"Lackawanna"  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-19, By: PeakSixTD
Info: Most of the recent snow is gone. I was totally fine from TH to summit in approach shoes without traction. There were still a few snow fields to cross, but they were non consequential and probably could be mostly avoided. Creek crossing was a non issue. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-07-26, By: CaptCO
Info: Not the most fun route, but views are good. Creek crossing are interesting but no issue descending them true to gpx (different story going up). Minimal amount of bushwhacking, saw scat/tracks just below treeline. Lots of loose rock/soil after the rain as expected. Descended the grass hill because I didn't wanna deal annoying talus again. Weather held and clouds moved in around 11. Did this back to back with horseshoe 
10 3
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2020-05-21, By: Thevirtualsherpa
Info: Lackawanna is quickly on its way out for the season. Per previous report, snow is in from about 11,000 to a couple of hundred yards from summit...for climbing that is. Descending is another issue. Great turns to be had from about 500 yards down from the summit to base of upper slope. From there, there are several growing patches of rock that can't be avoided. After walking a bit, you can ski/ride another couple hundred vertical feet down to about 12,000 but below that its a rock field in the snow and even with the world's "rockiest" skis, is not skiable (shown in pics) Very hard freeze which allowed me to start late and drop in around 12:00 from the summit. Down to the car in 30 mins from there . Beautiful day and glad to have finally checked this one off the list, even if it was on its last legs for the season. 
2
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2020-05-16, By: Danger_D
Info: Basically the same as the previous report, and a fun day of skiing. Unbroken snow from 11,000 to just under the summit, but the wider area around 12,500 will probably quickly melt out in a few spots. I was able to ski from just below the summit down to about 11,500, but the snow got too crappy/rocky after that. I saw 10+ people on the trail today, so not exactly super isolated. Pic 1 - The crappy snow at the bottom of the gully near 11k Pic 2 - Looking up at the steeper basin from around 12,500' Pic 3 - Looking north to French and Casco (fellow Cents) Pic 4 - Looking south over highway 82 
4
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2020-05-09, By: Reg0928
Info: The gully is in and the climb is strait forward if you've got crampons and an axe. Not sure what time we left the truck (5:30-6:00?), but we hit the summit at 8:45. Ski line currently begins 20ft or so off the summit, and is ride-able most of the way to the road. If you've got old skis/board you don't care about wrecking you could possibly still ride all the way down to the road, but the last bit wouldn't be fun. 
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2020-04-27, By: Marsh
Info: Southwest gully solo ski. Parked along hwy 82 at the "trailhead". 7:30am start, 10:30am at the summit. Excellent conditions for skinning (crampons) then booting (crampons). Bluebird skies, light winds at the top, amazing views. 35 mins to ski continuous 3,400-foot line back down to my truck on the hwy. Stayed skier's left at the top. Plenty of snow in the gully for wide open turns the whole way. 
9 2
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2020-04-26, By: supranihilest
Info: Echoing what CheapCigarMan said. Snow in the gully is continuous top to bottom. I wore microspikes from the road up "Lackawanna", over to 13,660, and all the way back to the road. Snow near the top of the gully was soft and I was postholing about knee deep breaking trail. On descent the snow was crazy sticky and balled up underfoot. A couple of splitboarders caused an avalanche that ripped out the top of the gully, perhaps 100 feet wide and 600-1,000 feet long. Beware of worsening conditions as the heat and sun bake the gully. An ice axe was not strictly necessary but was nice for the traverse to 13,660. Flotation was not necessary at all. Last shot shows the traverse to 13,660. 
9 3
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2020-04-25, By: CheapCigarMan
Info: The gully is in perfect condition. Continuous snow from the highway to the summit. No flotation needed. Used crampons from TH to summit. Gate is open at the La Plata Peak Trailhead. 
8
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2020-04-11, By: bludwig
Info: Amazing conditions from the choke to the summit, snow is not continuous below the choke. Ice axe and crampons were required for the entire hike. Parking spot by the trail is open. Hurry before this melts out. 
