Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ram Valley - Pleasant and Not So Pleasant Peaks

Ram Valley and Falling Water Valley

The Prudhoe Bay road provides easy access to the Ram Valley and Falling Water Valley in the Eagle River drainage.  Summer 2010 was perfect for completing all the peaks along the Eagle River north of the Ram Valley.  These include Peak 5331, Mt Significant (5456 ft), Peak 5320, Pleasant Mountain (6463 ft), Raina Peak (6798 ft) and Peeking Mountain (6925 ft).  Of these, Pleasant Mountain was by far the least pleasant of the group with terrible scree and sketchy scrambling. 

I had noticed these nice ridges above Eagle River last fall when I climbed Mt Significant.  The weather earlier this summer had not been conducive to climbing the higher of these peaks.  Low cloud cover and poor visibility forced me to stay low, and come August, I had only climbed the 5000-footers in this drainage.  But then a couple of nice days in early fall allowed us to visit the more interesting 6000-footers.

August 8th, Adam Lewis and I headed up Ram Valley to climb Pleasant Mountain.  The clouds broke apart just long enough for us to see the summit and where to go.  Why anybody named this Pleasant Mountain is beyond me.  The upper part of the mountain is bad scree and involves sketchy scrambling without any protection.  On the way back down, we studied the Raina Peak and Peeking Mountain route.  These two mountains promised to be more pleasant than the mountain we had just climbed.

So when the weather once again offered another great Alaska day for climbing on September 3, Toby Schwoerer, Adam and I headed up Ram valley with the intention of climbing Raina and Peeking.  And even though the clouds swirled around us on the summits, we enjoyed fantastic hiking and climbing on these two peaks.  Raina and Peeking are real pleasures compared to Pleasant Mt.  Just over 6 hours roundtrip made for a great late summer outing.  We were three happy climbers heading back to town.  At least we had gotten our addiction satisfied for a little while.  Unfortunately, I had brought a camera with dead batteries - the other guys brought no cameras at all - so this blog-post uses some photos I took earlier in the summer.

This first photo is from June 2010 from the ridge leading to Mt Significant.  In the near background is Peak 5320.  Directly over the top of my head is Peeking Mt. and to my right is Raina Peak (the middle summit of Raina being the tallest).

Typical climbing conditions this year.  Lots of fog and clouds obscuring the summits.  Here are Raina (left) and Peeking (right) as seen from the summit of Pleasant.

Ram Valley with Mt Pleasant  in the background.

Upper reaches of Ram Valley.  Bombardment pass is left center.  Korohusk peak (7030 ft) is sticking its summit into the clouds.

Looking down onto the Ram Valley rock glacier with Cumulus Mt (5830 ft) in the background.

From the summit of Mt Pleasant looking East into the headwaters of Peters Creek.  Bellicose Peak (7640 ft) hiding in the clouds (left side of picture).

Coming down the gully from Pleasant Mt.  The scree was good for coming down but really hard work to get up.

Successfully down.  Our tracks are clearly visible in the lower scree gully.

Adam with Raina Peak in the background.  Raina and Peeking turned out to much more pleasant than Mt Pleasant itself.  The ridge between Raina and Peeking is non-technical and has a decent trail leading to the summit of Peeking.  There is only one short section descending from Raina to the saddle between Raina and Peeking that is a little scrambly, otherwise it is a simple walk-up.

Panorama of the upper Ram Valley.  Pleasant Mt. on the left, Korohusk in the middle and Cumulus on the left.

Hope we still get some good clminging days before the snow start flying.



Thorsten said...

Great to hear that you got a few sunny days after all.

perfidygirl said...

There is no public access to Ram Valley from Prudhoe Bay Road. Public access is only from Mariah Road. All land surrounding Prudhoe Bay and Eagle Vista Roads are private. Please correct your post to avoid undue confusion and illegal trespass onto private land. Thank you.