| Cliffed out on La Plata-North Coulior Climb
After last week's snow climb on Mt. Evans, Chris and I were looking forward to climbing some more snow. Ever since hiking Elbert last year we got a good view of all the options on La Plata.
Got to the trailhead around 5:45 and we were on the trail by 6. I was able to start hiking in trail running shoes and that was about the only thing easy about the day.
We easily found the split for the La Plata basin trail and we were on our way.
Around 7:15 we came upon a large rock wall and then things got fun. After the large rock wall we pretty much completely lost the trail, but we had a pretty good idea of where we needed to go, so that wasn't much of an issue. The amount of snow on the ground was, made it tough to follow the trail and we were pretty much bushwhacking.
Once we were a little higher up the drainage we were able to start skinning, but it wasn't easy, still bushwhacking and just trying to find lines of snow that were continuously. 9:30ish we got our first glimpse of the basin and the awesome weather that we would be treated to. So far, the day was kind of a struggle, we were in no means on our "A" game.
As we got closer to the North face we got a great view of the options that we could climb and ski for the day.
So, with our turtle pace on the weather was doing a big favor and keeping the sun off the snow. Then, as we put on our crampons….
We started up a super mellow coulior that would lead us to the summit. It was super mellow at the bottom and steepened the higher up you got up.
Chris early on
Little bit farther up
We changed our route a couple of times on the way up to spice things up. The wind was ridiculous the whole day. I would say the wind gusts were around 40-50 MPH. We routinely encountered snowdanos and would have to anchor our axes and just take cover.
I love the wind!!
The crux of the route seemed to be a larger rock that stood in our way. This is where the fun started, after 10-15 minutes of trying to decide how we were going to get by this problem Chris took his pack off and climbed up the tricky section. I then handed him his pack and my pack and I climbed up the rock. Little tricky…
Chris looking down from the crux
Good thing Chris is spotting me with his camera, long way down...
The pitch averaged 40-45 degrees and maxed out at 48 degrees.
Finally, we reached the summit at 2:30, which made for a cool 8 ½ hour climb. So, we had estimated about a 10 hour day and we would definitely exceed that. We were not trying to break any records today.
As always.... Hardcore to the max
So, my new hobby is tele skiing, not a good choice for today. The snow hadn't softened up much at all, making the decent a tad bit interesting. Chris was able to make jump turns down most of the shot that we had climbed. At one point he lost his edge and slipped out sliding 15-20 feet down.
Chris losing an edge
I wasn't in the mood for the super steep terrain and went looking for something a little easier. I ended up side-slipping a section and then realized that I was cliffed out… BAD MOVE
Me booting out
So, I can already hear the criticism echoing. It ended up taking me about a half an hour the take off my skis, put them on my pack and boot up and down on pretty steep terrain. Pretty scary moment.
The hike out wasn't that sweet, snow conditions were horrible, we were post holing with our skis and boards on making the slog out pretty painful.
Got back to the car at 7:30 making for a solid 13 ½ hour day. Little bit longer than we had anticipated, but we both had a good day of climbing and were still alive.
Dinner for chris...
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