2 1
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-08-15, By: 9patrickmurphy
Info: Good trail to treeline! The first creek crossing is high enough that you'll need to take your shoes off, but it's really not that bad. After the second (much smaller) stream crossing, turn right to follow the old road. Super good trail from here. Super good trail all the way to treeline. Then it's steep as all get-out. Great day. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2019-07-21, By: madmattd
Info: Via the NW Ridge. The trailhead was hit by an avalanche this winter, it's open but debris is everywhere. The route itself was mostly unaffected. The stream crossing was knee-deep and quite cold in the morning, though it felt nicer in the afternoon on sore feet. Someone has cleared a lot of the blowdowns on the road, and the trail itself, while a bit overgrown, is passable though there are a couple side-hill loose gravel spots not far below the gulley you aren't supposed to cross that take a little care to not go for a bad slide. Not much to say about the 12000'-13000' section other than I wonder if we could have found a less unpleasant route. Coming down especially involved sections of scree-skiing, and much hopping down rocking talus. Re-reading the route description we may have needed to go a bit further South for better conditions, but according to our GPS tracks we were pretty much on the route from this site. On the ridge was fine, though snowfields and hanging cornices force you a little off the ridge descending to the ridge col from UN 13660'. From the col to the summit is good to go, a small snowfield is right by the summit block, but we used the short Class 3 scramble up/down. 
2
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2019-06-04, By: madadraw1
Info: As per post 6/2/19. Continuous snow starts ~11.7K. Crampons & ice axe. The bushwhacking below that is not bad but glad I left my skis on this one. Would have been a little annoying (not even close to Angle of Shavano annoying) and I came down before snow softened. Snow firm whole way back down to 11.7K between 8:30-9AM. 
2
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2019-06-03, By: Grover
Info: Reached the summit of Lackawanna via the SW Gully off of Hwy. 82. As of this posting, the route can now be called "Lackasnowadownbelowa". From Hwy. 82 you can hike up to the choke of the gully by either avoiding the very large avalanche debris field OR hike up the avalanche debris field up into the gully. As of yesterday, the line of continuous snow in the gully started at 11,700', so you are looking at ~1,300' of hiking before you get to the snow. I used crampons and ice axe from 11,700' all the way up to the summit. Snow was firm and no issues of post-holing going up into the basin (~8:00 a.m.). The snowboard ride down from the summit to 11,700' was straightforward. Snow softened up nicely with the sun (~10:30 a.m.). No wet slabs or roller balls encountered during the ride down. The stream in the gully is flowing strongly. Images: 1.) Casco from the summit. 2.) Independence Pass from the summit. 3.) La Plata from the summit. 4.) The snow coverage in the upper basin. 
4
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2019-04-27, By: angry
Info: There is actually space for one vehicle to park across the street (on the left) from the TH. 6 to 12 inches of freshies from last night; continuous from the road all the way through the choke point. Snowshoes weren't necessary. Crampons also not needed until right before you reach the upper bowl (somewhere around 12K). Two in our group were able to make some turns on the descent. An attempt at glissading resulted in good sized pinwheels so be careful. 
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2019-04-26, By: WildWanderer
Info: 82 is open from Twin Lakes 2.5 miles past the La Plata Trailhead, but there's so much avalanche debris there's no place to park. Seriously: everything that could avalanche has avalanched. It didn't look like anyone has hiked this route since it avalanched. I just followed the avalanche flow up to the summit. From the time I left the road until I summited and made it back down I wore crampons. Microspikes would not have been sufficient. I could hear water flowing under the snow in the gully even at 5am. I used my ice axe for the last half mile or so. The gully has already avalanched, but don't let that fool you: there's still a ton of snow you can't see loaded at the top, ready to fall. Start this hike early to avoid the danger. I started at 4:30am from the La Plata Trailhead, summited at 7am, and was back at my truck at 8:45am. I felt comfortable with this but wouldn't have wanted to start any later. 
