Saturday, September 24, 2011

09/11/11 Cumulus Mountain 5815'

I first noticed Cumulus Mountain last fall when I visited Bombardment Pass. It wasn't on my short list of peaks to climb, but when Ben mentioned that he and Peter were heading there, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit a new summit. Alders, ridge-walking, scrambling, scree, and lots of side-hilling made for a great hike in the Chugach. About 1.5 miles from the summit, the rugged terrain took its toll on Peter. It was a little more than he expected, so he hung out while Ben and I tagged the summit. We followed the ridge crest on the way there, and side-hilled on the way back to save some time. We started hiking at 9am and finished at 7pm; 9.3 miles and 5200 feet of elevation gain.

The only problem with this area is the access. In the past, hikers have accessed the Ram Valley via Prudhoe Bay Rd, but there is no legal access through the area. The gated roads leading towards the valley are private driveways, and the power line corridor leads you to private property. The valley can be reached from Mile-Hi Saddle or the Eagle River Nature Center, but require considerably more effort. With some alder-bashing and creative route-finding we found our way into Ram Valley.

 Our creative route choice.

 Fall in Ram Valley.

 Some scrambling on the dragons tail ridge.

Pleasant Mountain & Ram Glacier

 The last push to the summit.



 Polar Bear & Organ

 Dragon Tail Ridge

Cumulus Mountain

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