La Plata Peak  
Condition Updates  
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-04-13, By: desertdog
Info: Did the winter variation. There is a trench to the head wall. It picks up off the summer trail a little further down than the other times I've been up LP. The headwall is about half covered with snow (see pic). Super loose where there is no snow. The ridge has snow on left and is dry on right. I chose to climb the snow, which was firm and good for climbing. Used snowshoes to walk out. Obviously, this will change with this weeks storms, but you have a starting point to factor in. 
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Route: North Face
Posted On: 2021-04-12, By: rickingballs
Info: Did the winter route on 4/10. There is a good trail to the top as long as you follow the Winter route correctly. All i needed was micro spikes. I did take my snowshoes but they were not needed. the headwall is about half snow and half scree and talus. This made for a annoying climb up the headwall. Once on the ridge it is a long trek to the summit. I did not spend much time on the summit. It was windy and im guessing a chill of around 0. I did bring my German Shepard along, but I would not recommend bringing a dog unless they are experienced. I would say the headwall is easy class 3. I started at 4am and finished around 2pm. It was a long day! For some reason this one really took it out of me. Start early to avoid postholing in the pm. Started hiking from the side of the main road. 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-04-10, By: jamesabrown
Info: Trench was pretty solid all the way to the headwall for the winter variation but not much snow holding rock on the headwall anymore and that loose rock is super sketchy, FYI. Once on the ridge it was just a long but relatively straight forward ascent to the summit. Snow started melting on the way down at noon but only the top inch or two really gave way. Heads up there is a false turn off to the winter variation before the trench up. Continue past the first turn off until right around 11k ft and that trench is solid to the headwall. Pic added with purple being the trench and route we took. Blue was just the expected route based on gpx file from this site. 
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Route: All of them
Posted On: 2021-03-08, By: daway8
Info: There's a really solid trench following the summer route up to 11k then it splits with the left path going up to the headwall ridge direct route (avoids the avy paths on the summer route). There's also now a really solid trench put in all the way to the base of Ellingwood Ridge and up to ~10,500ft by some idiot who didn't turn off his previous GPX tracks nor zoom out enough to see he was on the wrong freaking route until after just over 2 hours of trenching through knee deep snow. Same idiot put in a short trench at ~10,700ft off the summer trail until getting exhausted in waist deep snow heading up the hill. Thankfully the trench put in by better navigators at 11k runs nicely to the headwall which has a lot of rock showing - did it in snowshoes on the way up (clumsy but worked) and spikes on the way down. After that, pretty straightforward except for the snowstorm reducing visibility to almost nothing at times. So much for March flakes being easy... 
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Route: North Face
Posted On: 2021-02-28, By: Know_Guarantee
Info: Slow going, no summit for me! Used snowshoes from the TH. A mountaineering ax was often helpful. The trail was covered in fresh snow making it difficult to see much of the time. Deep snow on either side of the trail. Well above my knees or more every time I stepped off course. Progress was slow enough that it wasn't good judgement for us to push for the peak. Turned around just below treeline. A great day snowshoeing, but the peak wasn't realistic (at least for me). This was my first attempt at a winter 14er. Maybe I waited until too late in the season. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-01-31, By: WildWanderer
