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La Plata Peak  
Report
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Route  Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2012-05-23  Northwest Ridge  Trail is clear of snow and very well maintained up to around 12,500ft, at which point you encounter a snowfield that you can rock hop around or hike up. I would have liked to have had an axe with me for peace of mind when I hiked up the snow field, but the odds of needing it, or any other gear, are very small. I‘ve attached a photo of the snow field going from around 12,500ft-13,300ft. The snowfield makes for a very fast and fun descent once the sun has had some time to soften it up. kylerhuss   2012-05-27 1     Edit Delete 
2012-05-20  Northwest Ridge  Summer hike to the top of the ridge. At 13,500 you will encounter a snow field to the summit, this can be avoided if you want to stay on the rocks. No gaiters or ice ax used for the day. Micro spikes used briefly on descent. Beautiful day! jblyth17   2012-05-21 4  1    Edit Delete 
2012-04-29  Southwest Ridge  4wd trail head is open to register. We hiked up to the meadow at 12,500ft The trail had numerous 3 and 4 foot high snow drifts. The trail thru the meadow was indiscernible (willows) - not even sure if snowshoes would help after it had softened. The switch back up to the 13,000 ft ridge was snow packed. Monte Meals   2012-04-30  0     Edit Delete 
2012-04-28  Southwest Ridge  I climbed La Plata by the southwest ridge. The road was sufficiently clear that I was able to drive all the way to the upper trailhead in a stock Isuzu Trooper with street tires. There are only a couple of 10 foot long sections that require you to drive over snow. The lower part of the trail is clear, but soon we started running into some deep snow banks on the trail. The snow was still hard in the morning so it wasn‘t so bad, but there was still some post holing. Bring your gaiters Above treeline the trail is completely buried in snow, so we walked on the patches of dry ground and crossed snowfields as necessary. On the upper part of the mountain Yak Trax or the like could be useful, but you‘ll be climbing half the time on rocks and half the time on snow, so that‘s up to you. Snowshoes would‘ve been nice on the way down in the valley. You probably won‘t need them anywhere above the saddle unless you get there late. But after noon the snow in the valley got really mushy and there was much post holing. I‘d suggest leaving the snowshoes at the end of the valley before you ascend the saddle and then using them to cross the valley on the way back. We started hiking at 9:30am, peaked at 1:30pm, and got back to the car (at the upper trailhead) at 3:30pm. Lindyhapa   2012-04-28  0     Edit Delete 
2012-04-20  Northwest Ridge  I attempted the northwest ridge of La Plata yesterday. The recent storm had dropped three to five inches of new snow on top of the snow laid down by the big storms earlier in April. There was quite a bit more snow than I had seen on my ascent of Mt. Antero in early March, and quite a bit more snow than I had expected after our ultra-dry winter. The road to the trailhead was dry, despite the recent snow. I re-broke the trail into La Plata Gulch and up to about 11,200. The summer trail is invisible above about 11,100. I contemplated heading straight up to the ridge, but I had planned to shoot sunset from the summit and the thought of descending all that snow-covered talus was not appealing. Good judgment finally got the better of me, and I turned around. The new snow will melt quickly, of course, but the drifts are deep enough to linger for several more weeks. You probably won‘t need snowshoes if you‘re traveling early in the morning, but that trail is going to get quite icy very soon, so micro-spikes will be helpful. In short, the peak is still in much more difficult conditions than it will be in summer. Don‘t let our warm March lull you into thinking snow season is over. gprandall   2012-04-21  0     Edit Delete 
2012-04-07  Northwest Ridge  The peak is in great shape with areas of rapid melt out, but has some trouble areas. Around photo 2 in Bills trip report the snow was hard slab with a powder base about stomach deep. On our descent we elected to use the hill to the side to avoid the snow as it had softened up and looked to be primed for a slide. As you cross the terrain in photo 3, we had to traverse 1 large ( 200ft), and a few smaller snow fields. With the cold weather last week there almost no purchase with the spike on my ice axe as we crossed, an a fall would have been very bad here. From about 11,000-11,5000 the snow will be a post hole heaven if you don‘t have cold weather before you go. If anyone has questions PM me for more info. At this time crampons, ice axe, and snow shoes are needed if the standard route is to be followed. If you bushwack a bit and dont mind some extra vertical then microspikes and snowshoes will do the trick. Andymcp1   2012-04-08  0     Edit Delete 
