Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thunder Mountain - Juneau, AK

I ascended Thunder Mountain minus the last couple hundred feet.  Starting from the Jennifer Drive trailhead, the route meanders through a marsh, followed by a convoluted trail that branches off into unconnected side-trails.  After searching for 30 minutes, I finally found the trail that leads upwards toward the ridge line of Thunder Mountain.  The trail is very muddy, quite steep, and actually involves some class 3 moves over a few vertical sections of tree roots.  After 2 hours, I reached snowpack, and an hour later, I was above treeline right below the summit ridge.  However, a large cornice covered the narrow ridge...being unropped, I decided to skip the summit.  There was also plenty of evidence of small avalanches below the summit ridge.  The view was spectacular despite coming up short of the summit...all of Mendenhall Valley lay below me, as well as the Juneau Airport, and the inner channels to the west.

Mendenhall Valley.
Inner Channels west of Juneau, AK.
Slope beneath the summit of Thunder Mountain.