Indian House is an impressive mountain that boarders Falls Creek along the Turnagain Arm.  It is less well-known than many peaks in the Anchorage area, however, it offers an incredibly steep ascent and stunning views of the Cook Inlet, the Kenai Peninsula and the volcanic mountains to the west.  Yesterday evening after work, we packed a light coat and car-pooled to mile 104 along the Seward highway.  The trailhead is camouflaged in thick underbrush but becomes obvious after a few meters of bushwhacking.  After a brief climb through the wooded low-lands, the trees and devil’s club dissipate to reveal a severe mountain face without a single switchback.  For those training for Mount Marathon, this ascent is the most representative of the climb in Seward and provides an excellent training opportunity.  However, I would not recommend this hike to a novice hiker due to the rugged nature of the trail.

We climbed hard.  Despite my ragged, labored breathing and aching legs, I was able to appreciate the stunning wildflowers along the trail.

Eventually, the trail mellows providing a brief moment of respite before digging deep for the final ascent to the ridge.  As we climbed, we were lead by a procession of white mountain sheep who eventually disappeared over the horizon.  It is quite difficult (and dangerous) to summit the actual peak due to the need for ropes and proper climbing equipment.  However, exploring the upper ridge provides ample opportunity to enjoy the view.

After descending we ran into a small brown bear near the trailhead.  With bear spray in hand, we backtracked and picked our way down the cliffs to the side of the highway.  I would avoid doing this hike alone this time of year and always carry bear spray!  Enjoy the trails, summer is coming.