Peaks climbed along Dalton Highway, July 1995, by Richard L. Carey
The BLM has a brochure on driving the Dalton Highway which may be obtained at the Fairbanks office. The address is: 1150 University Ave., Fairbanks, AK 99709-3899. Phone: (907) 474-2200.
A guide book on driving the Dalton Highway is: “Alaska’s Wilderness Highway” by Mike Jensen.
Published by Epicenter Press, Box 82368, Kenmore Station, Seattle, WA 98028 Send $12.95 which includes shipping.
The topo maps listed for each peak are available in Fairbanks at the USGS map office in the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute building.
UTM coordinates are in NAD 27 datum.
1. Cathedral Mountain, 3375 ft.
Map: Wiseman A-1, Scale: 1:63,360, Date: 1975
Peak UTM: 619050E, 7452200N, Zone 5
The name was given by early prospectors. Gold was discovered at Tramway Bar to the southwest on the Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River in 1893. (Jensen, p. 89)
Cathedral Mountain is the jagged-topped mountain on the right side of the Dalton Highway which can be seen as you travel north of milepost 160. The mountain can be hiked from a point a half mile north of milepost 168 where there is a small pullout on the west side. There is very limited parking here for only one or at most two cars. UTM for this point is: 616360E, 7453560N. From here the summit is visible on a bearing of 119 degrees and is 1.9 miles away. Start the hike heading SE across the road through a moderately boggy spruce forest and then up the slopes toward point 2545 ft. shown on the map. About a hundred feet below the top turn east and go to a low saddle. Then contour below and to the right of a small hill on your left over to a ridgeline. Proceed up the ridge and stay to the right and below the ridge top as you continue east. Gradually gain elevation as you turn NE to the high point near the end of the ridge. The high point is below the "t" in mountain in section 17 on the map. The prominent pinnacle north of the summit with the same elevation on the topo map appears to be slightly lower. The climb takes about 3 hours and the distance is 2.5 miles with an elevation gain of 2250 ft. Allow about 1 3/4 to 2 hours for the return hike. 7/95 RLC
2. Sukakpak Mountain, 4459 ft.
Map: Chandalar C-6, Scale: 1:63,360, Date: 1975
Peak UTM: 383550E, 7501080N, Zone 6
Sukakpak is an Eskimo name for "martin deadfall". The mountain is limestone and marble which is 375 million years old.
Sukakpak Mountain is the striking mountain often featured in BLM literature on the Dalton Highway. It is about one mile east of the Dalton Highway just south of the junction of the Bettles and Dietrich rivers at milepost 207. Start the hike by parking along the road at a pulloff at 203.1 miles. UTM coordinates for this point are: 381620E, 7500300N. The beautiful rugged west face of Sukakpak is worth a picture before you start the hike. Looking at the south slope one can see a gash caused by a landslide which makes a good ascent route to the south ridgeline. Head southeast across the marshland toward the gash and then follow it up the hillside. The half-mile road on the map shown going toward the mountain could not be found. You should reach the ridgeline at about the top of the treeline at UTM 383350E and 7499750N. One can follow this ridgeline on up, but it is easier to contour around the upper end of the creek drainage and go east across to the main ridgeline. Once on this ridge it can be followed up toward a peak south of the summit. Stay below and to the right of this peak by following sheep trails up to a view point along the ridge with views down the west face to the highway. From here there are easy slopes up to the top. The hike is 5 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 3060 ft. Allow 3 to 3 1/2 hours for the ascent and 2 hours to return. 7/95 RLC
3. Dillon Mountain, 4820 ft.
Map: Chandalar C-6, Scale: 1:63,360, Date: 1975
Peak UTM: 386500E, 7505500N, Zone 6
Named for John Thomas Dillon (1947-1987), former geologist with the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys who spent ten years mapping the geology of the southern Brooks Range. He crashed in his plane while returning to Fairbanks from the range at the end of the 1987 season. Named in a decision by the Board on Geographic Names in 1990.
Dillon Mountain lies 1.5 miles due east of the Dietrich River bridge at milepost 207 on the Dalton Highway. The mountain was named in 1990 and therefore the name does not appear on the 1975 topo map. A good starting point to climb the mountain is from the parking area on the west side of the highway just across the Dietrich River bridge. You want to be on the north side of the river here so you don't have to cross it on the route to the mountain. Head SE from the highway across a swampy low plain for about 1 1/4 miles to a low saddle just north of the small hill with elevation 2003 ft. shown on the map. As you approach the saddle there is an old road that you should find which will help hiking. The saddle is at UTM 385400E, 7504100N. Follow the road until it starts descending then leave the road and head east toward the south end of the ridge of Dillion Mountain. Turn north up the ridge as soon as you pass the steep eroded cliffs. As you reach the top, stay to the right (east) side of the crest and continue north. The ridge is not simple as it has about four uplifted bands of rock running from west to east across the main ridge. These are easiest to cross lower down on the east side. After the last rock band start climbing up steep, loose scree and sand to the east ridge coming down from the summit. The upper parts of this ridge are better climbing and it leads right to the top. The route is 3.5 miles with a gain of 3400 ft. and takes about 5 hours. The return hike takes about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. 8/95 RLC
4. Table Mountain, 6315 ft.
Map: Chandalar D-6, Scale: 1:63,360, Date: 1975
Peak UTM: 390200E, 7543650N, Zone 6
The mountain is named because of its large, nearly flat top which is easily seen from the Dalton Highway. Large oil stains were seen on the summit which may have come from a generator powering radio gear at one time.
Table Mountain is the high flat-topped mountain which can be seen east of the highway near milepost 233. The climb is long but rewarding from the parking area at the Chandalar Shelf overlook on the south side of the road at mile 237.1. UTM here is 390600E, 7550550N. A rock cairn on the top of the mountain can be seen with binoculars on a bearing of about 182 degrees. From here hike south about one-half mile and cross the buried pipeline corridor and then climb the slope turning SSE toward point 4286 ft. shown on the Philip Smith Mountains (A-5) map. Stay left and contour below this hill and continue SE to UTM 392100E, 7546900N on the ridge. From here turn SSW and continue up the slope passing point 4980 ft. on the left (E) side. Then follow the ridgeline due south for about 3/4 mile and turn west toward UTM 390400E, 7544200N which is now on the Chandalar (D-6) map. At this point the north slope of Table Mountain is due south up the steep, loose scree slope. The cairn should be clearly visible. The high point and benchmark are about 0.1 mile SW of the cairn. If the weather is favorable the sharp spire of Mt. Doonerak, 26.5 miles to the west, can be seen on a bearing of 258 degrees. The hike is 5 1/4 miles each way with an elevation gain of 3060 ft. and requires about 4 hours for the ascent and 2 3/4 hours to return. 8/95 RLC