"On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free." ~Dan Lipinski
Lee Helzer will lead "You Are Not Forgotten" with an estimated duration of 3 hours.
Meet at 6:30pm in the parking area at the start of Eklutna Lake road. Due to limited space we will carpool to gravel pullout at about mile 4.5 on Eklutna Lake Road by electric pole 74. We will then hike up the road to electric pole 85 where we will depart the road and head up to the monument, pay homage, and return. Please allow extra time for traffic delays.
The fog blanketing Anchorage extended to Peters Creek but the moon shined brightly above the Eklutna River Valley. Lee, Jesse, Jack, and I set out in gloriously calm and clear conditions on our ascent towards the monument and flag atop Mount POW/MIA.
After an initial half mile on the Eklutna Lake Road from the mile 4.5 pull out, the faint trail headed steeply up into the forest. We soon added crampons to our foot ware for extra grip. Even with the fresh layer of snow the trail was mostly easy to follow through the forest, meadows, and alder patches and there was occasional flagging marking the route.
Emerging onto the tundra at about 2500 feet, the slope soon steepened and the snow deepened. The shoulder of Mount POW/MIA was clearly visible in the moonlight as was the spindrift blowing along the ridge. The velocity of the wind progressed with our rise in elevation. My gloves were heavily laden with snow and were beginning to freeze up. I had a light back up pair in my pack but didn’t want to access them in the howling wind.
At a high point with more steep terrain above we stopped to discuss options. I was strongly contemplating retreat. As we deliberated we initiated an avalanche and all decided retreat was the best option.
In a high bowl on the descent I dispersed a small vial of cremains of my mother in law ML and my rottweiler Nessie (ML loved dogs) and gave a hooted shout out to their memory.
Despite not attaining the summit it was a terrific night out!
~ R.L. DeVelice
Time: 2h 6m
Distance: 3.15 miles
Starting Elevation – 1,320ft
High point – 3,409ft