14ers.com Shirts!
Your purchase of a synthetic or cotton shirt helps support 14ers.com. Thank you!

Other ways to help...
Peak(s):  La Plata Peak  -  14,336 feet
Post Date:  11/11/2007
Date Climbed:   11/10/2007
Posted By:  Alby426


 La Plata NW Ridge in November   

Who knew that it was possible to climb a Fourteener in mid November without the use of crampons nor snowshoes.
I set-off at about 6 AM (stupid me, I forgot my watch), and after following the road too much and missing the trailhead, I came back and did discover my mistake (Due to the darkness). Well, minor setback, but for future reference, when coming across a green gate, the trail starts there.

Image

The first section in woods was quite pleasant and crossing the first bridge gave a great view of the little "Canyon" eroded by the stream. The waterfall was almost completely frozen.

Image

Image

Finally at the second "bridge".

Image

The trail from here became somewhat treaturous as it was covered with snow, but even worse: ice!
walking here made was difficult to dangerous.
At this time I crossed path with Clay, Dave and Holly (La Plata was her 30th 14er in 2 years!!!). I ended up celebrating with them on top and making my way down abusing their good company.

Image


Finally coming out of the woods and the ice is over !!!
So the real ascent begins. The tightly spaced switchbacks are actually fun to go up to the first traverse.

Image

The traverse was also covered in snow, but the climb was easy with just boots.

Image

The second set of switchback awaits after that snowy part of the trail and in little time, I was on top of the saddle and looking up at the ridge that I had to climb to reach the summit. Well, from here I can say that it looked quite imposing, and snowy!

Image

The view from here is breathtaking, both because it's possible to see everything around, but even more because the ridge is visible and the daunting task ahead is now clear.

Image

Climbing from here was a mix of trail following on rock, snow and mix. The snow was somewhat soft and a little difficult to cross. Every chance I had, I stepped in other climbers already dug in holes (Sometimes as deep as my knee. I am not really sure the that day snowshoes would have done the trick: the snow sections were short and the I was skipping on rocks.
This was, by far the most difficult part of the climb, both, because of the difficulty of the terrain and the fact that I hadn't been this high in a couple of months and my physical condition wasn't at its peak.

Image
A picture looking down at the first part of the ridge.

Image
An example of the condition around 13800'

Image
And looking up

I did seriously strain up this slope, I am not 20 anymore
Every time I would step in snow and dig in, I could feel my body scream for mercy. But, finally, the trail turned East and in no time I reached the TOP !!!

Image

Image
Me proudly on top.

I reached the summit at about 11 AM. Dave didn't forget his watch.

After celebrating our success and cheering with three other climbers that had chosen the south route, we all decided that it was time to head back as the clouds were approaching.


Image

On our descend, we actually got to play in the snowy slopes, using gravity as our playmate.
The rest of the descent was, as always long, but the chance to chat with other climbers made it quite pleasant, until the icy trail in the forest! That was again quite breaknecky.

Well, this was a great climb, especially considering it was Nov. 10th.

Image
Dave and Holly on their way down from the ridge.

Image
One last look at La Plata from the vehicle bridge not far from the parking.



Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions
Yog


Nice report!     08/28/2008 00:37
Good job on attaining the summit!


Sebayatn

Enjoyed Hiking With You     11/22/2007 23:21
Great trip report! Enjoyed looking at the pictures and remembering the hike. Dave, Clay and I enjoyed hiking with you. Maybe we‘ll meet you on another peak next summer. Hope the racing is going well.



   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here


Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. 14ers.com and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless 14ers.com and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the 14ers.com Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2015 14ers.com®, 14ers Inc.