|Peak:||La Plata Peak (14er)|
|Date of Information:||04/28/2013|
The trail is entirely snow covered, but visible and easy to follow up to about 11,000 ft. From there the best option seems to be to ascend directly to the ridge where tracks are again visible most of the way to the summit. There was evidence of recent Loose/Wet slides on nearly all of the surrounding peaks, including one near the standard route around treeline so an early start is definitely recommended.
It's tempting to try to take the standard route down at the saddle, but the better option is to follow the tracks along the ridgeline. Some sort of flotation will be necessary on the descent, after the snow gets direct sunlight and softens up.
Also, I discovered a pocket knife in the middle of the trail on the descent. I assume it belongs to the group of backcountry skiers camped at the trailhead when I arrived. If anyone knows someone who lost a knife recently on La Plata, please contact me with a brief description and I'll be happy to return it.