Info: Nice trench to treeline, but it's the summer route, being used by snowshoers entering the basin. It stops at treeline and doesn't actually go into the basin. We took the ridge to the headwall, putting in our own trench. Headwall is a mix of scree and snow. Trekking pole was enough to get up and down the headwall. We wore snowshoes the entire hike, from trailhead to summit and back, but they were overkill at times. Added a picture of Sayres for fun. Beautiful, bluebird day. Surprised we were the only ones out there. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2021-01-10, By: arnavxv
Info: Summited La Plata today. There is a nice trench till the headwall. I booted that section. The headwall, while a short part of the climb, is miserable. Scrambling up 40 degree scree/talus with snow on top. I brought a small ice axe, and it was very helpful. After the headwall, I left my ice axe at the beginning of the ridge. From there to where the summer trail meets up, I booted it pretty easily. A little ways after that, I decided to wear snowshoes from around 13,300 to 13,900, was very helpful. Then, booted it to the summit. It was very steep, solid snow for much of the climb from 12.7k to 14.3k. I had rigid sole mountaineering boots, so I step-kicked most of the way up this. If you're using hiking boots, you definitely want traction. Either use your snowshoes traction, or micro spikes. Crampons wouldn't be out of place either, but not worth the weight to carry it that high. Highlight of the day was being able to glissade 500 vertical feet between the headwall and the summer trail. Ice axe was helpful here too - stopped me from whacking into a few trees. Also, the East side of the ridge is heavily loaded. I did some stability tests and sawed off a couple of cornice chunks (about 2/3 of a person sized I'd say) trying to trigger an avalanche, but I couldn't. Make of this info what you will - but snow is much more stable than last week. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge (Winter Variation)
Posted On: 2021-01-09, By: supranihilest
Info: Perfect day on La Plata today. From the trailhead there's a solid trench to about 11,000 feet. It splits a time or two but I reestablished what I thought was the primary one. It's bootable to that point but I found snowshoes useful for the traction and heel risers on the steep stuff. Past they I had several hundred feet of thigh deep garbage to break to treeline, much of it quite steep. The headwall is very obvious from treeline. I went up the center of it trying to avoid snowier ground on either side. It's not hard at about Class 2+ but it's steep, snowy, and loose. A fall would probably be unarrestable. The ridge is essentially split into thirds. First third: I booted it but the snow is sugary crap. Some minor scrambling to avoid very loaded east-facing slopes. Use the tundra to your advantage. Middle third: Rocky and steep. Very snowy. Hard to follow the trail. Probably the most tedious section, just power through it. Last third: I had debated leaving my snowshoes at the top of the headwall and I was glad I didn't, since this entire section was caked in deep snow and would have been a brutal booter. I wore my snowshoes for it up til the last 100 or so feet then took them off when it got rocky again. The start of this section is obvious. Avalanche danger: aside from the headwall most of the steep stuff is below treeline. There's some to avoid right at the top of the headwall, and little bits along the ridge, but for the most part the ridge is either dry or not steep enough to slide. Gear: flotation mandatory as far as I'm concerned. Spikes very useful for the snow and scree on the headwall, marginally useful on the ridge (when not wearing flotation). Ice axe only useful for the headwall. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge with winter variation
Posted On: 2020-12-21, By: CaptainSuburbia
Info: There was a really nice boot/sled packed trail to winter turn off. Trenched from there to headwall. Took spikes up a snow covered headwall. The lower ridge was snow covered with plenty of postholing and some windblown sections. I stayed in rocks on right as much as possible. Upper ridge was a mix of deep postholing, rock hopping and occasional windblown trail. I didn't find any consolidated snow until around 13,900. Climbing got much easier from there to summit. 
