Monday, August 11, 2008
Rabbit Lake and Beyond
Yesterday I ran to Rabbit Lake. It was crowded on the near side of the lake so I ran around the lake to the other side. I am always amazed at how you can go from an irritatingly populated area of the Chugach, to a deserted area in just a few minutes. There was no one on the other side of the lake and the people I had passed just 15 minutes before looked like little dots of color across the lake.
The trail disappears on the other side of the Lake so I looked up into the bowl between North and South Suicide Peaks. Very intriguing. And somewhat terrifying. I couldn't figure out where in the world you could climb up this bowl, but I figured it was something that would become apparent as I got closer.
So I hike over a series of boulder fields interlaced with tundra and as I got closer the route up to Windy Gap between the Suicide Peaks was still not apparent. So I kept hiking and came up over a small bump to arrive at the base of the gullies. I saw a very steep scree gully go up to the right and around the corner up to South Suicide and thought that must be it.
With no intention of climbing either of the peaks that day, I decided to just start up the boulders towards North Suicide on the left of the bowl so that I could get a better look of the scree field on the right (which turns out is Hauser's Gully and the route that most people take from Rabbit Lake). The boulders were loose and shifting and you could tell some of the large ones down below me were settling in to new homes. But I kept going being careful to try to stay on the most solid ground.
I reached a point high enough to be able to see Hauser's Gully all the way to the top and at the same time heard a strange noise. It sounded like someone running down the scree gully, but I couldn't see anyone and it seemed way too steep for someone to be running down. I couldn't really tell where the noise was coming from because I was in a giant bowl and the sounds seemed to be bouncing off the walls. I looked above me and saw nothing coming down, but as I turned around a few very large rocks came tumbling down Hauser's Gully across the bowl from me.
I took that as a sign to turn around for the day, and was satisfied because I had gone about 6 miles with about 2000 feet of elevation gain, so it would be a nice round 12 miles for the day.
I'm not sure if I will be climbing the Suicide Peaks from Rabbit Lakes anytime soon. I'm pretty sure there is a less treacherous route coming up to the peaks from Falls Creek. It's a longer route, but that is just a bonus, and I kinda want to keep my head intact, at least for a little while.