The Not-So-Flat Hike to Flattop

At 3510 feet, Flattop Mountain in Chugach State Park outside Anchorage is one of the most climbed mountains in Alaska. The trail starts in the parking lot and climbs 1252 feet to a view that can showcase -- barring any cloud cover -- the Alaska Range, Cook Inlet, Turnagain Arm, and the city of Anchorage.

The trail started out easy enough, through scattered trees and easily walked dirt paths. It then opened into a valley hillside that was at a moderate slope, but still enjoyable, with wild flowers and lush greenery. Then came the switchbacks. And then the wooden steps. After reaching a flattened rest area, the rock-laced climb began, where I believe we learned the term "hand over foot" climbing, and began filming documentation of our treacherous ascent.

This video documents our climb, from the lighthearted first moments, to the at times alarming and uncertain moments of the hike up, and finally the beautiful panoramas that were just our first taste of the spectacular and breathtaking views of Alaska.

(Thanks to Keagan for more photos and video footage of the climb.)

-Hilary Castles

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