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Thread: Susitna Summit by snowmachine???

  1. #1
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    Default Susitna Summit by snowmachine???

    Does anyone know of a way to access the summit of Mt. Susitna by snowmachine in winter? Specifically, the flat area that makes sort of the "stomach" area of "Sleeping Lady?"

    The Anchorage Amateur Radio Club has a VHF ham radio repeater up there that covers from the southern part of Zdenali National Park, all the way to Kenai/Clam Gulch, however, that site is being decommissioned because the commercial operator is shutting down due to the cost of flying fuel up to feed the diesel generator.

    We're looking for a way to maintain that site without the use of aircraft. Is it possible to gain the summit with snow machines pulling sled loaded with batteries and/or fuel? The general concept here is a sort of snowmachine "train" of several machines hauling equipment, probably with an overnight, either at the base, or in the quonset hut at the summit. (read that freeze my tuckus off)

  2. #2

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    That will actually be a tough ride. I have accessed it over the years hitting wolverine creek and sucker creek going up the backside of Mt Susitna. The snow is deep and there was a considerable amount of "boondocking" involved. Pulling sleds with gear is going to be tough to get above treeline.

  3. #3
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    We rode up there a number of years ago and had a similar experience to what highlife described. We made it, but it wasnít direct and we spent a bit of time getting unstuck. We stayed at Eagle Song Lodge on Trail Lake but I donít think they take guests any more. Apparently, the owner used to break a trail up onto the mountain but didnít the year we stayed there and I imagine still doesnít.

    Hauling gear up there might be doable IF someone put in the time to figure out the best route, marked it, and brush it. Do all that before you try to haul.

  4. #4

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    Fly2AK: If you look at Mt. Susitna, from south to north, the "head" is the South Summit, the "stomach" as you say is the Main Summit, the hip is the North Summit and the "legs" that stretch out to Wolverine Creek is the North Ridge. You might be able to haul fuel up the North Ridge to just below the North Summit, though there is a steep step just before you get to this area. Anyway - to haul a sled with fuel down into the gully that separates the North Ridge from the Pierce Creek Ridge that leads to the Main Summit - will be next to impossible unless you have absolutely perfect conditions (which happen rarely up there). By the way - if you decide to abandon this HAM radio site, please remove it from Mount Susitna. There is getting to be way to much abandoned junk on top of this mountain. And that's no way to treat a "Sleeping Lady"! ;-)

  5. #5

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    Fly2AK: If you look at Mt. Susitna, from south to north, the "head" is the South Summit, the "stomach" as you say is the Main Summit, the hip is the North Summit and the "legs" that stretch out to Wolverine Creek is the North Ridge. You might be able to haul fuel up the North Ridge to just below the North Summit, though there is a steep step just before you get to this area. Anyway - to haul a sled with fuel down into the gully that separates the North Ridge from the Pierce Creek Ridge that leads to the Main Summit - will be next to impossible unless you have absolutely perfect conditions (which happen rarely up there). By the way - if you decide to abandon this HAM radio site, please remove it from Mount Susitna. There is getting to be way to much abandoned junk on top of this mountain. And that's no way to treat a "Sleeping Lady"! ;-)

  6. #6

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    I answered briefly on the ATV forum as well.

    I generally help cut in the trail in the winter to the summit. I have never thought about doing it without snow and can't imagine which route you would take to get there. We have been looking at routes from the Tyonek side, but haven't gotten to that point yet. Someone that knows more about the topography and watershed in summer will chime in here.

    We go in from the Derf lake side and go up the old Eagle Scout trail to the actual mountain. Then it is always a boondocking, alder killing festival. There are some steep areas that are complicated by vegetation and/or changing conditions. I will be scouting as soon as snow allows and will keep your request in mind as we make our way through.

    Kevin
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    You guys are full of good news. =) or should I say =( Well, that's why I came here. I knew people on this forum would have first hand knowledge to contribute. Maybe I need to ask in the bush flying section if someone can air drop, on crates w/ parachutes, equipment onto the summit. =)

    If you went in from Tyonek, how would you get to your jumping off point? I was under the impression to believe (possible incorrectly) that Tyonek was a fly-in only area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinglishna View Post
    By the way - if you decide to abandon this HAM radio site, please remove it from Mount Susitna. There is getting to be way to much abandoned junk on top of this mountain. And that's no way to treat a "Sleeping Lady"! ;-)
    You're not kidding, that place is a dump! (Literally.) For those who may not know (I didn't until recently), the radio site up there on the summit is an old World War II left over. There is a small quonset hut that houses a generator and some repeaters as well as a couple of GI cots and sleeping bags for in case you get stuck up there overnight or something. There is an old, round tower, partially sheathed in corrugated metal. The ground all around it is strewn with broken pieces of radio antenna and who knows what. There are smaller radio towers so rusty that you could probably push them over by hand. As I hear it, the theory goes that once the equipment fails, falls off the tower, is blown off by wind, or just becomes redundant technology, it gets left there because it is not cost effective to fly up and remove it. As for our stuff, Arctic ProComm is flying up there in January to pull their generator and the last of their customers' equipment off the mountain. They are bringing down all of our stuff at that time as well. (We are actually going to redeploy that repeater in another location, hopefully in a temporary setting.) So there will be at least some clean up effort, but to what extent I don't know. (Besides, by now, most of the junk outside the quonset hut is under snow.)

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    FL2AK do you know the GPS location for the radio site?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    FL2AK do you know the GPS location for the radio site?
    Sadly, I do not. I could ask around, though.

  11. #11
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    I think this is the location of the radio site if not it's 1/10 miles to the south.
    61 29 12.82/150 44 28.29

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