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 Peak(s):  La Plata Peak  -  14,336 feet
 Post Date:  07/30/2007
 Date Climbed:   07/29/2007
 Posted By:  iceman

 La Plata Peak Southwest Ridge   

We left Glenwood Springs at 4:30 am sharp to try to hit the trail by 7:00 to 7:30. We missed or turn in Winfield and took a side trip to the Gunnison Spur trailhead. That little mistake cost us about an hour.

We found the correct turn and parked down the road a little ways from the gate.

We left the car about 8:30 am and started up the trail. It is obvious from the trail that it is not as heavily traveled as many 14er trails.
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After a short hike through the timbers the trail opens up to a beautiful valley.
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This portion of the hike is very enjoyable with the exception of a couple of very soggy areas that will fill your boots if you are not careful.
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After these boggy areas you can see where the trail is taking you. I guess we new we were going to have to climb at some point during this one.
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This first good climb is not as bad as it looks from below. Photo nearing the top.
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Awesome view of the valley below and the nice level hike across the bench makes it all worthwhile.
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Saw the typical tundra wildlife. Marmots, Picas and Ptarmigan chicks.
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Once off of the bench it is sporadic trail with some rock hopping to the top of what would appear to be the summit if you didnt know better. After this false summit you get a view of another false summit.
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I summited around 11:45 Am which was quite a bit later than I had anticipated. To be honest this was a tougher hike than I thought it would be. This was my climbing partners first 14er and it turned out to be a little too much for the first one. He made it to about 13,700 and decided that the rate he was going he would not make it to the summit at a reasonable time.

There is still a very small amount of snow on the summit.
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Great views of Mount Elbert and Mt. Massive.
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All in all it was a very enjoyable day in the mountains. We only ran across 2 groups taking this route. 1 group of four (bobbyperu) and a group of 2. Saw 1 other group on the summit who had taken the Northwest ridge. We excepted much larger crowds. I think the weather report discouraged a lot of people. Very quiet day in the mountains.

If I had it to do over I would have taken it much slower on the way down. My knee was in pretty bad shape by the time we got back to the car at 2:40. 6 hours and 10 minute round trip with lots of picture taking and a few 5 to 10 minute brakes and 20 minutes on the summit. GPS trip computer read 8.01 miles. The rain started about 3:30 as we were getting on Hwy 24.



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