Do you associate good times or rather tough times in your life with your favorite hobbie at the time, or maybe even a certain smell or place? For Melanie (one of our Team Athletes) this place is the mountains. Keep reading for her story and trip report on Matanuska Peak!
Matanuska Peak is 6119 ft. tall and looks quite inviting from many angles of the Mat-Su Valley. When I moved to the valley I was still grieving deeply from my mother’s passing and was running mostly road miles, training for the Equinox Marathon. I always process life on the move, and when grappling my grief I’d often say “I’ll run to the top of that mountain mom” (not knowing people really did that!). Eventually, I had an opportunity to attempt climbing Matanuska Peak, and the first time I summited I was overcome with emotion, I sobbed.
This is a 11-12-ish mile hike round trip (depending on the route). It requires a parking pass and parking is limited and tight. Of the 6 peaks in the Six Peak Challenge this is in the middle for length and elevation gain. It does have a fairly mellow incline for the first 4 miles with a steep incline the last thousand feet or so.
This year we hiked to the top in 3.5 hours and back down in 2.5. For most ability levels (those who are experienced hikers but not racing) it should take about five to nine hours. This year's May summit was a joy to share with a 6 Peak finisher from last year. We left as soon at 5:00a.m with an excellent trail with frozen ground and minimal snow through the bowl. The final leg to the summit had patches of hard packed snow and the rock was stable (compared to later in the summer). Visibility to the summit was good with views that were well worth the work.
If attempting this peak be prepared; I tend to pack the following items:
(for a complete list read Soles In The Backcountry Booklet)
Food and Water
In-Reach GPS Tracker
Bear Spray, knife, headlight
Extra layers top and bottom
Food and water
Melanie Redington is one our Team Athletes and has completed the 6 Peak Challenge for the past three years. She is a lifelong competitive athlete, a mom, special education teacher, mountaineer, and rock climber! To learn more about her go to our Ambassador Page.