La Plata Peak  
Condition Updates  
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-22, By: rlb11111
Info: Trail is clear, very little hard packed ice near peak. Wind is a challenge though. 
 
Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-11, By: Auburus
Info: As dry as you could hope for (be aware that this could change with the snowfall that could happen today, Sunday). Total trip time, 14h car to car, with ~30min at the top. I started the trip at 2.15am, reaching the first spire as the sun was raising. As others have said, the route finding is tough while in the ridge (especially soloing), since there are so many paths that end in a cliff, or in a class 5 climbing section. Apart from that, this trail has hours of class 3-fun, so definitely worth it 
 
Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-04, By: Gandalf69
Info: The ridge is 99 percent dry, 2 or 3 little snow patches. As others have mentioned the ridge is long. Ultimate route finding challenge.The sketchist towers were in the middle section. I started at 430, summit at 5 pm lol The ridge took me 9 hours, but because weather was so perfect I took my time. One person passed me on ridge, otherwise didn't see anyone. 
15
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-21, By: NatDog
Info: Pretty much same conditions as from the last report. This route is totally doable without traction right now. Photos #13 and #14 from the route description are pretty indicative of the current snow coverage on the upper ridge. Easy boulder hopping just to the right of the snow shown in photo #14. 
1
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-19, By: Alpinefroggy
Info: Ridge (trail) free of snow until about 13,500 ft when there is snow on the trail about half the time. Easily avoidable with talus hopping and following cairns uphill. That being said the snow is hardpacked and steps have been created so it is possible to cross some snow fields without microspikes or other traction and there are some snow fields that would make the climb easier if you chose to do that. I brought and did not use my microspikes. Windy and cold on the summit. Reccomend extra layers/gloves/handwarmers. Fall colors are out in full. Snow is on the ground. IMO top 3 best hikes I have ever done. Unreal scenery to me. All in all fairly easily done and a great time of year to do the hike. 
 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-16, By: grotegutj
Info: The southwest trail to La Plata Peak is dry all the way to the boulder field at 12,000 ft. Here you will find small patches of avoidable snow, however it does increase the trail finding difficulty which is already difficult in this section of this route. We were able to hike up without any sort of traction devices, just boots. The weather was warm and clear. There are a few muddy spots in the meadow leading up to the ridge but in the morning it was frozen and on the way down easily avoided. Other wise the trail is dry and very doable right now from the southern approach. 
8 3
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-13, By: brodiecr11
Info: Hiked the standard route today (9/13/20) with microspikes and crampons. Postholed above my knee a few times, but snow was dry and relatively sturdy. Amazing views of all the other snowy mountains from the top with perfect weather! Snow was largely melted below treeline coming back but I'd highly recommend bringing traction. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-12, By: ThuChad
Info: I attempted the standard route on 9/11. Below tree line there was around 6 inches of snow but quickly melting in the afternoon. Decent boot track below tree line. Above tree line the trail gets harder to make out and no boot tracks. I broke Trail up to 12,600 just below the ridge before getting turned around by knee deep snow. I was unable to see the trail even though my GPS said I was on it. There were three people behind me that may have pushed the trail higher or summited. If you can gain the ridge you should be good. I ran out of gas before I could get there. A lot of the snow may melt off in the coming days but it was full early winter conditions yesterday. I was questioning whether I made a bad choice taking the standard route opposed to the snow route. I have now been rejected by both in snow conditions. Spikes and flotation may be handy in the next couple days. 
5
 
Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-08, By: Thevirtualsherpa
Info: Set out to tackle Ellingwood solo and very glad I ran into another hiker along the way. No disrespect, but the route description for this hike is severely lacking details, its like the cliff notes version. The woods to the ridge gain is adequate, but once on the ridge expect HOURS and HOURS of route finding, getting cliffed out and loads of class 3,4 and 5 options. I was glad to have a partner so that we could divide and conquer the infinite amount of towers, route options and class 3,4,5 sections. The rock is generally pretty terrible on this route (TEST EVERYTHING) with under 5 cairns on the entire ridge. The biggest mental letdown was having faith that a tower would not end in a cliff and being let down time and time and time again. Air quality was very very bad, zero visibility of anything. Felt like climbing in a bonfire the entire day. Car to car in about 11.5 hours - over 6 of that spent on the ridge. 
10
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-30, By: mtgoatmike
Info: Trail was wet from the prior day's rain. Summit ridge was mainly dry, rocks on the east side were slick with a thin layer of ice. On the summit there was snow/ice, but was melting as the sun rose. (I reached the summit at 7:05am) 
 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-23, By: Mitsugi
Info: Summer Conditions. Smoke wasn't that bad. More or Less a non-factor. Coming down the slope back into the valley is a hell of skree. Gods. You're basically sliding down a mini avalanche of rocks on your butt. But great views. 
 
Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-17, By: ellenmseb
Info: Quite smokey all day. Had 1 coughing fit on the way up. Then at 6pm it got EXTREMELY smoky! Mild avalanche debris, or maybe I was off-route. Last water is when you cross the small creek around 10.5k. then you'll start climbing a ridge to the left of the small creek and won't want to return to it. 1 big snowfield on standard route descent. Easy to cross or avoid. Unsolicited opinion about Ellingwood Ridge: It's not that great. Lots of downclimbing before the crux. Then Class 2+ boulder hopping above the crux. I wouldn't go out of your way to do this route. This coming from someone who enjoyed all other C3+ climbs (Longs, Wetterhorn, Pyramid etc). it's a fine way to do La Plata if you haven't yet or if you're desperate for C3 in the Sawatch. But wouldn't go out of your way if you've already done La Plata or if you prefer scenery (SW ridge) over scrambling. But maybe you should trust Roach over me  
 
Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-16, By: wintersage
Info: Smoke from the wildfires made the beginning a little difficult as the haze is close by on the way up to the ridge. The ridge itself is dry, no snow. 
4
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-09, By: seayachter
Info: Trail completely dry. This is one of the best Sawatch peaks and has a well built trail. Very clear day with no clouds and great views. Surprisingly not too many people on the mountain for a Sunday. 
 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-08-02, By: Joelorado
Info: Pure summer conditions from trailhead to summit. A bit muddy in the marsh area that isn't easily avoidable. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-07-31, By: mhk5040
Info: Summer Conditions, was cloudy above 12,500'. There are only 1 or 2 minor snow patches, off trail. Trail cairns are numerous and in good shape. 
 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-07-20, By: Pnat
Info: Trailhead parking was easy with a mid day arrival for overnight parking. Plenty of space to disperse camp in the vicinity of the actual lot. Woke to overflow of cars well before sunrise. Left camp at 7 reaching summit by 11am. Uphill steps first two miles then a great switchback trail takes you way up. Bouldering was easy but overall the dry conditions create many slippery spots on the gravel and fine dirt. The return hike took around 2.5 hrs. Notes: very popular peek. 50 plus people on the peak and a steady stream still coming up at 11 this particular day. Easy trailhead to reach 
 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-07-18, By: kjkonczal
Info: Road to the TH is a bit rough, recommend 4WD or a higher clearance vehicle. Trail to the ridge is easy to follow and gorgeous! Bit steep and loose getting to the ridge, but manageable. The boulder fields on the ridge are a bit tricky. Cairn's are on the trail, but are a little deceiving at times. Not a lot of people on this route, and the views are spectacular the entire way. 
 
Route: Southwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-07-12, By: creitz
Info: Hike to the boulder field was easy to follow. Route description doesn't elaborate how steep of a climb to 12,800 is at the end of the valley. I think everyone I saw without trekking poles used their hands to help the climb. Boulder field didn't have many cairns, so it was a bit of a free for all for finding a route. Great hike, amazing views and not many people on this route. 
 
Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Posted On: 2020-07-11, By: Marshall
Info: Good conditions all the way. Stay out of the middle of the scree to gain the ridge initially. Once the ridge was gained it took ~4 hours to walk Ellingwood Ridge to the summit. It is extremely difficult to stay on top of the ridge for the first half but easy enough for the second half. Don't recall exactly when we returned, but it was close to 9 hours round trip including summit lunch and beer. No snow. 
2

Return to the main Peak Conditions page



© 2020 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.