| Wandering in the LCW
October 19th, 2008
"Zephyr" - 12,067'
"Peak Z" - 12,244'
"Peak Y" - 12,274'
Trailhead - Long Gulch
RT Distance - 8 miles ?
Elevation Gain - 3,100' ?
Well, I came pretty close to not heading to the mountains at all on this weekend. I had agreed to volunteer at City Park for some trail building on Saturday morning which lasted to a little after noon. Between this and my still black and blue knee from Gemini the previous weekend (see last trip report), Sunday was beginning to look like it may be a day of sleeping.
But that feeling didn't last. It never does.
Saturday night saw me setting my alarm for early the next morning, and Sunday morning I was throwing my pack together and heading out the door with my Lost Creek Wilderness map.
I chose Long Gulch TH as my starting point, and I arrived there somewhere close to 9 AM. A little late, but it was supposed to be a nice day. My plan was to start with "Zephyr", which is the southern most peak in the Peak X Group. From there, I would hike north until I felt like dropping back off west to my truck.
The first couple miles of the route to "Zephyr" follows the Colorado Trail. It was a nice trail, but it was so flat that it felt like I was barely gaining altitude. There was a little snow cover on the trail just before North Lost Pass, but this would be the last I would see.
Hiking up towards North Lost Pass on the Colorado Trail
The views in the North Fork of Lost Creek were great, and I made a few mental notes of camping areas that I may head back for this winter. After going over North Lost Pass, the next mile descends slightly while making my way to "Zephyr's" southwest slopes.
North Fork of Lost Creek
I could catch glimpses of "Zephyr" as I continued South/Southwest, and after slowly descending for a while I lost patience and left the Colorado Trail on a direct line with the summit. Probably not the best idea, because before long I found myself entrenched in brush and mud. And this was some evil brush. It wasn't just annoying like the the Guanella willows, it was also strong. I was literally getting caught up like a fly in a web. After spending way too much time and energy fighting the brush (that probably could have been saved by continuing a bit further on the Colorado Trail) I finally reached some aspen groves that allowed for an easier ascent.
I reached the summit a short while later, and enjoyed a little scramble to the top. From here, I had some great views of the Mosquito's to the west and front range to the north-northeast.
From "Zephyr" summit, view to the south, Pikes Peak in the distance
From "Zephyr" summit, view to the NE, looking at most of the front range fourteeners
I read through the summit register (finding many familier names) and 10 minutes later I headed northwest to "Peak Z".
Looking ahead to "Peak Z" from "Zephyr"
Large flat saddle between "Peak Z" from "Zephyr" on a great looking day.
The one mile between the two summits seemed quick, even after I made the trip a little longer by extending further northeast, trying to lose as little elevation as possible. I reached the summit and was treated to a fun little step up move to reach the final summit block. I also met two other groups on top of "Peak Z". One was heading on to "Zephyr", the others in same direction as myself, towards "Peak Y". Seemed strange for 3 different groups to be at the same spot in the usually empty LCW, but it was nice to see others out enjoying the great weather.
Looking back at "Zephyr" from the summit of "Peak Z"
Looking ahead to "Peak Y" from summit of "Peak Z" (with "Peak X" and "X Prime" beyond)
I decided to descend a long north ridge leading away from the summit of "Peak Z", giving some class 3 options to the normal class 1 route. I dropped off the ridge about halfway across, but I plan on going back and ascending the full ridge at some point on another trip, seems like it would be a fun route. After dropping from the ridge, I made a direct line up towards "Peak Y".
Looking back at the ridge off of "Peak Z"
Approaching "Peak Y"
I knew once I arrived on top of "Peak Y" that I was going to be done for the day. My late start and slower than usual pace was pushing on time, and I wanted to be back home before too late. Also, heading on to "Peak X" and "X Prime" would take me further away from my vehicle, so I scrapped any hope of completing the "Alphabetizer" for this trip.
Looking NE towards Craig Creek.
Great views looking to the west from the summit of "Peak Y"
"Peak X", not today though
I descended the normal "Peak X" route, following the gulley between "Peak Y" and "Peak X" all the way back to my starting point, creating a complete loop.
My descent path. A trail can be picked up just to the edge of the creek.
As always, a great day wandering in the Lost Creek Wilderness.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):