Casco Peak - 13908' - North Ridge Class 2+
I did Casco Peak via Lackawanna Gulch from the west starting at the North Fork Lake Creek trailhead just off Highway 82. Corey and I just camped at the trailhead and around sunrise the next morning started up the old road towards Lackawanna Gulch. We had to cross the creek which wasn't hard since it was October. After only 600 feet we basically reached treeline at which point the trail mainly ended. At the major fork in the gulch at 11,600 feet we continued left staying below the south slopes of Mount Champion and following the drainage up and to the east to the base of the 300 foot loose slope from hell! I was truly worried we were going to get caught in a massive rock-slide as everything was so loose. I couldn't believe everything was in place the way it was. I told Corey we should stay together and be quick on this slope. Once we made it up though we got to the saddle between Casco Peak and Frasco Benchmark. The remaining climb up the north ridge was pretty simple and only involved some slight scrambling right at the summit. I could clearly see Leadville from the summit as well as many nearby Sawatch Peaks which I was getting better at identifying. We wanted to traverse to Frasco and French but to my surprise, there were thunderstorm clouds quickly building even in October! So we started down and carefully descended the horrid slope back into the basin. Right as we reached treeline, the entire sky was dark and we even got a little rain just before reaching the car. The descent back down went very quick but we were happy to have decided against French Mountain since we began seeing lightning and hearing thunder.