After kayaking along Baranof island for about 10 miles, we landed on a beach, unloaded our kayaks, carried them to Green lake, an artificial reservoir, paddled acroos the lake and started a strenuous hike to our basecamp. At that point, assuming cooperation from the weather, we had a couple of days for summit attempts. The peaks aren't high ("5398" being the tallest mountain), but they are challenging climbs.
We made to the top of Mt. Bear, Mt. Lacey, "5398". Amazing.
Equipment: Just take a look at the picture below: about 100 lb. of load, including food, ice axes, crampons, ropes...
Opposite of Baranof island lay Krusof island, with Mt. Edgecombe, an inactive volcano that rises from the ocean floor to about 3200 feet.
The hike to the crater is quite challenging, but worth the sweat.
The best - perhaps the ONLY way to visit this area is to kayak. I'm not talking about a brief ride in the harbor: I'm talking about serious kayaking. A few days paddling around the islands and you'll come to know this area. Have fun!
Equipment: You should contact a guide and let him/her give the advice: always have a lifejacket on, a foghorn with you, a lot of wool/pile to wear. LEAVE ANY COTTON ITEM HOME: when it gets wet, cotton looses all its isolation properties. If freezing yourself to death is what you expect from your trip, bring plenty of T-shirts and cotton socks. If you wanna have a good time instead, pack wool, pile and polipro clothing. You can buy very good equipment on the island.
The city itself provides one the best walking tour in southeast Alaska. Sitka has a great variety of trail range from easy to brutal. I won't attempt to cover them all, just one favorite. Hit the links below if you want information on all the trails.
Harbor Mountain Trail
The road which makes its way up Harbor Mountain from Halibut Point Road. (It is the only road access to the subalpine in Southeast Alaska.) The only time you have to walk up the road is winter (unless you know someone with an ATV or snowmobile who is willing to give you a ride) or if the road is washed out at some point (which it was all Summer 1999). From the end of the road at the bottom of a large subalpine bowl there is a board walk trail which makes its way up to the ridge above the bowl. From here you can go to the first little peak for excellent views of Sitka and the Sound, or you can follow the main trail around this peak and along the ridge back towards the main peaks of Harbor Mountain. Where the trail gets to the base of the first rocky peak, there is a fork. Take the right fork to go south of the peaks and stay on the trail which eventually gets to Gavan Hill or continue straight to go up to the rocky peaks. There is a step or two of pretty significant exposure involved in getting to the top of the highest peak, but it does not seem too bad going up (going down, on the other hand...).
SCUBA shop with great people, good gear, fun day trips and adventures.
Equipment: Dry suits, but they rent them there.