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|Conditions Information||Posted By||Posted On|
|2016-10-16||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Peak was extremely windy above 12,000 ft. Around the same point, there is light snow. Closer to about 13k and above, I highly recommend microspikes. At certain spots, snow was knee deep. Route was slightly hard to find as it appeared that new snow had fallen the night before. Stay towards the ridge and you should be fine.
|2016-10-13||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: Banner day on La Plata. It didn't appear that anyone has been on this route since the last snow storm. Road is snow free all the way to the trail head. Upper basins marshy area was frozen in the morning and a muddy mess on the way out. Ridge has typical windblown snow. A foot or so deep in places, but avoidable with a bit of navigation. We took traction but never used it. I have done La Plata from the std route and this one was just as fun. Had the entire mountain to ourselves the entire hike. Rare occurrence these days. Abandon tent (that based on the comments below) has been sitting for what appears to be well over 2 months and countless people walking by it, is now removed. If its yours and you want it back, its will be in my trash can until Wed. You better have a good reason for leaving it along with the tons of trash inside it. LNT!!
|2016-10-12||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Started at 3 am and summited by 8 back down by noon. About 4 inches of fresh powder in the last 24 hrs from forecast. Light dusting of snow started at 10k, mostly melted by noon. Trailhead is dry. Snow gets gradually deeper starting at treeline, going to the summit. Freeze thaw conditions and deep blown snow toward summit. Traction is not required but recommended for the icey conditions.
|2016-09-25||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Fairly minimal snow - mostly above 13k, and melting rapidly even there. Made some rocks a little slick, but not nearly enough to warrant spikes. Beautiful day, zero wind on the summit and no storm hazard! Aspens in la plata gulch are a bit past peak, but the drive along 82 is spectacular right now!
|2016-09-17||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: The only snow I saw all the way to the top was small patches between rocks where the sun never shines. The lower part of the trail in the basin is very muddy. Early in the morning the mud was all frozen and easy to avoid. On the way back down it was a bit harder to stay out of it. Also a couple of streams intersecting the path on the climb from basin to ridge that freeze in the morning, but narrow enough to avoid slipping. No traction needed.
|2016-09-17||Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Info: The route was virtually snow free with some snow in the shaded areas. In these areas, snow was about 1 inch dep. Only a couple of times did we have to contend with snow in smaller, completely shaded gullies. It was slick, but we managed just fine without traction.
|2016-09-17||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Trail is basically in summer condition. There were a few spots up high where some snow remained on the trail (1/2" or less) but it was easy to avoid or just take care where you step. Leaves in the Independence Pass area are looking mighty good. Some aspen colonies have already peaked, others not quite yet. This coming week should be the best viewing time for the area.
|2016-09-17||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: I started hiking at 4:20, and the trail was really well made and solid until about 13,000. There were a few muddy spots below treeline but nothing serious, and these had mostly dried up by the time I descended (10:30). There were a few patches of snow, especially above 13,500, but most of these were avoidable. The summit was windy and very cold, so be sure to bring (and put on before getting up there) lots of layers if you plan to spend a long time on the summit.
|2016-08-31||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Heavy storm the evening before left 3 inches of snow on the top, mainly above 13,500. It was easy to walk through. The real issue was all the moisture around; clear skies allowed a lot of dew and a heavy frost on everything. The bunch of small logs across the 2nd creek looked too risky; I went upstream a little ways for slightly less risky boulders. But the worst was the frost. All the rocks were covered and extremely slick. Unless it was perfectly flat, every step had to be wedged between more than one rock. And much of the upper areas were shaded until 9 or 10am. Haven't been that afraid of hurting myself on a mountain in many years. Otherwise, an okay trail. You can tell a lot of work has been put into it. But right now I think the SW ridge has to be preferred. I wish I had made the drive back there.
|2016-08-25||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: Clear dry and frozen going up... Then dry sleet coming down. 6+30 round trip from a half mile short of 4WD TH (I'm old and flatlander just flown in yesterday. Ps... Abandoned tent still there.
|2016-08-11||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: There is an apparently abandoned tent within a mile of the 4WD TH. There is nothing but a bit of junk inside (no packs, bags); if it is still there in a few days, I think it is safe to remove. The marshy area is still a bit obnoxious, but we saw few bugs. I wore low-tops, and got one slight soaker; just be prepared to jump.
