| UN 13,823 - S. Slopes - Upper Lake Creek TH
Peak: UN 13,823
Date: Saturday, April 21, 2007
Team: sdkeil and TalusMonkey
Route: Upper Lake Creek TH
I had identified UN 13,823 (unofficially "Lackawanna Peak") as a good winter access centennial for the spring. After reading SarahT's trip report from two weeks ago, I knew I would have to get this peak soon. sdkeil and I left Lakewood at 0500 Saturday morning and drove to the TH. The unmarked TH is about 15.5 miles west on Hwy 82 from its intersection with Hwy 24 south of Leadville. The elevation is a little over 10,300 along the road. The winter snow closure of Hwy 82 is less than a half mile beyond the TH. We parked on the side of the road. The sun was shining, but we expected overcast skies later.
A photo looking toward UN 13,823 from our parking space. However, the highest point on the foreground slope in this photo (left of center) is near 13,000. The summit cannot be seen.
Two weeks ago SarahT had reported relatively dry conditions on the lower slopes. As you can see in the photo, the snow cover was minimal. SNOWSHOES NOT NECESSARY.
The standard route from this trailhead is along a ridge. However, SarahT had indicated that a shallow couloir was more appealing two weeks ago. sdkiel and I also decided to ascend primarily by a steep couloir. We bushwacked our way through brush and small aspens to reach the couloir.
sdkeil ascending in the timber:
After breaking out of the timber, we made our way into the snow couloir. The snow was firm and the couloir a little steep. Many would prefer crampons, but we were confident in boots and with trekking poles. We anticipated a fast glissade on the return trip.
After the steep couloir, we finally gained a small shelf near 13,000' where we could finally see our objective.
Here's a photo of UN 13,823's true summit from about 13,150:
We continued along a mostly windblown ridge toward the summit, arriving 3.5 hours after starting at the road. On the summit we had some snacks and drink, and took some photos. It was overcast, but the temperature was 33.6 degrees and it was only slightly breezy.
Looking south from the summit of UN 13,823:
sdkeil and I on the summit of UN 13,823 with La Plata in back:
We left the summit and quickly descended to the shelf at 13,000. From there we quickly descended a little further to reach the snow in the couloir at about 12,800 where we began our glissade. We were able to maintain a 850-900 foot glissade in the couloir - and it was FAST. Then we exited the couloir and continued to descend with short glissades on snowfields below the couloir. There were a few snow flurries during the descent, but nothing of any significance.
Finally, the snow ran out and we quickly descended through thin timber and then over a short moraine to reach the road less than a quarter mile from our car. Although we had started our ascent through some thick brush, we came back down slightly farther west to meet the road and hike back to the car. We recommend ascending from the road at about N39deg 04m36.0s, W106 deg 31m37.8s.
Here is another view of the ascent to 13,000 with our route marked in red:
We returned to the car and headed down to Buena Vista for Pizza. Our total time on this peak was 5h10m. After pizza in Buena Vista we returned to Leadville for the night - with plans to hike Grizzly Peak (13,427') from Loveland Pass on Sunday. Trip report to follow...
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):