2012-03-14  Northwest Ridge  I climbed Plata today, it was a long day.... a very long day that could have been avoided if we opted to take the standard summer route. The Standard winter route was a frozen snowy prison. I was post holing on every step to my waist with BIG snowshoes on for .25 mile, which lasted for an hour or two. It sucked. DONT DO IT. If I was to advice anyone interested in climbing Plata soon, I would suggest taking the standard route with a packed trail. It‘s really obvious and very solid in the morning, not so much in the afternoon. Definitely bring microspikes and snowshoes. The snowshoes may help if your day lasts as long as mine did. There is also some fairly decent glissading available. Rcizzle   2012-03-14  0     Edit Delete 
2012-03-10  Northwest Ridge  The route looks in fantastics winter conditions climb! We did La Plata Peak, Nothwest Ridge yesterday. The trail all the way up to tree line is well pack, traction will be necessary. From tree line at 11200 feet we head straight to the Northwest ridge, pretty step, rocky with some snow fields. From the Northwest Ridge to the summit, the trail is visible. Microspikes or crampons will be necessary for the last 1500 feet because of the hard pack snow about the ridge. Snowshoes weren‘t necessary about tree line, so we leave them at 11200 feet. javy20040   2012-03-11  0     Edit Delete 
2012-02-18  Northwest Ridge  The trip report from 02/16 covers the risks of the route well. I just wanted to re-emphasize / echo sentiments on two items (last 500 feet to treeline / scree slope just above treeline) as we climbed it on 02/18. Hopefully this write-up helps those trying to get out soon. Item 1 - ~ 11,300 ft to 11,800 ft - I hiked it with a much more experienced climber (chrisinaz) and below the tree line had us both spooked heading down with the sun shining and softenin the snow pack. It‘s very steep with a lot of loose snow and there is risk of sliding off the trail and risk for a slide in that area. The snow is piling up around there so be careful. Item 2 - ~ 11,900 ft to 12,200 ft - The scree slope is the way to go up after you get above treeline but it‘s a little tricky coming down. Just go slow. The route is definitely doable. It‘s beautiful out there right now. Enjoy if you get out! jasayrevt   2012-02-19  0  3    Edit Delete 
2012-02-16  Northwest Ridge  Went via the NW ridge yesterday. TR to follow soon. The trail terminates at treeline below the northern most head wall of the ridge. I chose the steep but short scree slope over traversing the side of the ridge. I feel it was way safer. The crux of this route for me was coming down. On the upper half of the trail BELOW treeline is very steep. The snow was soft and there was nothing for my micro spikes to bite into. I took 4 or 5 hard falls that turned into an uncontrolled slides. There‘s a story for about this to follow in my TR. Basically my glove saved me from smashing into a tree. Crazy I know. When possible I walked down in the powder on either side of the trail to slow my movement down and keep me from sliding. If you attempt this anytime soon be extra cautious coming down on the trail below timberline. Feel free to PM me with any questions. WDavis   2012-02-17  0     Edit Delete 
2012-01-13  Northwest Ridge  Road to trailhead cleared, parking lot cleared. Packed snow on trail into the basin. Micorspikes were helpful on the trail into the basin and almost essential on the ridge. I dropped the snowshoes after about 1/2 mile in. I wished I would have kept them as we glissaded down into the basing on the descent and there was waste deep snow in there. You could follow the standard trail and never need snowshoes. The traverse on the west slope of the NW Ridge looked like a nightmare with the snow on it so we avoided it by ascending the ridge earlier on the way up and descending the ridge (glissading) earlier on the way down. Those were kind of nightmarish also so I‘m not sure it was the better option. Keeping snowshoes and glissading into the basin would probably be my choice in hindsight. The light blue trail is our route and dark blue is the standard route. and the tebowing on the summit did not help the Broncos win DoubelDD   2012-01-16 2     Edit Delete 
