Driving out to the trailhead, Dave and I were questioning our decision as rain would periodically come down. Once we reached the turnout, that is when we would make our choice. I pulled up several radar maps on my phone and it looked like nothing was headed our way, so we geared up and set out past the gate. The skies were grey and the air moist as we followed the road up toward Lawson and Gaskill. The clouds hid the summits when they should have been within view. The upside of doing this hike twice before was I was familiar with it.
I had debated which peak to do first–Lawson, which was the first but also harder, or Gaskill. In the end, we opted to summit Lawson first. Following the trail upward, the damp brush slowly made our pants and shirts wet. We navigated up the steep slope with no real issues, except for me banging my finger on a rock and needing some band-aids. I slipped on my gloves for some extra protection for the rest of the ascent.
Once at the chimney, Dave scaled it first. As I made my way up, I needed a little help to get past the last rock. We passed through the cave, and since I had gloves on, I moved some broken glass off to the side. We saw the plastic register box off to the side, but we continued working our way up the rocks to the actual summit. No views today, but I was glad to stand atop it again. We did not stay long in case the weather would turn on us. We made our way down the chimney again, then finally to the road and onto Gaskill. The clouds had lifted some, so I could point out the actual summit to Dave.
As we cruised along the road, I spotted an arrow and a use trail that appeared to be the south trail I had read about in some trip reports, but I decided to stick to the trail I knew.
We finally came to the use trail I remembered and set off. We were enjoying the coolness, the quiet, and the smells of the plants as we worked our way closer to the peak. This trail was far less traveled than the Lawson trail, so we had to push through the brush as we climbed ever higher. The trail did vanish at one point, but we did find it again and continued our scramble across the rocks, taking extra care due to the dampness.
Finally, we reached the summit region. When I did Gaskill back in 2018, I was still recovering from my neck injury so I did not attempt the true summit. But this time I was going to make it!
Following a use trail around the south side of the summit, I began looking for a ‘tunnel’ that would lead us up closer to the summit. And there, on the west side, it revealed itself!
We easily clambered our way up, the true summit so very close. The final push required some careful hand and footwork, but I was now atop Gaskill! I proudly signed the register, that was tucked between two rocks. We did not stay long on the summit again, as we did still have a hard descent and several miles of hiking back to the car.
These peaks were #69 and #70 of my #100PeakChallenge!
I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest.
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