Peak:  La Plata Peak (14er)
 Route:  Northwest Ridge
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  gprandall
 Date of Info:  04/20/2012
 Date Posted:  04/21/2012

I attempted the northwest ridge of La Plata yesterday. The recent storm had dropped three to five inches of new snow on top of the snow laid down by the big storms earlier in April. There was quite a bit more snow than I had seen on my ascent of Mt. Antero in early March, and quite a bit more snow than I had expected after our ultra-dry winter. The road to the trailhead was dry, despite the recent snow. I re-broke the trail into La Plata Gulch and up to about 11,200. The summer trail is invisible above about 11,100. I contemplated heading straight up to the ridge, but I had planned to shoot sunset from the summit and the thought of descending all that snow-covered talus was not appealing. Good judgment finally got the better of me, and I turned around. The new snow will melt quickly, of course, but the drifts are deep enough to linger for several more weeks. You probably won't need snowshoes if you're traveling early in the morning, but that trail is going to get quite icy very soon, so micro-spikes will be helpful. In short, the peak is still in much more difficult conditions than it will be in summer. Don't let our warm March lull you into thinking snow season is over.

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