Monday, October 19, 2009

True Summit & Berg Peak in "the Berries"

Alyaska True Summit and Berg Peak, October 18th, 2009
Start/finish: Kern Creek on Seward Highway
Highpoints: True Summit 4423 ft and Berg Peak 3917 ft

A long fall with continued high pressure has provided some great hiking and climbing conditions  in the Western Chugach mountains in September and October.  After an early squall of termination dust in September I climbed Bramble Knoll on September 26th.  This 3264 ft "hill" along the Seward highweay is too steep for hiking but to flat for climbing.  With an average grade around 45 degrees and ample bush-whacking, Bramble Knoll lives up to its name and is a challenge in itself.  But the views from the summit are exquisite.  The first panorama below shows the Bramble views from West to East.  I decided to come back to these hills as soon as the conditions were favorable.  The chance would come sooner than expected.  The termination dust melted and provided superb conditions in mid-October.  On October 18th I found time to try True Summit (of Alyeska) and Berg Peak.  Starting from the Seward highway after 12 pm I knew that I would have to hustle to make the whole circuit before dark.  I didn't quite manage.  I finished at 7:30 pm after bush-whacking in the dark for the last hour or so.  Every time I visit these mountains I am reminded how tough the bush-whacking can be, but also how superb the ridges and peaks are ... well worth the struggle and hard work!


Panorama from Bramble Knoll (3264 ft). Left to right are Turnagain Arm, Penguin Ridge, Kern Ridge, True Summit, Berg Peak, Highbush, Lowbush and Blueberry Hill.




Map cutout of "the Berries" ... mountain group East of Girdwood with names such as Lingon, Blueberry, and Highbush.  Short red loop indicates my trip on Bramble Knoll on Sept. 26th.  Longer red loop is trip to True Summit and Berg Peak on Oct. 19th.
Kern Ridge towards True Summit.



Bauman Bump with Girdwood in the background
Winner Creek drainage and Northern part of the Berries (Kinnikinnick and Lingon mnts).



Berg Peak seen from True Summit.  The route up the facing ridge was at times quite exposed and tricky, especially with frozen conditions whenever I got forced out on the North side.
Kern Ridge and Turnagain Arm as seen from high on True Summit




Highbush with Lingon in the background (to the left)
Blueberry Hill



Self portrait



Panorama from Kern ridge looking North towards (Alyeska) True Summit. 


Panorama from Berg Peak looking Northeast.  Left to right in the panorama are Lingon Mnt, Highbush, Lowbush, and Bluberry Hill.  Certainly a lot of great hiking and climbing still to be had in this mountain group.

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