Peak(s):  Unnamed 11180 - 11,180 feet
Unnamed 11328 - 11,328 feet
Post Date:  10/18/2012
Modified:  10/19/2012
Date Climbed:   10/14/2012
Posted By:  Kevin Baker
Additional Members:   sstratta

 Return to the Lost Creek Wilderness   

Unnamed 11180
Unnamed 11328
Lost Creek Wilderness
18 miles RT, 5200’ gain
From Twin Eagles TH (8560’)
October 14, 2012
Participants: Sarah Strattan and Kevin Baker

Every shoulder season, I make it a point to hit some remote peaks in the Lost Creek Wilderness. The journey through the list of 37 ranked summits has been a ton of fun. Not many duds in this list at all as these peaks hold a ton of intrigue and the views never disappoint! Three years ago I was in the McCurdy Park area hoping to sweep the 3 11ers nearby plus McCurdy Tower, but we ran out of time. I had to “orphan” Unnamed 11328 to the southwest, leaving a huge hike to include it with 11180. 11180 is one of the most remote peaks in the the LCW and it indeed is well worth the 8.5 miles or so to get back there!

I sent out a few invites and Sarah was up for some fun, which would be her maiden voyage in the LCW. She has just got back from a work related trip to Ecuador and she climbed 4 volcanoes at the end of the trip. This little LCW romp will be a cake walk compared to that! We set out from the Twin Eagles TH at 6:15am on a crisp, fall morning. The long 6 mile approach to McCurdy Park went fairly quickly despite the endless switchbacks and we were soon enjoying a nice break with some pretty sweet views.


McCurdy Park

We knew the rest of the day would not be near as easy, because you’re usually in for a beatdown in the LCW when you bushwhack. The first obstacle is to skirt the huge swamp in McCurdy Park on the west side. It is tempting to cut straight across, but even late in the year it is quite wet. We then went over 3 small saddles on the east slopes of McCurdy, which was a nice little handrail to stay on course to 11180. There were towers on each of these saddles, which made the navigating easier.
We finally got a view of 11180 as we descended from the final saddle and headed up to its west ridge.

11180 finally in view and it's a beauty!

The beautiful approach to the west ridge


We were surrounded by walls of rock and blue skies with just an inch of snow on north facing slopes. The weakness on 11180 is a narrow 3rd class gully on the north face. We wrapped around and traversed some low angle slabs to reach what we thought was the crux, but it turned out we didn’t go far enough east.

Looking for the weakness on the north side.

The gully we climbed had a couple moves of 4th class near the bottom before relenting.

Sarah at the crux in the wrong gully

Me at the same spot looking down

Downclimbing that would have been a bit awkward, so we thought perhaps we didn’t climb the correct gully. The summit area is sort of a plateau of rock with tons of little towers above the south face. If you look closely, you can see what looks like 3 faces in the rock!

See the faces?

The crux is a short 4th class move to get on the summit block with a little gap underneath. We topped out around 11:45 and soaked in the views on a gorgeous day. There were only 29 entries in the register and I knew everybody!

The vast summit area

The short 4th class crux to the summit

We weren’t looking forward to the next part of the hike, which is a long 3 mile bushwhack to 11328.

Looking back at the long slog over 3 saddles to McCurdy Park

We were able to find the correct gully descending finding some webbing in this 3rd class gully.


Looking up the correct gully

We reversed tracks back over the saddles and traversed around McCurdy Park’s swamp on the east side this time, passing underneath magnificent McCurdy Tower. I did my first multi pitch climb on that face and it was a blast. The true summit requires a shoulder boost unless you’re a really creative climber!

McCurdy Tower


We went over the saddle s.w. of McCurdy Tower, and headed east for 11328. I didn’t read up on this one at all and didn’t realize it was 4th class!


We scrambled up some big blocks to the south side of the summit block end decided to climb a little tunnel to access the final summit moves. We had to take out packs off because it was so tight!

