Peak:  La Plata Peak (14er)
 Route:  Southwest Ridge
 Range:  Sawatch
 Posted By:  Lindyhapa
 Date of Info:  04/28/2012
 Date Posted:  04/28/2012

I climbed La Plata by the southwest ridge. The road was sufficiently clear that I was able to drive all the way to the upper trailhead in a stock Isuzu Trooper with street tires. There are only a couple of 10 foot long sections that require you to drive over snow.

The lower part of the trail is clear, but soon we started running into some deep snow banks on the trail. The snow was still hard in the morning so it wasn't so bad, but there was still some post holing. Bring your gaiters Above treeline the trail is completely buried in snow, so we walked on the patches of dry ground and crossed snowfields as necessary. On the upper part of the mountain Yak Trax or the like could be useful, but you'll be climbing half the time on rocks and half the time on snow, so that's up to you. Snowshoes would've been nice on the way down in the valley. You probably won't need them anywhere above the saddle unless you get there late. But after noon the snow in the valley got really mushy and there was much post holing. I'd suggest leaving the snowshoes at the end of the valley before you ascend the saddle and then using them to cross the valley on the way back.

We started hiking at 9:30am, peaked at 1:30pm, and got back to the car (at the upper trailhead) at 3:30pm.

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