Ever since I moved to Alaska in mid-March Pioneer Peak has been on my list of things to do. One of the more recognizable landscapes in the Chugach, in fact it graces the state driver’s license.
Pioneer rises out of the Matanuska Valley up to 6400 ft, climbing a vertical mile in just 4.5 horizontal. Multiple people told me before hand how relentless of a hike it would be, both physically and mentally. Even though I knew what to expect, it still beat me down in both respects. Steep from the get go there were very few flat areas to catch a break, and once the ridge top was reached, the false peaks are mentally crushing. Just when you think you have made it to the top a new summit shows it’s face. We started around 8:15am and didn’t get back to the car until about 8:40pm. Quite a long day/hike at 12 miles/hours.
If one picture could capture how physically and mentally draining Pioneer Peak is, this is it…. we still had 2 miles to get to the parking lot from here.