The pack had to come off

Sarah climbing up the tunnel

11328 is sort of a mini Sunlight with a 4th class slab climb being the crux. We ended up doing a harder line on the east side of the summit block that was very unique. It was quite exposed for an 11er! For the downclimb, we dropped onto a chockstone between the two big blocks.

The summit block

Downclimb from the summit

Dropping down to the chockstone

We topped out at 4:15 and knew we would be hiking out in the dark. The descent was uneventful until just after dark when we turned on our headlamps. We noticed a tent on the hike in about 2 miles from the trailhead and it was still there when we returned. The trail is probably only 100 feet away, so we passed by quietly as we turned on our headlamps so they knew there were people walking by. They were laughing and carrying on, perhaps drunk. All the sudden one of them yells at us and the last words were, “and we have a loaded gun!” I told Sarah to pick up the pace and one of them started following us from a distance! It was quite the Deliverance moment and I had banjos playing in my head. We got back to the trailhead around 8pm, a nearly 14 hour day in the LCW. I must say those are two very cool 11ers with a lot of bang for the buck.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Gotta love the LCW     10/19/2012 14:11
Nice report, Kevin!


Awesome...     10/19/2012 15:44
...climbs and a nail biting finish to boot!


The LCW!     10/19/2012 16:00
First, Derek’s recent report, and now yours. Looks like a lot of fun to be had there. I have Bison planned for tomorrow and am excited. Wasn’t to excited to read about your “Deliverance moment” though. Fingers crossed nothing like that comes my way.

Thanks for sharing.



Lost Creek ...     10/19/2012 16:14
won't be lost much longer with Derek's and your great reports! What a fabulous area! Thanks for the report, Kevin!


Cool stuff...     10/19/2012 17:12
...and I see Mr. Blue Skies enjoyed his namesake weather conditions again!

Looks like a fun day. Gotta get to the LCW one of these days!

That story at the end is pretty spooky... very glad to hear you two escaped unscathed from that encounter.

Kevin Baker

publicity     10/19/2012 18:18
I kind of feel uneasy giving publicity to the LCW, but in the end I don't think there's a huge influx of visitors from TR's. 99% of the people who hike in the LCW stick to the trails, but there are few trails that go to summits! Kevin/Sarah, you should get up there for sure! Hope you have a great first hike in the LCW on Bison, Mindy. Heck of a peak.


Awesome     10/19/2012 18:58
I think I know where I'll be all winter.

Congrats to Sarah on the volcanoes and the trip.


11180     10/19/2012 19:20
Hi Kevin, nice to see 11180 again. I love that peak. I'm curious, how often does it get climbed these days? I remember maybe 7 entries on the register when I first climbed 6-7 years ago.


Thanks for posting     10/19/2012 19:32
Still have my eye on these two for this fall, so it is a very timely report. I guess this clarifies that there really is a class 3 route up 11180. I remember the discussion on 14erWorld when someone found a route under class 5, never knew how accurate that was. Seems to be pretty accurate! Did you happen to check out the chimney route while you were there?

Looks like you and I will be down to just the 2 technical 9ers on our lists before too long, huh?


Kevin Baker

good one to explore     10/20/2012 02:08
Kane-I think the register was placed in '98 or so by Garratt and there were 29 entries, so that averages out to about 2 visitors per year. As on many of these obscure peaks, there have been more visitors since LOJ started.

Derek-Yes, those 2 technical 9ers are on my short list for sure. I've been trying to get a friend to lead me up them before it gets too cold. Can't wait to do those! The ”chimney” we downclimbed was more like a gully. The true crux is right below the summit, and I would call it brief 4th class. Here is Sarah downclimbing it.


It was Fantastic...     10/22/2012 03:26
The Bison Peak area was amazing. After I broke out of the trees, I couldn’t help but throw my pack down and play! Ran into a group of “cowboys on horses” but didn’t see any guns. Thanks again for sharing your adventure.


Nice Report     10/24/2012 20:04
Excellent trip report. Lot's of tasty options in that Wilderness. LCW is always nice in the shoulder seasons when snow might prevent access to other areas.

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