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Route: North Face
Posted On: 2020-11-23, By: CharGalli
Info: Trail from the road is well packed now , we had a party of 4. There is not enough snow yet, what made hard to climb some parts of it to get to the ridge... Lots of boulders and loose scree ... Never used snowshoes ... Up in the ridge some snow and brutal winds ... on our way back from the summit most of our foot prints had disappeared with the snow blowing... We went up with the winter route and came down thru the summer one... Lol don't do that... It doesn't have any real good snow for Avy yet but the trail down was snowed in and we postholed all the way back... Stick with the winter route but wait first for a good snow to settle so you don't have to deal with loose boulders and scree.. We parked by the road so access was easy... Happy trails 
Route: Winter up, summer down
Posted On: 2020-11-22, By: askwjs
Info: Went up the winter variation route. Headwall was very dry and was much tougher than when snow loaded. Recommend waiting for more substantial snow before attempting, a lot of scree made for a less than enjoyable ascent to the ridge. Summer route looked doable so we took this way down. The gullies are becoming loaded and the summer route would be ill advised, especially after the next big storm. Final approach to the summit was from the ridge had a lot of bouldering and picking your own route as snow was covering much of the trail. Needs more snow before winter climb is in full swing. A little wind on the ridge but sunny. Tough but fun day. Gaiters and spikes recommended. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-11-22, By: geg86
Info: Good trench line along the winter variation/ridge direct route. Ice ax is helpful, but snow shoes would be overkill. 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-11-06, By: jryor121
Info: Started at 6:45AM. Made it to the summit at 11AM. Back to the car at 3:20PM. Honestly the conditions were perfect. There was some ice where spikes would have been helpful, but I was hiking just as fast as my friend who decided to bring spikes. Snow was super hard packed and had no real issues with major post-holing (worse was maybe lower shin). Route was super easy to find. Icy in the morning, and slightly muddy in the afternoon as ice was melting. These conditions really only matter for anyone hiking tomorrow morning before the storm, afterwards its back to step one with packing down the route. 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-31, By: Ericsheffey
Info: La Plata, 10.31.20 I'd say it's as close to winter conditions as it will get until the next storm. The summer/standard route is snow covered but well tracked out and doable for the time being. I wouldn't personally do it with any more snow than we found today though. After the next storm, folks will probably have to opt for the North Ridge Direct Winter Variation. The deepest snow we found was on the ridgeline to the summit. A lot of wind drifted snow, occasionally waist high in some spots, but mostly 6-8 inches, give or take a few inches depending on location. A fair amount of occasional post-holing was done over the course of the day. We brought spikes and snowshoes, but ended up stashing the snowshoes at treeline, and I think overall I didn't really feel like I needed them, just a small handful of areas where they would've been nice (but not worth the hassle to carry them just for those areas). If you're itching for a 14er that can still be done with minimal gear, La Plata is in decent shape. Grab your spikes and go make it happen. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-31, By: Dignus
Info: Bumbled around in the dark until I lost the trail about a mile in. Trail untracked beyond there so hopefully someone with a better sense of direction can find their way and not be misled by my prints. Plenty of snow up top, looking from Independence Pass. 
Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-22, By: rlb11111
Info: Trail is clear, very little hard packed ice near peak. Wind is a challenge though. 
Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-11, By: Auburus
Info: As dry as you could hope for (be aware that this could change with the snowfall that could happen today, Sunday). Total trip time, 14h car to car, with ~30min at the top. I started the trip at 2.15am, reaching the first spire as the sun was raising. As others have said, the route finding is tough while in the ridge (especially soloing), since there are so many paths that end in a cliff, or in a class 5 climbing section. Apart from that, this trail has hours of class 3-fun, so definitely worth it 
Route: Ellingwood Ridge
Posted On: 2020-10-04, By: Gandalf69
Info: The ridge is 99 percent dry, 2 or 3 little snow patches. As others have mentioned the ridge is long. Ultimate route finding challenge.The sketchist towers were in the middle section. I started at 430, summit at 5 pm lol The ridge took me 9 hours, but because weather was so perfect I took my time. One person passed me on ridge, otherwise didn't see anyone. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-21, By: NatDog
Info: Pretty much same conditions as from the last report. This route is totally doable without traction right now. Photos #13 and #14 from the route description are pretty indicative of the current snow coverage on the upper ridge. Easy boulder hopping just to the right of the snow shown in photo #14. 
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Route: Northwest Ridge
Posted On: 2020-09-19, By: Alpinefroggy
Info: Ridge (trail) free of snow until about 13,500 ft when there is snow on the trail about half the time. Easily avoidable with talus hopping and following cairns uphill. That being said the snow is hardpacked and steps have been created so it is possible to cross some snow fields without microspikes or other traction and there are some snow fields that would make the climb easier if you chose to do that. I brought and did not use my microspikes. Windy and cold on the summit. Reccomend extra layers/gloves/handwarmers. Fall colors are out in full. Snow is on the ground. IMO top 3 best hikes I have ever done. Unreal scenery to me. All in all fairly easily done and a great time of year to do the hike. 

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