Peak(s):  La Plata Peak  -  14,336 feet
Date Posted:  03/12/2012
Date Climbed:   03/09/2012
Author:  oldschool

 6th time is a charm.....  


Some mountains just seem to be harder to get to the summit. La Plata, or "damn" La Plata as I came to call it, was my mountain of mis-steps, misery, and 5 failed attempts. In my previous winter attempts, I had been turned around due to partners not feeling well, weather a few times, and the most embarrassing.....I tweaked my back in the parking lot...putting on my boots!


I had purposely saved La Plata for a winter first ascent, as the trailhead is easy to get to in the winter. No long approaches. I know...the lazy way, but hell...when you can drive to the winter trailhead, regardless of snow levels, take it!

I decided to give it a go, being as by the time I got back from my next 2 week shift at work, it wouldn't be winter anymore. I left the house on Thurs night and drove to the trailhead. When I got there, 3 other cars were parked. I didn't see anyone around so figured they were up camping. It was 10:30 pm when I got to the trailhead. I laid out my sleeping bag on the ground right next to my truck and crashed out. Then I heard some voices, coming down the trail. "Damn late to be getting down" I thought. They got to the parking lot, settled out their stuff, and drove off.

About 20 minutes later the coyotes started, only this time they were VERY close! I hesitated to look, but knew by the howls that this one coyote couldn't have been more than 40 or 50 ft away. I know they are curious animals, so I just chilled and listened to his wailing. A big moon, coyote's howling...straight magic. Maybe an omen?

I got up and going just before 7 am. Made treeline and the camping spots in an hour. There was one guy camped up there. We talked for a bit and I dropped my snowshoes there.

After dropping my snowshoes, I made good time, following the track. It was in good shape and followed the summer route.....easier than whacking straight up to the ridge.

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The snow levels are very, very low right now. It looks like June or July up little snow in place. Slog, slog...up followed by up. Dilly-dallied a bit, took a break at the ridge top when I got there, then followed the track and trail to the top. Awesome weather, hardly any wind. No big issues to report...used micro spikes from the camp areas up.

Got to the summit just after noon. Beautiful! I was the only one on the summit. I did run across a party of one (the guy that was camped) on his way up as I was descending, and a party of 2 just coming up off the bottom valley kinda late in the day. Hope they made it ok. I spent 20 minutes on the summit, taking pictures, drinking and eating. Then off I went. Made it back quickly. Sweet day and now La Plata is no longer "damn" La Plata.

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Image #12 (not yet uploaded)

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Some great pictures
03/12/2012 17:13
I especially like #11


03/12/2012 18:21
That a way to be persistent!!


03/12/2012 18:28
Just because we had talked three years ago about doing this several times! As well as Princeton if I remember correctly. Glad you got 'er done!


I feel ya
03/12/2012 18:39
I have two failed Winter attempts at this one. I've concluded it'll be a Summer peak (much like Princeton was)... I remember your name on the trailhead register the last time I was unsuccessful. Way to get it!


Great pics
03/12/2012 19:14
Way to go, love the vantage points from that direction.
I've only been up from the Winfield side, but IMHO it's a splendid route and worth another visit as well.
Way to get 'er done in the winter!


Six Times
03/12/2012 19:25
To be able to say you have been in, on, near or around La Plata six times is a blessing in itself! Congratulations on the summit. Absolutely beautiful photos.


Some mountains
03/12/2012 20:23
just love to toy with you like that! Congrats on a successful summit--this one's definitely a beaut in winter. And wow, you aren't kidding about the snow levels being nice and low...


03/12/2012 21:22
It's not only depressing how little snow there is, but also how much less there is than only a few weeks ago. At any rate, nice job finally getting 'er done.


03/12/2012 21:23
I'm kinda happy about the low snow levels....purely selfish. I have 2 projects this year and with the low snow the high country should open up early!


03/12/2012 23:58
Nice job sir. I know those coyotes, they were there back in Feb when I did it. They look more like wolves and are the largest coyotes i've seen. Glad they weren't too curious.


Way to keep at it
03/13/2012 00:52
Always feels a little sweeter to get one that hasn't had the welcome mat out in the past, no? Nice job!


03/13/2012 05:51
Way to keep after it. Hope you celebrated this one.


03/13/2012 17:29
Way to keep at this, Mike! Having to be defeated this many times on what seems like an easy mountain is frustrating at best!
Congrats on the summit. The views are terrific from La Plata's summit.
Damn coyotes are a bit unsettling if you're not used to heaing them!


If I am one thing.......
03/14/2012 00:10
it is persistent! It was nice to get this one off the books. This time it went easy. Thx for all the well wishes.....much appreciated.


03/16/2012 00:53
How badly did you need the snowshoes up until treeline? Were they absolutely necessary?


No they are not needed really
03/16/2012 00:54
I took them along just in case.....but if you get going early and the snow is still hard/frozen, you will be good. Might be a bit soft/mushy on the way down tho....


03/23/2012 03:44
Can we look forward to trip reports?


03/23/2012 12:03
Well...lets hope I get to do Trip Reports instead of
you having to read an Obituary! I will do TR's.

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