Peak(s):  La Plata Peak  -  14,336 feet
Date Posted:  06/24/2012
Date Climbed:   06/23/2012
Author:  emohr
 La Plata Peak  

ROUTE: Northwest Ridge (Standard route from Lake Creek Trailhead)
HIKE TIME: 6.5 Hours (4 for the ascent, 2.5 on the descent)
TRAIL CONDITIONS: All dry! Another great hike in my Chacos
WEATHER: 60 degrees with little wind the whole day. Gorgeous weather

The Mines 14er Crew headed out for another weekend in the beautiful Sawatch Range.

We headed out from Golden at about 7 on Friday to camp the night before our hike. The problem with was that just about every single camping spot within 2 miles of the La Plata Trailhead was taken. I don't know if the Twin Lakes Area is that busy on the weekends, or if some special event was going on. Either way, we had to camp in a parking lot by the lake. We finally got to bed at about 10.

We woke up at 7 and got to the trailhead at about 8. The parking lot for the trailhead was a bit small for a Saturday, but we managed to find a parking space.

The hike really reminded me of Mount Belford in the sense that it was about 2 miles through a forest, then 2.5 miles up a steep mountain side. I really liked all the creek crossings along this trail

Creek that runs under the vehicle bridge

Creek that runs under the foot bridge

Creek that runs along the trail through the forest

There were tons of wildflowers along the creek including a few Columbines

One of the hundreds of Columbines along the trail

After the forest section, the trail opens up into a beautiful valley, with La Plata Peak to the Southeast

First opening after the forest

View through the forest. I couldn't figure out which peak that is though

Once the trail opens into the valley, the real hiking begins. There's a series of steep switchbacks that wind back and forth up a pretty steep incline

Switchbacks from the basin up towards the ridge of La Plata

View back towards the trailhead

At the top of the switchbacks and a few long traverses, there's a nice view of La Plata to the South and Ellingwood Ridge to the East

The ridge before the Class 2 hiking starts

Ellingwood Ridge looking towards the East

The Class 2 scrambling along the ridge of La Plata was my favorite part. I can't go fast enough to stress my lungs, and I get to use my hands to find holds just like bouldering or rock climbing

We finally made it to the summit where we met 2 gracious women who lent us their Which Wich bag. We spent about an hour on the summit and decided to head back down

At the summit! 14th 14er!

Biggest marmot I've seen in my 20 years of existence

Leanne with La Plata in the background on our way down

Looking back towards the trailhead and the basin we started in

La Plata is another one of those Sawatch 14ers that has 4,000' of elevation gain, and my legs let me know for sure of that the next day. It was a gorgeous hike and a gorgeous day all around!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions
Craig Cook

06/24/2012 21:45
Another great trip report!

So glad you you posted this, as it is one of the alternative hike options I'm thinking about if the fire near Leadville isn't better in a couple weeks. Looks like a beautiful hike.


Leadville Fire
06/24/2012 21:47
Thank Ya!

We were headed back home from La Plata and could see the smoke from the Leadville fire. We drove by it and there was already a helicopter using a bucket to get water from the nearby creek.

Hopefully they put that out soon. I'm tired of these fires!


Fat little bastard
06/25/2012 02:47
Damn that is a big marmot!! Nice report an pics!!


Nice report
06/25/2012 11:16
Thanks for the report and pictures!

Doctor No

Sayres BM
06/25/2012 17:00
The peak in your photo #6 above is Sayres BM. Enjoyed the report; looks like a great day in the mountains!


06/25/2012 18:11
Photos. Thanks for the Trip Report.

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