September 11, 2011
The sLacka's: (Lil’) Lisa Heckel, Dave (Big Wave) Dietz, (Wild & Crazy) Rhonda Weiler, Calvin (The Pill Pusher) Eisenach, and Me: Duh-Arin Baker
“Lackawanna Peak” (13,823’)
Trailhead: N Lake Creek TH
Route: ascent of Lackawanna Gulch to NW ridge; descent of NW ridge route—which I led us off-route so we did more of a N slopes descent
Distance: some miles
Elevation Gain: it was uphill, and then it was mostly all downhill from there
Difficulty: class 2+, so approach this route with extreme caution
Gear: daypack w/Essentials, even some trekking poles, (and the mandatory stop at Bongo’s in BV for those with a coffee problem), my mail (Lil’ Lisa was my mail delivery lady for the day—thanks! Finally got those B-day cards)
Resources Used For Trip Planning: TR by d_baker
So Lil’ Lisa (affectionately called Heckel by some of us—because it’s a fun name to say) invited me on a hiking trip. Poor Girl. She had no idea what she was in for. For starters, near the start of this hike there’s a stream crossing. Heckel doesn’t like stream crossings.
And it goes without saying that every time we go out, she gets picked on by me. “Why are you always picking on me? I remember when we were friends.” Sigh….always whining. (Insert smiley face here so she knows I’m kidding. Sort of. Maybe? Of course I am.)
But she’s getting old, she’s forgetful. At least that is what she tells me what happens when you get old.
And then there is Calvin. I think the last time we (Lisa, Dave, Calvin, & I) hiked together, he was buried deep in mud. An ill-advised route finding choice on his part. Dumb Ass.
And yes, that is Lisa standing there, laughing. Poor Guy. He had no idea what kinds of torture he was in for that day.
And Dave? He was standing next to me, taking pictures of Calvin. What kind of hiking partner is that? Dave is notorious for taking not so candid (or maybe they’re candid?) photos.
Like when someone is picking his nose.
Oh wait. I took this picture. That’s Pete. He ain’t right. Paul is on the left, and judging from his hat and smile, he might be kinda funny too. And what’s with the ladder? (That’s another story about another bad ass mountaineering expedition that is best saved for another trip report. Roofing at treeline on a 14er, how many people have done that? Yeah, that’s what I thought.)
What does the above photo & info have to do with this report? Nothing really. But, coincidentally Pete is the person that ‘coined’ the Heckel nickname. It’s stuck since, at least for me.
Then there is Rhonda.
Poor Girl. She had no idea what she was in for coming out with the likes of us. But, she’s a bit twisted herself. She likes to torture people, and probably even lecture them, while they’re sitting under the bright lights of a dental chair. “You know, you should floss more.” But she says it with a wonderful smile, with a hint of a Minnesota accent.
Me? I’m just a little bit slow and dim-witted. Hence the name, Duh-Arin. I get by ok though. Besides, I’m writing this dumbass report, I can write what I want.
Since living in Avon for the summer, I have not seen many of my friends from the Springs. With all sarcasm aside, I was looking forward to this hike. By the end of our trip (and probably by the end of reading this report), they’ll probably wish I would stay in Avon a bit longer. (Insert sad face, but this time for me.)
Now on with the extreme, massive (wait, not that Massive) mountaineering adventure of Epic, yes there is that word, Epic, proportions. This report is not Lacking.
This report is all about Lackawanna. And some other b.s. too.
Meeting Time, Sunday morning at TH
Lil’ Lisa volunteers each year for the Pikes Peak Challenge, so effectively she was altitude training for our big expedition while sitting on her ass at A-frame on Pikes Peak on Saturday. I’m sure there were some upright positions at times during the day though. She’s a good little helper.
Anyway, they elected for a dark-thirty departure from the Heckel Hacienda (they’re not Spanish by the way) on Sunday morning. We were shooting for the super-duper alpine start of 8am. I left from Avon sometime around 5:58am. I know you want these details, which is why they are in this bad-ass report.
(I wonder how many times I can write ‘ass’ before getting censored?)
Heckel doesn’t get her Bongo’s.
The Big & the Bad-Ass Lackawanna Hiking Expedition is Underway
We hiked up the road, lost in conversation and catching up. We were at the stream crossing right away. This is where Disappointment #2 comes up:
nobody falls in at the stream crossing (and I had my camera ready for it). Oh well, we have to cross again later in the day. We can hope, can’t we?
Soon we were passing the log cabins and breaking through the trees to the boulder field crossing.
The ladies start raving about “Out of Africa.” They’re giddy.
The Ladies (Calvin included): Out of Africa
Higher up in Lackawanna Gulch
Mt Champion (13,646’) from Lackawanna Gulch
We turn the corner and head up into the final part of our approach to the NW ridge. The snowfield that I encountered two years ago (almost to the day) was there, but this time it’s a little wider.
Most of us went to the right of the snowfield one way or another. Calvin went to the left of it.
At the saddle, we take a break. This is the part that I was told to write about giving a “beer wench” flowers. The wench comment is not my own words. I don’t think she’s a wench. She does serve beer though, and she’s cute. I’m a sucker. I digress.
Pan from the saddle
Grizzly Peak A (13,988’) still sporting its snowline (i.e., Grizzly Couloir)
Lisa’s 14er finisher, and she did it on my birthday (for some reason I was invited on that one too)
Castle Peak (14,265’) in the center, in the distance
We depart from the saddle, and head towards the summit.
Summit is in sight, Calvin waits for us
The Dudes. Peace Bro
The Pill Pusher
It’s ok, he has a license or a degree or something like that—so it’s legit. And purely for medicinal purposes only.
We linger. We eat. We laugh. Calvin makes adjustments, or something, I don’t really want to know.
The girls continue to talk about “Out of Africa.” Oh, don’t forget about the soundtrack. Music to my ears, I’m sure. (Can I get a HellYeah!? Seriously, I like HellYeah.)
Part II of our Bad-Ass Expedition: Pt 13,660'
13,660’ B—softranked if you care
Ranks. Well, a few weeks ago I thought I hit the centennial mark on 13ers, which I did, but I thought they were all ranked 13ers. I was wrong. There goes my parade to the rain. I’m a slacka, and obviously I don’t know how to tell the difference between ranked, soft-ranked, and un-ranked. (But in reality, it’s 14ers.com’s checklist that counts for me, cuz’ I can’t count that high).
Proper ranking is high on my list of ethics. It’s very important to follow the rules of “the list.”
Coming up ridgeline of 13,660’
Poor Rhonda, she’s posing on the summit with the author
We linger. We eat. I probably made someone cry (sorry Calvin). We leave.
NW ridge descent
On the descent, I made it up as we went along, which isn’t hard to do—I make up stuff all the time (for instance, this report). It continued to rollover and get steeper, I went right. Probably should have gone left if I wanted to follow “the route.”
We ended up hiking down some steep grassy slopes, where it cliffed out in the center, but to the left was a gully I investigated, only for that option to cliff out with water-polished steep slabs. We tried another gully to the E, and it went with a couple of short class 3 moves to gain the mellower portion of the loose gully to get to the tundra slopes below.
Calvin found a different option, which kept him on steep tundra benches, and Dave and Rhonda followed.
Mt Champion & UN something-or-other
At the end of the ridge-line that can be seen in the above photo is where I steered us in the wrong direction. But oh well, we made it down without incident.
End of my story. If you talk with anyone else that was on this trip, I’m sure they will confirm most of the above statements. If they do not confirm and flat out deny, don’t believe them. They’re shady.
Thanks for reading my bad(ass) report. (Or maybe I should apologize?),