The natural reaction to skiing the Bomber Traverse is a feeling of grave inferiority, if you have not summited many of the awe-inspring peaks that surround it. Certainly Montana Peak, the Pinnacle, Souvenir Peak, and even the smaller but elegant ‘mints seem to demand a pilgrimage. I’m among the locals who haven’t skied nearly enough of the peaks encircling the Bomber circuit, so I was thrilled to have a chance to ski Lynx Peak --even during a harsh cold snap. Lynx Peak should be climbable using generally the same route in early summer as a straightforward snow climb.
Lynx Peak towers over both Reed Lakes and the Bomber Glacier. Other than Montana Peak, it is the tallest that looms over the Bomber Traverse circuit. Lynx also stands near the middle of the loop. Rain and snow falling on it may drain into the Goldmint valley, Reed Lakes valley, or the Bomber valley, depending on aspect.
Since this region of the Talkeetnas are home to many high peaks and extended ridgelines, it can be surprisingly hard to identify Lynx until you’re fairly close to it. To get there, ski up the Reed Lakes valley, which means an approach (groomed Archangel Road) to an approach (convergence of Glacier/Good Hope Creek valley) to an approach (Reed Lakes drainage). After some seven miles or so of skinning, you’ll be at the base of Lynx Peak, a west-facing chute topped by a snowfield. Potential danger points in terms of avalanches could include the apron of the chute, which is very large, and the snowfield. The snowfield that leads up to the summit is rocky, and has a convexity at the top that would make me extremely nervous during periods of instability. Debris piles at the bottom of the mountain indicated that the climb has the potential for very large avalanches, though fortunately the climb is not above a terrain trap.
The Lynx Peak climb itself is not technical. The first thousand feet or so of ascent is up a large apron, which tops out at a hundred foot wide chute. After ascending the chute and picking your way up the snowfield through rocks, find a way to get over or through the ridgeline cornice before ascending the last few dozen feet to the top. Most of the ascent is moderately steep, generally ranging from 35-45 degrees.
Lynx Peak can feel like one of those climbs that’s uphill all the way there and half the way back. Much of Reed Lakes valley is too flat to have glide skiing, and the subsequent trail and Archangel Road egress aren’t particularly fast either. Summer climbers cut off approximately four miles round trip if parking at the Reed Lakes trailhead, but of course don’t have the benefit of skiing the downhills. If you have randonee gear, it could make sense to carry skis in for early summer ascents, to make the descent more enjoyable. With Lynx’s generally westward aspect, its snows last long into the summer.