|2016-07-17||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: The marshy area in the willows has one spot that's a muddy, sloppy mess and difficult to avoid completely. So I would recommend actual hiking books rather than running shoes as those are no fun when they get wet (although I did see someone hike up the peak in Chacos). The gravel chute up to the ridge is quite steep and slippery-- make sure to move quickly and watch your step so you don't slide down! There will likely be lots of bugs as you return down to treeline and back to your car even if it is windy at the summit-- don't count on a breeze down lower to keep the bugs away. I didn't see many mosquitoes, but the flies are really annoying. I took my friend up here yesterday: this was only her second 14er, and she doesn't do a lot of hiking to begin with. Overall, I think this is a good route for a beginner who still wants a bit of a challenge.
|2016-07-16||Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Info: No snow on the route, summer conditions. We saw one or two totally avoidable patches of snow. Feel free to travel light and fast. Side note, this route is LONG. Took us 12 hours round trip with a long lunch break. We're not usually slow, but it took almost 3 hours to gain the ridge, and about 5.5 hours on the ridge itself.
|2016-07-09||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: The road up to the trailhead is in great condition and I easily made it in a Tiguan past the very mild "washout" before the trailhead. Mosquitoes on the lower portion of the route were terrible due to a lot of standing water in the marshy area (don't expect to keep your shoes free of mud). The section up to 12,800' is very steep with a lot of dry, loose rock that you pretty much are surfing on the way down. Route finding on the upper section is hard. Find as many cairns as you can. We couldn't find the way down that we came up and it was slow going climbing over large rocks. My gps watch had this at 9 miles, not 7, so take that for what it's worth. Overall, there is probably a reason this is not the standard route and I'm not sure if I would choose it if I had to do it again...might be worth it to climb a few hundred more feet to have a more enjoyable time.
|2016-07-09||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Summer conditions on the way up. Trail is completely dry except for a few yards down by the creek where it is "damp", and there is no snow to avoid on the trail.
|2016-07-04||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: Great conditions. The meadow above treeline is a bit soggy, but easily navigable. Summer conditions all the way to the summit, no snow to avoid.
|2016-06-26||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: I hiked the SW ridge with no problems just starting just before the 2nd washout from the Winfield TH. There was plenty of SUV's and stock pickups crossing the washout crossing, but I decided against it. We started out at 5am hit the summit at 8am. Very little snow to contend with and all of it was easily avoidable. The willows were wet but plenty of little rocks and logs to hop across and not get too wet on the way up and down. We took our time on the way down with a great day and no threat of a storm. Overall the trail is in great condition and ready for peak summer conditions.
|2016-06-19||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: La Plata is in 98.5% summer conditions. Meaning, right before you gain the ridge after all the gnarly switchbacks, there's two slabs of snow you have to cross - but its icy and walkable before 830 but mushy and sinkable to thighs in places around midday. Nothing too bad to worry about, boots will trek right through it dont worry about microspikes, snowshoes, etc. - just walk through it. And then, glissade down. Super fun. La Plata was a little more than I bargained for, physically, it gassed me pretty good but got to enjoy the beautiful conditions on the summit for over 30 minutes on a bright, sunny day. Enjoy this mountain this summer.
|2016-06-18||Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: The SW ridge of La Plata is looking like summer. There's still a few snowfields, that are soft and slushy by midday, and are totally avoidable. The walk through the willows is almost nothing but mud. Sometimes, you might sink in 6 inches or more if you're not careful. Other than that, it's a great hike, the trail is hard to follow in places, but you can follow the cairns and you'll be ok. Still some snow on the summit as well.
|2016-06-12||Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Route is mostly dry with a few muddy spots down low, one large snowfield right before gaining the ridge (easy to miss the trail access on the left, we muddled our way right) which was fun to glissade down later, a few small snowfields on the ridge between rock areas that may or may not be hip-depth postholing depending on time of day. No special equipment required (not even microspikes), we were in mountaineering boots which killed us on the downhill, but you'd be fine in hiking boots, and could get away with trail runners if you don't mind the occasional snowfield. Just don't be that person hiking up at 1pm thinking it's a walk in the park as the storm clouds come rolling in.