HIking

Sometimes It Takes 3 Tries To Summit A Mountain

This summer I’ve been branching out and trying new trails around Anchorage, and I kept hearing that the trail up to Rendezvous Peak in Arctic Valley was easy and had awesome views at the top.  So earlier this summer I read up on the trail and set out to summit the mountain.  The drive up to the start of the trail at Arctic Valley Ski Area was on a bumpy dirt road that ended at a parking lot.  After paying the parking fee, I looked up and saw a sign that said “Trail” with an arrow pointing towards a large, well traveled trail.  I assumed that was the trail up to Rendezvous and took it to the top, only to realize that it wasn’t the right trail!  I left that day promising that I’d come back with someone who knew which one of the unmarked trails in the area led to Rendezvous.  It took a month, but one of my friends who got married on the saddle of Rendezvous Peak said she’d take me up there.  Despite the fact that it was a sunny day at sea level, when we made it to the parking lot it was pouring.  We hiked about halfway up to the saddle before we had to turn around due to lightening.  After that, I was more determined than ever to summit that mountain!  On Sunday I made my final attempt, and we made it to the top!

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This hike was a 3.2 mile loop that starts next to the ski area (seriously, don’t climb the mountain behind the parking lot – go across the street and through the gates to Arctic Valley Ski Area!).  The tundra is already starting to turn red and yellow for the fall, and there were tons of people picking blueberries along the trail.  We soon crossed a bridge and began to leave the crowds behind as we climbed up to the saddle.

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The hike up to the saddle was pretty easy, and the views of Arctic Valley and South Fork Eagle River Valley were gorgeous!

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Looking down on the Eagle River side

We were hesitating on climbing up to the peak because the trail looked pretty steep and we could see some rain rolling in from the south.  But I was set on finally making it to the top this time, so we powered up the trail.  It was shorter and easier than we thought it would be, and before we knew it we were finally summiting Rendezvous Peak!

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We spent some time exploring the peak and staring off at the 360 degree views from 4,101 feet above sea level.  There were trails leading off along the ridge line that would have taken us deeper into the Chugach mountains, but the rain was coming in fast and we were starting to get cold so we headed back down.  On the way down we took a trail that went directly beneath the ski lift that met up with the original trail down by the bridge.  I wish someone had told me that was the way up the first time because it was the easiest way to identify the correct trail!

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When we were on our way up to the peak I kept saying that I was so excited to finally summit this mountain and then never have to try it again.  But after seeing the view from the top and all the other trails that split off from the saddle, I realized that I’m going to have to do this trail over and over again!  It was short, pretty easy, and full of gorgeous views which are all the things I’m looking for in a good hike.

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Rendezvous Ridge leading deeper into the Chugach

I’m really proud of myself for finally crossing this hike off my list after so many failed attempts.  Each time I had to turn around I was so frustrated with myself for not making it, but it was worth the wait!

Have you ever had to give up short of your goal?  Did you ever go back and make sure that you finally reached it?

4 thoughts on “Sometimes It Takes 3 Tries To Summit A Mountain

  1. Wow those views! Good for you for being determined!
    I’ve hiked Gray’s (a 14er in CO) twice now. There’s a saddleback that connects it to Torrey’s, another 14er, meaning you can do two 14ers in one day. Both times the goal was to complete both. The first time, my hiking partner didn’t even make it to the summit of Gray’s; the second time, my whole group was struggling a bit after summiting Gray’s. Someday though, I’ll do both in one day!

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