Friday, August 24, 2018

Sunny FRange love!

Sunny FRange  love!  10 Miles/6500ft/8.5 hours on foot

   Yesterday's sun created a dilemma for me - stay close to Anchorage and link up some peaks, or head further afield and bag a single, large peak.  Well, I've done my share of big peak bushwacking this summer, and I'm getting a bit sick of being soaking wet before even being ON the mountain.  Easy choice.  Front range, here I come!

   I parked at Glen Alps, and was on my bike heading toward the Powerline pass by 8AM.  It seems that nature has a cruel sense of humor, 'cause I only made it a few miles before I ran into several bull moose sleeping on the edge of the trail.  Bushwack time!  Goodbye, dry feet!  (they remained moist for the rest of the day).

   After passing Ptarmigan Peak and crossing the creek west of Green Lake, I ditched the bike and began hiking up the north ridge/side of Hope Mountain.  This ridge was fairly easygoing, with a few mossy 3rd class cruxes, made more difficult by previous days of saturating rain.  The sun broke out, but was again hidden by passing clouds as I reached the summit of Hope.

Sun coming out!  Ptarmigan peak on left, Avalanche mtn on right.
Looking down the ridge.  Ptarmigan is off screen to left, Wedge is middle, and Powerline Pass/Avalanche on the right

Traveling along the ridge to South Powerline.  Rabbit lake with Suicide Peaks in the clouds
   The clouds hung around as a traveled east to South Powerline peak.  They finally dissipated soon after, giving me a good view of my next goal - North Suicide north ridge.

Homicide peak on the left, North Suicide center right, and South Powerline right

North ridge to North Suicide
   The ridge descended and went by easily for a while, until finally forcing me into a choke point with 4th class exposure and rock.  I scrambled past, thankful that the sun was out and beginning to dry the terrain.

4th class choke point!
Testing holds on 4th class choke point

Testing holds on 4th class choke point

Looking back at the exposed choke
   It stayed flat and 4th classy for a while - sometimes coming to choke points and sometimes forcing me into mossy-ness to the east side.  The moss was fairly unpleasant - it was still wet and quite suspect about letting go at any given moment.  UGH!

More 4th classiness with moss
Exposed


Mossy 
   When the going got steep again, the exposure and rock once again backed off to 3rd class and I made the summit without incident.

Summit to the left, Rabbit Lake below on the middle right.  Exposure had eased off a good bit.    
Summit



Summit.  Notice the notch in Homicide peak on the right.  I'm a few hours from traversing that notch!

Summit
   I decided to avoid the mossy traverse back on the north ridge by dropping down to Rabbit Lake via one of the more traveled routes on this mountain.  Additionally, I wanted to time this go around vs the north ridge traverse (front range 5000er linkup beta!)

Heading down North Suicide the pedestrian way ;)

Scree sure is nice for descending!
I found some snow!  North Suicide North Ridge above to my right.
What a day!!
   Scrambling back to the summit of South Powerline Peak, I saw my final goal - Homicide Peak Northwest ridge!

The initial NW ridge of Homicide.  You will eventually be forced into a mossy manky gully.
   This NW ridge proved mild at first - there is an obvious gully with a few steep 4th classy overhangs (kind of like a mini, mossy version of Chickenshit gully on Bashful).  The next part gets interesting though...

   Once you reach the top of this "false summit", you are greeted with a view of the true summit and the nasty notch you have to traverse to get there.  The notch options include a downclimb on the knife edge of the ridgecrest, or dropping south and piecing together some mossy steps/chutes.  Either one is 4th class, but the moss is more comforting because you'll only MAYBE fall all the way down the mountain ;)  I chose moss!

Summit ahead, with nasty notch inbetween.  This is me trying the ridgecrest and deciding against it.

Past the notch, looking back and pointing out where I descended.

Past the notch, looking back and pointing out where I descended.
OK fine, one more photo of the notch...
   After you pass this notch, it is a fairly uneventful scramble to the summit of Homicide.  I spent a few minutes up here, then went back down the NW ridge.  As I reached the Powerline pass, it was an easy walk back on the trail to my stashed bike.

Homicide peak as seen from the return trip over Powerline Pass.  
   Overall - totally the right idea to hit up the front range!!  The wetness was minimal, and the traverses were fun.  If you plan to ascend either Homicide or North Suicide by their north ridges, be prepared for exposure and some decision making.  I'd suggest extra caution on either one after recent rain - there's plenty of mossy rock, and moss tends to slide off.  Watch out, and have fun! 

Route - with labels

Garmin 360 Video



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