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La Plata Peak  
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Conditions Information  Posted By   Posted On    Photos  Comments  Likes, Dislikes    
2013-01-09  Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Note: This was my first attempt at La Plata Peak, so I have no personal experience with the standard winter route for the Northwest Ridge. What appeared to me to be the heaviest usage trail on the Northwest Ridge route appears to have deviated from the standard route in at least two places from what I can gather. Around the 1.6m point the trail starts switching back up to the ridge and becomes extremely steep with patches of uneven boulders and vegetation under the few inches of snow that existed today. This section does not seem to follow a well treaded path of any kind, and rather appears to be switchbacks someone just sort of forged for themselves. This continues until about 2.1m at which point you top out onto a relatively flat area with snow deep enough that snow shoes would help, but if you continue to follow this path you quickly enter into a boulder field, then head onto a steep slope of the ridge, where the snow shoes definitely need to come off. In hindsight, I shouldn‘t have stopped to put mine on. Apparently the standard winter route shoots up the ridge shortly after 2.1m on this path, but again the path that appears to have the heaviest usage continues precariously onto a very steep slope of the ridge. The "safe" path is extremely narrow and you cross sections of unstable gravel that could easily send you sliding down the face of the ridge into the gulch below. I cannot recommend following this part of the route. I went farther than I probably should have and ultimately called my attempt due to safety concerns. More discussion/information available in this thread: http://14ers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=38681 Attached is some data generated from my GPS, with the route I followed and the elevation profile. These are also in the thread I linked to above. 
vdavidoff  2013-01-09   2   4      Edit  Delete
2012-11-25  Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: Steep, direct route. Some snow but we never needed traction or flotation. Trick is finding the TH. We measured 1.75+ mi from 390 390a fork at Winfield. 1.3 from High clearance vehicles only sign to the ATV road that goes to the TH. 
alpinenut  2012-11-27   0         Edit  Delete
2012-11-19  Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Very little snow and a non-issue for hiking. Maybe micro spikes would have been nice, but really there was no problem today. Camped overnight at 11,200 on the standard route. Very little snow. 
summitridge  2012-11-19   2      1   Edit  Delete
2012-11-12  Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Fresh virgin snow when I showed up this morning at 7 AM. There was about 4-6 inches of easy powder while following the gulch up this morning. Once I turned east and started heading up the gully the snow began to get deeper and crusty. The snow was generally about 6-10 inches deep going up to the top of the gully. No issues with route finding until I got to the 6x6 boulder. Much of the snow from the 6x6 Boulder to the ridge was covering the trail and I lost the trail on my ascent. The Route from the Northwest Ridge to the summit was also problematic with portions of the trail being covered by snow. When I did lose the trail I would continued to climb in the direction of my next way-point and would regain the trail or spot the next cairn. Overall it was not to bad, I made the summit in 5 hours and did the return route in 3.5 hours. Yak Tracks / traction for the shoes are pretty much a requirement at this point. No snow shoes needed at this point. Although I didn‘t have any, poles would have helped with balancing while pushing through the snow. If anyone goes up before the next storm the tracks I had left today will be a helpful guide to the summit. 
jrs1965  2012-11-12   0         Edit  Delete
2012-11-07  Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Snow and ice patches the whole way up. Most are avoidable but some take more creativity. No need for spikes or snow shoes yet. Take care going over the icy spots - slippery! 
MissH  2012-11-07   0   4      Edit  Delete
2012-11-03  Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: This route is basically snow/ice free all the way to the summit. Their were a couple of small patches(no more than 10 ft) in the trees that had a little packed snow/ice and along the summit ridge their were a couple of patches of snow that were easily avoidable. The marshy meadow was frozen on the way up and muddy on the way down, with careful navigation I was able to keep my feet clean and dry. Absolutly no need for gaiters, spikes etc. FYI...there is a tree that has fallen in front of the road about 200 yards from the trailhead. I don‘t care if you have a monster truck your not getting past it. 
bigredmachine  2012-11-04   0         Edit  Delete
2012-09-22  Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Info: Climbed up Ellingwood Ridge and down NW Ridge; both routes are totally free of snow/ice despite the snow on the north face. Aspens are in full color. 
KyleS  2012-09-23   0         Edit  Delete
2012-08-28  Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Info: Climbed La Plata via Ellingwood Ridhe in about 6 hours trailhead to summit, topping out at 1:25 pm. What a route! Saw only one cairn on the entire ridge on top of Point 13,206. There are faint trails one can follow, mostly trending to the east of the ridgetop, (climber‘s left) but route finding is difficult. Opportunities abound to bail down scree fields between cliffs off either side of the ridge but eventually one reaches the point where the fastest way off the mountain is over the top and down the standard route. No snow anywhere, some wet dirt in the shade. Rain started a little after 1:30 and thunder by about 3:00 pm. 
Board Shorts  2012-08-29   0         Edit  Delete
2012-07-01  Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Headed up this morning all is clear and dry...summer is here for La Plata. 
bhollamby  2012-07-01   0         Edit  Delete
2012-06-24  Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Info: Made it to the summit via Ellingwood Ridge yesterday. It appears the lingering snow reported last week is almost all gone. I think I stepped foot in snow once the entire day. There are some patches to be found but I generally would have had to go out of my way to get to them. Other than that the ridge is in summer shape for all intensive purposes. 
metalmountain  2012-06-25   0         Edit  Delete
2012-06-20  Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Info: Completed La Plata via Ellingwood ridge today. Still several patches of snow filling the Eastern gullies. I had good success either committing to the ridge for some Class 4 or dropping well below to stay Class 3. No traction/flotation/gaiters. Not sure if any would have helped anyhow. Too wet/mushy. 
Jerousek  2012-06-20   0   3      Edit  Delete
2012-06-16  Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Standard Route. Almost completely clear of snow. A few small spots, but nothing you need any snow gear for. Either walk through or around. Trailhead was 47 degrees at midnight and 40 degrees at 5a.m. Guessing around 30 people climbed on Saturday, most taking 4 to 5:30 hours to summit. Clouds built up early then dissipated. 
JQDivide  2012-06-17   0         Edit  Delete
2012-06-06  Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: Blue Bird Day. Assent took a little over 3 hours. As stated in previous report very little snow. No traction needed. Ready to go. 
desertdog  2012-06-08   0         Edit  Delete
2012-05-28  Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Info: I attempted to hike Ellingwood Ridge, it is still carrying a lot of snow in the gullies on the eastern slopes of the ridge and I did not make farther than Pt 13206, as the picture below shows the snow on the ridge and I went done quite a ways and it looked like all the upper gullies I could see were full. I did not have any snow traction devices so I decided to turn around and come back in July or August. 
Built-to-Last  2012-05-28   2   2      Edit  Delete
2012-05-26  Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: southwest route from Winfield is 95% dry. A couple small snowfields in the basin can be avoided easily. Patches of consolidated, firm crust snow on last half mile or so to summit. All snowfields are on flat stretches, no need for snowshoes/spikes. Was very windy in saddles, calm at top. 
cougar  2012-05-29   0         Edit  Delete
2012-05-23  Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: 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  Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: 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  Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: 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  Route: Southwest Ridge
Info: 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  Route: Northwest Ridge
Info: 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

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