Pioneer Peak

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.

At the trailhead

Barely started on the trail, getting close to the clouds. Knik River in the background.

Where a meteorologist belongs

North and south peak within sight yet so far away

With the coat around my waist I look like I'm wearing a dress.

In and out of the clouds

Up on Pioneer Ridge

Starting along the spine for our assault on the summit. Little did we know there was still over 2 hours to go from here

Clouds banking along the southern facing slopes

Summit!

View from the top. Good thing the clouds cleared out.

Looking southeast, Eklutna Glacier in the upper left

Starting the long trip down

Had a beautiful view of Knik Glacier the whole way down

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.

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About mtlawson07

I'm a meteorologist living and working in Anchorage, Alaska
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