Suicide Peaks

Chugach State Park
This hike was rated 5 stars.
Submitted By
Clint Helander (Alaska Outdoor Club)
Difficulty
Difficult; it is flat for the approach to the base of the Suicide Peaks, but the peaks themselves are quite steep at points, with lots of jagged rocks, scree, and cornices in the winter. Only experienced hikers/climbers should attempt these.
Miles One Way
5
Miles from Anchorage
In town; in town from DeArmoun, 10 miles from Seward Highway
Season
All year

Description

The hike to the Suicide Peaks can be done by either taking the Rabbit Creek trail or McHugh trail.

If you take Rabbit Creek, simply go straight for five miles in the valley, passing Flat Top, Peaks One, Two, and Three, and Ptarmigan Peak, all of which are on your left. The Suicide Peaks come in to view after the first mile or so, but it will take a while to get to them.

If climbing North Suicide (the one on the left), simply pick a path and climb it straight up. It will be a scramble in the summer and your biggest challenge will be fighting the scree up it. To descend, either go down the way you came up, or descend to the saddle (the middle point between North and South Suicide). Climb up South until you reach an obvious couloirs just below the “Thumb”, a pointy rock sticking from South.

At this point, you are so close to the summit of South you’d might as well continue for the 15-20 minutes to the summit of it. Either way, to descend, down climb the couloirs all the way down to the bowl. Follow the Rabbit Creek trail back to the car from there.

If you take the McHugh trail, it leads virtually to the summit of South Suicide, and you gain almost 5,000 feet of elevation since it starts on the Seward Highway at sea level. It is more of a hike than a climb, but still poses some challenge.

If you are going for a true experience, I’d suggest braving the elements and climbing one or both of these peaks in the winter. You get a big mountain feel, and they are beautiful peaks to stand atop.

In the summer, one must deal with never ending scree slopes, but they remain popular and are climbed often.

Important Information

If you do it in the winter, bring an ice ax, crampons, etc. It gets steep and somewhat hairy at times, but is nothing the average climber can’t handle.

Don’t walk too close to the edge of the Windy Gap, as there are overhanging cornices which can be deceiving from above.

Etc.

In the summer, Rabbit Lake (at the base of the Suicides) is an amazing place to camp out. It offers spectacular views of the Suicides, Ptarmigan, Homicide, as well as the entire McHugh Valley.

Topo Map

Suicide Peaks topo map

Comments on hiking Suicide Peaks

  1. Katrina Mejia — June 28, 2013

    Date:
    6/22/2013

    We hiked from the Falls Creek trailhead. The trail is pretty straightforward once you get above the trees stay along the trail. It’ll climb a bit more once the trail splits stay heading left. The trail ends at the edge of the lake. From there you’ll have to pick your own route, we followed the ridge up however there does appear to be a goat trail that might have been less steep. North Suicide will come into view on your right however just keep climbing up the ridge. It’s about 1000 foot climb from the lakes to South Suicide peak. Be prepared for lots of wind.

  2. Chris Kennedy — February 14, 2013

    The most pleasant route to climb South Suicide is to gain its west ridge above McHugh Lake. This can be done entirely on grass; try to hit the ridge a little southeast of Point 4235. From there it is a delightful scramble on grass and solid rock to the top. This route has none of the loose scree and rotten rock of the alternatives, and it is spectacular but not exposed. The summit view is a knockout.

    To reach McHugh Lake, take the regular trail from Upper DeArmoun/Canyon Road to Rabbit Lake, then turn south across the tundra for a half mile or so. The whole trip from Canyon Road to the top makes a nice 8-10 hour day trip, but it’s even more fun to take advantage of the gorgeous camping around Rabbit Lake. Total round-trip mileage to the summit of South Suicide is about 14, somewhat more than the main description reports.

  3. Ross Timm — February 14, 2013

    This applies to Falls Creek Trail as well:

    Description: My friend Patrick and I recently (early July) hiked South Suicide Peak from Falls Creek. The tarn was still mostly frozen, but the ground was almost clear of snow. The slog up lower Falls Creek, and then the knob up to the alpine tundra, kicks your butt. I had done it before and then gone up to the high rock ridge/point that splits the valley.

    That hike up to the rocky point is steep, but not overly so, and it has a loose trail to follow. One guide book suggests gaining that ridge and then joining the ridge that leads to S. Suicide. I think that would have been better than the route we took, which another guide book suggested in a kind of unclear way (it said to “gain the ridge above the tarn”, or something like that).

    Anyways, after debating the idea of going on, we decided to slog up the steep alpine tundra wall of the tarn valley, side tracking and switch backing in a general Northwest direction. That was pretty tough after the Falls Creek hike. Needless to say, once we got up to the ridge that leads to the southeast side of South Suicide peak, we were tuckered (especially me).

    From there, however, it is a classic ridge/peak walk, with no real bad fall exposure if you stay on the usually visible foot path. The views open up exponentially from the somewhat sheltered Falls Creek Valley as you gain elevation. By the time you reach the summit you have views of Anchorage, Bird Ridge, Penguin Peak, Hope Point, McHugh and Rainbow Peak Valley, Rabbit Creek Valley, Indian Creek Valley, etc.. It made for a long day hike though.. 6 hours total.

    Etc:

    Another thing – Falls Creek has overhanging cow parsnip that was just about to bloom. I did not feel any affects (and it was a very sunny day!)., so perhaps it really does not affect you until it blooms.

    Falls Creek from midway until you get into the alpine tundra is very thick with alders, grass, and the above. However, we did not see a single piece of bear scat. Don’t let your guard down though, this was just an observation. We did see over twenty sheep.

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