trail Section J

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Kendall Katwalk

There had been lots of recent foot traffic on the trail. So the path was nearly snow-free back in the forest past the clearing. Then we went through the boulder field west of Kendall Peak out in the open.

I put on microspikes by the switchbacks. Then we walked over some ice before the next section of the forest. Soon, we reached Kendall Katwalk in the mist. Despite the cold weather, I was glad not to see any ice here.

Kendall Katwalk
Kendall Katwalk

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Onward to Ridge Lake

Beyond the narrow passage of Kendall Katwalk was more snow. But with the recent boot tracks, microspikes worked well. I had brought snowshoes as well. But there still was not enough fresh powder to use them.

Views in the valley were spotty. But I kept my fingers crossed for the “part sunny” forecast. Later we reached Ridge Lake by Collar Mountain. The pond was especially pretty under a sheet of thin ice. All foot traffic turned around by the lake.

Ridge Lake
Ridge Lake

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En Route to Alaska Mountain

Alaska Mountain first came into view when we went around the southwest of Bumblebee Peak. Then there was the sight of Alaska Lake at the bottom of the steep hillside. Memories of our old threesome down by the lake soon surfaced.

The top of Alta Mountain showed through the dissipating clouds briefly. The sunlight glistened the lake but disappeared into the mist minutes later. Soon, the view of Alaska Mountain diminished as we walked past Bumblebee Peak.

Alta Mountain across the valley
Alta Mountain across the valley

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Alaska Mountain East Ridge

Before long, we came to the bottom of the southern slopes of Alaska Mountain. But we continued on the trail and reached the east ridge shortly. Dense shrubs hugged the lower ridgeline. So we moved up from just below the north of the crest.

At first glance, the fresh snow over the rocky ridgeline looked sketchy. Then it took just a few seconds to realize that it wasn’t safe to traverse. Not when I had the pups with me. So we stayed below the crest.

Huckleberry Mountain and Joe Lake from Alaska Mountain east ridge
Huckleberry Mountain and Joe Lake from Alaska Mountain east ridge

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Viewless Summit

At one point, cliffs kept us from reaching a notch on the ridge. So we moved down to the talus. From there, we made our way up to the cleft. The gap, in turn, allowed us to move to the less steep south slopes. Then we reached the top shortly.

It started to snow earlier. Soon, the little view we had of Huckleberry Mountain and Joe Lake faded into the mist. The northwest wind blew the entire time. So we hunkered down behind the rocks on the south side. On a good day, we could see Mount Thomson and Chikamin Peak.

Alaska Mountain southern slopes
Alaska Mountain southern slopes

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Outro

The snow stopped half an hour later. Then we waited for the clouds to move away. But that never happened. So we left the summit 45 minutes later. The southern slopes got us back on the trail in no time. Then we went to check out Gravel Lake by Ridge Lake.

It was still misty by the time we went back to Kendall Katwalk. There we met two people going in the opposite direction. Then down in the forest, we saw two hikers by the trail junction just as it became dark.

Thanks for the freezing day
Thanks for the freezing day

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