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 Peak(s):  La Plata Peak  -  14,336 feet
 Post Date:  05/21/2009
 Date Climbed:   06/06/2000
 Posted By:  Easy Rider

 North Face 00   






I took a day to re organize and rest, then drove over to the South Fork of Lake Creek TH at 4:00 PM. There were arsenic warnings posted. The mines poisoned the water so closely to its origin, the mountain snowpack. So I tried to bring enough water. I could also melt snow with a stove. The hike was relatively short, but also steep. The trail started to switchback repetitively up a gully on the west flanks through treeline. I found a place to camp in a steep patch of trees. I don't really know why I camped way up there, but I had a great view of Sayros across valley. I slept in to 8:00, and finished hiking the dry trail up the west flanks. At the ridge crest I could see the north face with the Ellingwood ridge coiling around the back. I hauled my full pack with the board up to this point. I had intended to traverse around this ridge at treeline, and climb from a camp in La Plata Basin, but I guess I was too attached to the trail. Since the other side of the ridge would make an easy enough return route after the descent, I stashed the camping stuff there. The trail was marked with small cairns, up through stable talus. I was fooled by a false summit to the east of the actual marker. It was 11:00, and showers were moving over Elbert.

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There were several couloirs to choose from, I paced around orienting myself, deciding the one closest to the summit was the correct one. The snow in the entrance was applesauce served on ice, and it broke off with one slice. I snagged some sharp rocks, and hopped over to the shady stuff. I stayed in this main gully as far as I could, then took a dogleg back to the right out into the basin.

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I returned to the pass, finding a mormot had chewed on some of my stuff.




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La Plata's North Face from Elbert (different trip)

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