09/29/07 (written by Dwight Sunwall)
Trail Head - Lost Park Campground 9890' 5:50am
Pt. 11517 8:52am
Pt. 11180 “Wigwam Peak” 11:41am
Pt. 11230 12:58pm
Pt. 11180 B 5:17pm
Pt. 11762 7:43pm
Trail Tail – Twin Eagles 8593' 10:45pm
Partners; Keith Bershader, Jeff Kunkle, Wayne Herrick, Denali
25.6 miles and ~9300'
Herrick “Who dreams up this stuff and why do I want to do it?” The only
answer I could think of at the time, “so the beer and brats taste better.”
They were tasting very good at the moment, seventeen and a half hours after
leaving Lost Park Campground.
Last year Bob Dawson, Jeff Kunkle, Keith Bershader, Steve Nichols, and I hiked
the 11z12ers, that was 39 miles and 8000'.
That hike took us about 19 hours, but the hike was considerably different, the
first 9 peaks were all on the Platte River Mountain Ridge, not a lot of
elevation drop between peaks and the hiking was wide open. Most of the hike was
on trail. Only two of the five peaks on this years hike were on the same ridge,
lots of bushwhacking was involved, over 50% of the route was off trail, with
lots of deadfall to contend with.
Wayne Herrick took Steve Nichols place and Denali took Boobs place this year, a
pretty rough crowd of dudes who care more about adventure and big miles than
peak bagging. I think Jeff is now after all the LCW summits though. Wayne is
after the Seven Summits, d'oh, what am I doing here? Denali made all the Peaks
on this hike except 11180B.
started where Lost Creek begins in Lost Park, the Wigwam trail meanders along
the south edge of a big open marshy area. Lost Creek heads south about 2.5 miles
later, we continued east on the east branch of Lost Creek and followed it up
slope towards Windy Peak, less than one mile before Windy Peak we turned south
east to Pt. 11517. This point has the typical interesting pink granite rock on
the summit but was class two at best.
We continued along the ridge east to catch the Rolling Creek trail that took us
down south to Wigwam Creek, we crossed immediately and continued off trail
upslope to the ridge west of “Wigwam Park Peak”. The dudes were ahead of me
at this point and were eating on point 11171. Jeff was signing
the register when I arrived; my GPS was telling me this was not “Wigwam
Peak”. The point to the east did look lower but I had to check with my level,
sure enough it was a few feet higher. We headed east 1000' and arrived on the
other 11180, “Wigwam Peak”. This peak also had a register.
The next summit was west on the same ridge. Pt. 11230 was a little more
difficult to summit, the south side looked like 5th class, the north side looked
better but at first didn't reveal an easy route. Wayne and I eventually found a
slightly exposed 4th class route up. Jeff was looking for a route that was dog
friendly, I pointed out
the very west end, and they were up in no time. This summit had a long narrow
ridge; the wind was kicking up pretty good, almost knocking me down the north
side. We could see most of the rest of the hike from this summit, 11180B looking
like a fortress against the north east slopes of the massive McCurdy Mountain.
Traveling directly towards 11180B was out of the question with the large rock
ramparts above Lost Creek blocking passage. The only reasonable way through was
to head directly west to the creek and take the Lost Creek gulch down to the
confluence with McCurdy Creek. This gulch is one of my favorite Lost Creek
areas, a narrow canyon with huge rock formations on both sides, many ponds and
hide amongst the Aspens and firs. The Aspens were prime golden yellow.
At the confluence we headed due south towards 11180B, this was a steep climb
2000’ up through the Aspen, including many dead removable trees, both standing
and crossing path. This was the 3rd time up for me and Keith’s second. The
crux is a 5.3~ chimney squeeze, a little too much for Denali. The only thing new
on top was a dead eagle, I wonder if the old guy came here to spend his last
moments in this wonderful place.
would have made sense at this point to return to Lost Park and camp, but our
plans called for 3 more 11ers, and our camp was already set up at Twin Eagles.
We knew that 3 more was unreasonable as it was already after 5pm, Jeff made the
call, we would climb 11762 and head for Twin Eagles. We did not drop all the way
down to McCurdy Park trail as this would have been a lot of elevation loss. I
had read Kane’s bit about climbing 11180 from the south where he took a path
east slopes, this worked perfect for us, keeping our elevation above 10,750’.
We hooked up with the McCurdy Brookside trail on the south east side of McCurdy,
followed it up to the pass and then headed south to 11762, we climbed it without
headlamps but put them on at the summit. This was the second time on 11762 for
both Keith and I, why?
The rest of the hike was looking like a repeat of last year, after 8pm coming
down from McCurdy and the 6 mile hike to Twin Eagles in the dark. I was feeling
much better this year, and it was not raining this time. We made it a little
quicker this time arriving in camp at 10:45pm, feeling like a million bucks,
cooking brats, and having a few recovery drinks. The next morning we had the
usual breakfast of pancakes, (not scrambled this time) eggs, and bacon bacon
bacon, 2lbs of bacon, it must have taken Jeff over an hour to cook it all, he
was smiling the whole time.
hike doesn't really make sense from a peak bagging point of view, it just sort
of evolved from our original idea of hiking all the 11ers in the retirement
range, linking them together in one grand hike. This would include 35,000' of
gain and 80 miles, more than any of us wanted or could do in one weekend. We
then decided to break it up into 3 sections, this was the first and most
interesting, as it travels through the heart of the Lost Creek Wilderness.