5
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-08-08, By: LetsGoMets
Info: Easy water crossings. Route is easy to follow once you identify the turn off onto the overgrown road about .4 miles from the TH. From there, pretty well defined the entire way to tree line if you have paid attention to the route (on the .com at least, Roach appears to possibly have a more direct path). Once at tree line, it opens up a bit but you can typically avoid any scree and mostly climb on grass to just below PT13660B. Easy stroll over to summit block from there. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2018-06-30, By: Count40
Info: Something which may be of use. It is easy trail, but you would still like to spend more time on hiking. Dry-boot creek crossing (no photos, battery flat on the way back, sorry). North Fork creek crossing points of choice: -couple of conveniently placed rocks about 100 feet upstream from that car crossing -much further up, about three hundred yards, mostly meant for those going to Champion, similar crossing, six or seven rocks two or three feet apart. Just like that first one, water flows over most of these, perhaps half inch, not enough to get into your boots. As for location of this second point, it is about 100 feet downstream from that point where two inclined logs cross the creek (creek right about 4 inch diameter, creek left about 10 inch diameter) For both crossings, carefully placed poles are essential. May be of interest to some, a bunch of elks, number I am not quite used to seeing around, 50 or so of them. Tried to add photos, but it crashed couple of times. Elks were below that south PT 13660 ridge, facing Independence Pass. Can see them only once you get about half way up the slope from the timberline 
 
Route: Southwest Gully
Posted On: 2018-05-06, By: B_2
Info: New York's hottest new night club is called Lackawanna SW Gully. This place has everything! Bushwhacking, icy slippery streams, terrain traps, frozen sidehill mud to enjoy, any and all snow conditions imaginable in one place, and 8-12" wind loading with a light crust over unconsolidated near the steeper top 2-300 to get your blood pumping. You can even drive right up to the base because the gate at La Plata TH is open. It even has below-freezing temps with no sun until about 8:30, and a natural bobsled run for your personal items! Watch them tumble 1500 feet down and try to find them later! (sunglasses case, which I actually did find) For entertainment you can even watch middle aged ladies testing their capabilities with no hamstrings wandering around all day wearing crampons, shivering when still, and too afraid to glissade and thus a little crabby! Skiing might not be very enjoyable at this time, imho - did not bring mine today...Lower needs to soften up (or go later in the day but I was descending at 10-11) and the top needs to consolidate. There was about 200 vert of what I would consider nice conditions for any method of snow travel on the entire route, but I'm not as bad ass as most of you skiers. 
4
 
Route: French/Frasco/Casco/Lackawanna/13660B Combo
Posted On: 2017-09-16, By: JasonKline
Info: Got under an inch of snow on September 16, but the snow promptly melted except for north-facing slopes. Slippy at points between Casco and Frasco, which was already the toughest part of the hike. There were some decent winds and relatively cold temperatures with the snow, so winter is on its way. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2017-07-16, By: zinj
Info: Below treeline: significant time savings if you manage to find and STAY on the old roadbed up to the top of three cabin ruins. If not, climbers' trails abound, but you'll get wet. Above treeline: "Northwest Ridge" route is largely a fiction. Several trail segments, both useful and not-so-useful, appear and disappear without any obvious pattern. Improvised ascent around on the west face of the NW ridge (rather than the spine of the NW ridge itself), on solid grasses and reasonable talus was FAR superior to my attempt to follow the Northwest Ridge on descent. The standard route is awful. Any rocks you dislodge may bounce for hundreds of yards. Please be careful and consider either: 1) using the valley route (gets closer to Casco before turning south to ascend to Lackawanna's ridge) or 2) making sensible decisions farther counter clockwise on the western aspect of the NW ridge-- slightly gentler pitch than NW slopes will allow you to minimize tundra impact and not dislodge any rocks at all. 

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