2012-01-02  Northwest Ridge  As a supplement to RJansen and Exiled‘s notes: Gaining the ridge earlier seems better than later once out of the trees. A delay in gaining the ridge (or an early left turn on descent) requires crossing sketchy snowfields with mixed talus and boulders and was no fun for anybody. Please see RJansen‘s TR! BenfromtheEast   2012-01-05  0     Edit Delete 
2012-01-02  Northwest Ridge  Summitted La Plata on 1/2/12 with dillonsarnelli. Some other forum members on the moutnain too, all of whom took advantage of the spring-like conditions to grab the summit. Snowshoes are helpful but not essential from the parking lot to treeline. Dillon stashed his maybe 1 mile in, and I didn‘t wear any the entire day as I don‘t own them (had microspikes though, quite helpful). I postholed knee deep maybe 30 times total while in the trees, and only a few times on the ridge. I would say snowshoes are unecessary on the ridge, but microspikes are helpful. Upon leaving the trees the good trench went a million different ways as it seems people were choosing various lines to gain the ridge. We went right and sidehilled on frozen scree before climbing steeply up a gully to the ridge proper, which we followed easily to the summit. The descent was a but spicy as we left the ridge earlier than we had gained it on the ascent, and found ourselves sidehilling loose scree and crossing a few sketchy snowfields. It was unpleasant to say the least but once we hit treeline we cruised to the cars for 8:20 RT. I will have a TR up tonight with pics. Any questions let me know. RJansen77   2012-01-03  0     Edit Delete 
2012-01-01  Northwest Ridge Direct  Snowshoes recommended for the first couple of miles, but as of right now you can safely stash them at the bottom of the scree gully just above timberline. Certainly no need for snowshoes at all along the ridge; we didn‘t even need to break out the microspikes. Be careful when ascending and descending the scree gully. The scree is frozen and solid in some parts but loose in others, so don‘t get lulled into a false sense of security after having had several steps on a firm footing. Trip report and photos to follow tomorrow. Exiled Michigander   2012-01-02  0  2      
2011-10-21  Southwest Ridge  The trail is easily passable, though easily lost in snow in several areas. Snow is not deep though. No snowshoes required. Micro Spikes recommended but not necessary either. The willows are very boggy, I suggest heading to the slope on the east of the bog and traversing south to catch the trail higher up. We did this on the way down and had a much better time. I will try to get a trip report up tonight. CO Native   2011-10-21  0     Edit Delete 
2011-10-16  Southwest Ridge  Route was a bit muddy in the basin, and some unavoidable snow above 12,500. Snow was firm in the morning but softened in the afternoon. Was 2 feet in drifts, but usually only 6-12 inches. Snow patches on the steep slopes the last mile before the summit made the route/a good route hard to find. Gaiters would have been helpful, but snowshoes would have been overkill. Microspikes might have helped in some spots, but not necessary at all. This will probably all change after it snows tonight and tomorrow. Vincopotamus   2011-10-16  0     Edit Delete 
2011-10-15  Northwest Ridge  Just below tree line, there is some ice on the trail. Microspikes or trekking poles would probably be helpful. I had an ice axe, and used it in lieu of trekking poles. Above treeline, there is some snow, but I did not use any aides. I carried crampons, but they were not necessary. Overall, the trip is in great condition. At least 35 other people were making an attempt on this route on Saturday. ilium   2011-10-17  0     Edit Delete 
2011-10-14  Southwest Ridge  Route gets kind of hard to find in the marsh area, just make your way to the back of the valley. You will eventually pick up the trail again. Gators, waterproof boots, and microspikes, or similar, suggested. Snow is unavoidable and can get thigh deep at higher elevations. slapshot   2011-10-16  0     Edit Delete 
2011-09-24  Northwest Ridge  NW Ridge Route almost completely snow free. Patches of snow are pretty avoidable. Aspens are beautiful! BigfootUSAF   2011-09-26  0     Edit Delete 
2011-09-24  Ellingwood Ridge  Climbed Ellingwood Ridge and descended NW Ridge. No snow issues at all anywhere on either route. Fall colors in this area seem at their PEAK! Wentzl   2011-09-25  0     Edit Delete 

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