Juneau Mountain Ridge – Backcountry Trail Running


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 4, 2013      
ridge

Running the ridge, Juneau Mountain, AK (click to enlarge all images)

Locals proclaim this is the best summer Juneau has ever had. And given the track record of rainy days I’ve experienced over the past year, I would have to agree. With temperatures nearing the 80’s and not a cloud in the sky it has taken all my motivation to go to work each day instead of heading to the beach or climbing a mountain top.

With the extended hours of the summertime and the amped up work load due to tourism I have found myself working in the heli maintenance hangar 50-60 hours a week. Definitely not the norm for a girl who loves the outdoors and travelling. So my plan to maintain sanity is to hike/trail run several of the higher peaks surrounding Juneau. I’ve found trail running not only to be a quick burn, but also a fun way to suss out new ski lines for this upcoming winter’s backcountry season.

It was yet another unbelievable bluebird day. Six a.m. alarm clock, freshly juiced carrots and off we were for a 15 minute drive to Perseverance Trailhead to run the Juneau Mountain Ridge. Perseverance is considered the first road built in Alaska. Back in 1889, the three mile trek led you to the mines of at least five different operations, the Alaska-Juneau being at one time the most successful gold mine in the world. As the road heads up into the valley, it splits into Silverbow Basin for a view of “Glory Hole,” a 1000 foot pit where most of the gold was extracted, and Granite Creek Basin, which ultimately gains access onto the Juneau Icefield. Such a beautiful basin to explore.

forever

The joyful feeling of running forever.

One mile into Perseverance Trail we took a sharp left and began our steep ascent to the summit of Mount Juneau. I could tell I was moving sluggishly the first twenty minutes but the trail is east facing and the warm sun woke me up in no time. 3576 vertical feet and and 1 hour 45 minutes later, I had tears of happiness underneath my sunglasses.

It has been a busy summer, with expectations and demands at times almost crushing. I’d been dreaming of standing on Mt. Juneau for months and the feeling of accomplishment combined with the stupendous beauty was too overwhelming to keep in. Not a cloud in the sky! As much as I wanted to sit and soak in the moment, the sun and the scenery, I also knew we had nine miles left to run and was curious to see just how fast we could get done. Turning our backs to the ocean and facing jagged peaks majestically jutting out of the ice terrain entrapping them, we headed towards Granite Creek. The ridge trail is a well defined trail and eight miles later we found ourselves at alpine pools so blue and cold that despite how hot I was still I had no intention of getting wet.

summit

Summit!

view

View from the peak.

ridgeline

Nine miles left to go.

After a quick snack we descended into lush meadows strewn with boulders that begged to be climbed on. The green hillsides reminded me of Austria minus the cows and their bells. Granite Creek trickled its way to meet Gold Creek and we enjoyed views of gushing waterfalls along the way. The wildflowers were no longer in full bloom but the stragglers were still beautiful. At one point we even climbed over an ice bridge straddling the creek. The lavish meadows turns to muddy brush – not good for moving fast – then onto a single track that winds through boulders softened by avalanches and rising creek waters, until finally out again on Perseverance Trail.

Grateful to be on a well defined trail again, I was looking forward the cruisey downhill run to the finish. Twelve miles round trip, we arrived back at my car by one o’clock. The loop took six hours and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it — awesome to accomplish a goal on such a beautiful day. Now if only I didn’t have to go to work tonight….



IF YOU'RE HAVING TROUBLE VIEWING SITE, TRY WHITELISTING IN YOUR ADBLOCKER, OTHERWISE PLEASE CONTACT US USING MENU ABOVE, OR FACEBOOK.

Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


Comments

6 Responses to “Juneau Mountain Ridge – Backcountry Trail Running”

  1. SR September 4th, 2013 12:28 pm

    Great read, you really capture the rhythm and sights of running in that kind of environment. Thanks!

  2. Ken September 4th, 2013 1:15 pm

    You should have jumped in the alpine pool! 🙂

  3. Lisa Dawson September 4th, 2013 1:19 pm

    Amy, the WildSnow Girl Gazelle.

  4. Amy September 7th, 2013 2:35 am

    ken – i was definitely tempted to jump in those pools but the water was sooooooo cold! just a splash on my face was refreshing enough 🙂

  5. UpSki Kevin September 7th, 2013 4:14 pm

    Awesome Amy! that looks like a major haul to get that high above Juneau!!! Kudos to you for pulling off the 60hr weeks and finding time for big adventuress.

  6. Noah Parks September 16th, 2013 2:11 pm

    You’ll have to do it again and this time soak in that view, It looks amazing.

  Your Comments


  Recent Posts




Facebook Twitter Google Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed



 



  • Blogroll & Links


  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version