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 Peak(s):  La Plata Peak  -  14,336 feet
 Post Date:  06/14/2009
 Date Climbed:   06/14/2009
 Posted By:  JakeK

 WINDY morning on La Plata   

After a couple 14er ski descents in May, and then the Teva Games taking up all of last weekend, I was anxious to really kick off "hiking season." My friends Andrea and Brian, who both just moved to Colorado for the summer, were psyched up to go after their first 14er. Originally we had planned on hiking Quandary, but on Saturday I changed the plan to La Plata... hoping that they would get some solitude on the summit, and it would memorable first 14er.

We left Vail around 5:15am and began our hike at 6:30am. The skies were clear and it looked like it was going to be a gorgeous June day. The beginning section of the hike through the forest flew by, with Andrea setting a very steady pace. Before long we were making our way up to the NW ridge. That's where the fun started!

When we hit the top of the ridge, the wind was really starting to pick up. Andrea's hat flew right off her head and off the side of the mountain! By the time we got around the buttress, the rest of the hike was in the snow (which was actually perfect snow for hiking... just soft enough to sink in a little bit and get good footing, but you didn't really have to worry about sinking in up to your knees). The wind was whipping HARD... and it was consistent all the way to the top.

We reached the summit at 9:20am, took a few pictures, and immediately began our descent. The views were stunning, but we were COLD up there! Going down the ridge was a lot of fun, bombing through the snow... and further down we hit a little snowfield that we could glissade down. Back on the road before noon, we all agreed that it was a fantastic day.

I'm glad we hit the summit early, as it looked like the weather took a turn for the worse as the day went on. At least it looked that way on Independence Pass, according to Lance: http://www.livestrong.com/lance-armstrong/video/weatheronthepass-avi/546d20b7-a249-44e2-bef0-c2f298af25a5/


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Stream Crossing

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Looking back North

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Heading up the steep gully

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The ridge

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Taking shelter from the insane wind

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Almost at the top

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Summit Views

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Having some fun on the way down

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Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
 


  • Comments or Questions (2)
spontaneous weekends

That blasted wind     2009-06-14 21:33:45
The wind the day before on San Luis was cold enough to break a windbreaker. Would you describe the wind you experienced as that cold? Looking at your pics I want to get to La Plata ASAP!


JakeK


Yes, it was a cold wind     2009-06-14 21:40:33
Totally... it was a cold wind, and it was blowing the snow straight into our faces, so that was a little painful!

La Plata is a great hike... the trail is in excellent condition, and once you gain the ridge, its actually not a very difficult ascent to the summit. The wind is the only thing that slowed us down a bit today... but totally worth it for the fun we had on the trail and the amazing views!



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