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Monday
Jun282010

Chugach Front Linkup

The mountains above Anchorage, separated by Ship Creek and Indian Creek, are called the Chugach Front Range. These are the tippy western end of the Chugach Mountains. This mini-chain has 35 named summits (Imus Geographics Chugach State Park map) and 12 that rise above 5,000 feet. Connecting these 12 highest summits in a single push is an attractive and lofty goal for Anchorage mountain runners. This Chugach Front Linkup has also become knows as Cosmic Integration. For young runners, who know the route, sub-20 hours should be possible. Once that's done, the Western Chugach 7,000-footers in a single push is a logical progression.

While countless Anchorage runners are physically capable of the Chugach Front Linkup, the real crux is piecing together a logical route. Finding a fast and safe line between these rugged and complicated summits takes years of research. Venturing on these endless research runs is a mountain runners dream. Ticking off the linkup is just the graduation party. To maximize our fun, let's keep route descriptions short. And please, no blow by blow maps!

Linkup Stats

19-20,000 vertical feet,  36-38 miles

History

1990 27:30 hrs, Shawn Lyons, Walk About Guide to Alaska, Vol 2 

2006 23:13 hrs, Trond Jensen and Joe Stock, Trail Runner Jan 2007 

2008 34 hrs, Rob Develice and Charlie Thomas 

2008 22:40 hrs, JT Lindholm 

2010 22:42 hrs, Harlow Robinson.

2012 29 hrs, Abby and Stephen Rideout

2016 22:10 hrs, Harlow Robinson and Matias Saari, Alaska Dispatch News.

2016 June 25, 27:22 hrs, Aaron Thrasher

2016 July 9, 24:13 hrs, Marlo Karjala

The Twelve Chugach Front 5,000-Foot Peaks

Mount Williwaw 5,445’

Temptation Peak 5,383’

Tanaina Peak 5,358’

The Ramp 5,240’

Tikishla Peak 5,230’

West Tanaina Peak 5,200’

O'Malley Peak 5,150'

Koktoya Peak 5,148’

Hidden Peak 5,105’

North Suicide Peak 5,065’

Avalanche Mountain 5,050'

Suicide Peak 5,005’

The difficulty of the linkup is learning if each section of ridge is better traversed or avoided. Fog can help, making exposed traverses less fearsome by hiding the abyss. 

 

Fog, low visibility and precip can also complicate the linkup. Here is Trond on the summit of South Suicide looking toward O'Malley and Hidden Peak before diving back into the fog. 

 

Sheep trails are a rare luxury.

 

Regular snacking will keep your energy levels up.