Peak(s):  La Plata Peak  -  14,336 feet
Date Posted:  02/04/2012
Modified:  02/05/2012
Date Climbed:   02/04/2012
Author:  climbingbiz
 PERFECT day on La Plata  

Route: Northwest ridge
Time: around 7 hours
Conditions: Freaking magical

The short version: Great trench already established to treeline. Steep slippery scree to the ridge, smooth sailing from there to the summit.

Bring: Goggles (the sun is in your eyes the entire ascent) micro spikes, and an ice ax for the steep icy/snowy scree

Don't bring: Snowshoes.

The long version:

Left Denver just after 2am expecting bad roads the whole way, but as it turned out all the snow fell on Denver.

Started at 6:30am after a short nap at the trailhead, temp was around 0-5 degrees. Route finding in the trees couldn't be more simple, really only 1 trail once you pass the sign-in. A nice trench leads all the way through the trees (thank you whoever did that) making the lower section rather easy.

Once out of the trees, I headed strait up to the ridge since the trail traversing the base was not broken and the slopes above looked like a slight avalanche danger. Going up the gully to the ridge was by far the most difficult part of the climb. It was steep scree covered in snow with ice patches. This picture is from the bottom, after my descent at the end of the day.

and here is a view from the top looking down.

From there I continued along the ridge which was relatively flat, to the base of the upper part of the climb.

The summer trail joins up here, but is hard to follow. The only time you really need it is when you traverse to the right side of the ridge, and here it's easy to find. Other than that I just went up and avoided deep powder.

The entire time I was climbing there was no wind and the sun shined. I have never been on a windless summit before, so I took advantage of the conditions and hung out up there for a while.

I only wore my jacket before sunrise, after that I was down to base layers the whole time. I had the whole mountain to myself in perfect conditions. Couldn't ask for a better day.

Thanks for reading, see you in the hills!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Looks like a great day
02/05/2012 02:21
Great pictures! Thanks for the post; I'm getting more motivated to make a winter ascent here shortly!


02/05/2012 05:22
Looks heavenly! Great you got another winter one!


Great Report
02/05/2012 05:44
Looks like you did share the mountain with someone. Nice dog. Thanks for sharing. Great pictures.


good job
02/05/2012 06:27
La Plata was my first and only winter 14er to date. Its a great hike. Congrats


Nice Job
02/05/2012 06:40
Glad you made it. Looks like a great trip!


Monday Morning QB
09/24/2012 15:44
Damn! I really wanted to do La Plata yesterday, but the possibility of bad, ice roads told me to hold off.


02/05/2012 16:06
Planned La Plata all week, cancelled Thursday because of avalanche and weather concerns. Now I'm really kicking myself! Congrats on a summit on such a gorgeous day.

I Man

Nice Job
06/20/2012 13:38
Sorry I couldn't make it, wound up getting Columbia isntead...then slept at the La Plata TH last night, but my partner wasn't feeling up to it today so we just headed back to Denver. After reading your TR I am kind of kicking myself seeing as it seems like it was a free winter 14er. Oh well....I think I am heading out there again next Sat.


Sweet climb!
02/05/2012 18:53
Beautiful photos! Loved the expansive snow peaks in image #7, but especially loved the snow sculptures in #8! What was the diameter of those spirals? They look like they might be at least 12” or more across, but it's hard to tell without something next to them. Thanks for posting!


Snow sculptures
02/05/2012 19:16
@MtnHub, the snow sculptures were actually footprints from people climbing earlier this week. The snow got compacted from being walked on, then everything around it blew away.


Very nice
02/05/2012 19:42
Sayers is looking good, here's to some more snow to fill in Couloirs. Thanks for the pictures.


02/05/2012 20:19
Really? The conditions were that good? Ok I am so mad I didnt go.


: )
02/06/2012 18:05
Good job; nice report. Suprised at how little new snow there is on the headwall.


02/06/2012 21:02
I did this about 3 weeks ago, looks like more snow now and less wind, I took the same route on the way up judging from your pictures and agree the climb out of the gully to the ridge was a bit strenuous. Glad you had a pleasant day.


Same story on Elbert
02/07/2012 01:19
Congrats man! I was over on Elbert enjoying the same conditions. We should bag some more this winter.

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