Peak(s):  "Lackawanna"  -  13,823 feet
Date Posted:  09/14/2011
Modified:  09/15/2011
Date Climbed:   09/11/2011
Author:  d_baker

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')
*Sawatch Range*

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?)

Disappointment #1
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.

Disappointment #3
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 Ladies

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.

Big Wave

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'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?),

 Comments or Questions

Entertaining Read
09/15/2011 04:01
Thanks Darrin. Where was the mud bog? I seem to have a similar knack in route finding so I'd like to avoid that if at all possible. TRs are getting pretty darn funny on this site. And, yes, the list is the most important thing to abide by in the hills. Everything else are just minor details.


Nice One Darrin
09/15/2011 14:03
I love enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning along with some colorful writing and photos. Thanks for sharing!


If we ever get out...
09/15/2011 15:23
...and I hope we do, you are not allowed to take my picture! I have a way of looking goofy at things like creek crossings.
I've always heard that Lackawanna is a miserable slog best done with snow. You've made it into anything but!
Thanks for spiking my morning coffee with laughter.


I think Hoffa is buried in that mud bog...
09/15/2011 22:00
Nice writeup D-A-R-I-N. I can't believe these guys I associate with refuse to spell your name correctly. I think we need to knock some sense into them. I'll tell you what, you take Floyd (former NFL player) and I'll take benners. Deal?


hah! oh. and thanks too.
09/16/2011 00:00
Thanks for the comments everyone. Even if you did spel mi nam rong.
Pap...I don't know if I want to mess with Floyd. Dogs bite. But Scot, maybe. ;)

The mud bog was on our descent from Mt Ouray (as I was leading us on a bushwack) to get back to Marshall Pass. It was a funny moment for sure! Luckily Calvin didn't lose a boot.

Matt, Heckel wasn't happy with the stream crossing pic. If you and I get out sometime, I'll try to improve with my picture taking.


To be perfectly honest...
09/16/2011 00:03
...I simply piggybacked my name spelling off of Floyd's, so in reality it's more like 75% his fault .


09/16/2011 05:19
I'll help you out with Floyd, but he's my ride these days. This wouldn't be the first time someone would have asked me to kick his ass either surprisingly enough.

Nice TR DARIN, but I will be hitting this peak with snow, preferably when the avy danger isn't extreme around the Indy Pass region. And here I thought postholing up to your johnson was limited to snow. Folks at Goretex might have to go back to the drawing board with terrain features like that.


Thrown under the bus by Benners
09/16/2011 15:19
I don't bite, but I'm Barry Bonds with a hiking pole. I seem to be making all sorts of friends on the site these days and the funniest part is Helmut isn't lying about being asked to kick my a$$.

DARIN, glad to hear that was actually on a mountain I've climbed. I guess the 3 feet of snow we plunged through covered that bog up for me. Awesome report again, even the banter is entertaining.


Your TR's keep getting better!
09/17/2011 15:55
Great read (I won't try to spell your name)
Thanks for posting!

Dad Mike

I like this trip report...but I don't like you
08/12/2014 23:13
So this was a Springs reunion huh? Funny, I don't remember an invite. Thanks a lot dude.

Size 12 feet? Damn!


Poor Lil' Mikey
09/28/2011 01:04
Be Mad at Heckel, it was her trip. ;)
Lacka is too tame for you anyway. You should have come up to Avon to visit me this summer for a Gore-rrific time somewhere!


Very entertaining...
08/21/2012 22:50
And Jeez, you get no respect do you d_baker? (There, did I spell correctly?)

Looks like this was an enjoyable day in spite of the sLacka slog. I'll still approach this Class 2 with caution.

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