Peak(s):  La Plata Peak  -  14,336 feet
Date Posted:  09/30/2012
Date Climbed:   09/22/2012
Author:  arianna2

 Standard Northwest route  

It was a beautiful drive down to Aspen from Grand Junction. Unfortunately, it was pretty dark by the time we rolled into Twin Lakes. We would have to wait until the next day to relish all the fall colors. We started at 6am. Man, is it nice to be able to park at the trailhead on the side of a highway instead of miles up some crazy bumpy road. It was pitch dark in the beginning and we learned later in the day, that several people missed the trail turnoff. In fact, after the second bridge, we wasted two-thirds of a mile second guessing ourselves on whether we were on the right trail. Turns out that we were, it just seemed unusual to be paralleling the highway for so long. If we would have been patient just another 100 yards, we would have seen the third “bridge” (this bridge is just a pile of fallen tree trunks). I decided to take some pictures on our way out in the daylight. Hopefully, they will help somebody not miss a turn. The main road you start on keeps going and the sign for the La Plata trail is not real obvious – especially in the dark (we heard several people talking about missing this sign and having to double back). Look for this small sign on the left not more than 10 minutes or so after starting. Image
Then the next bridge to cross is over a deep gorge and it has two trails leading from it. One is to the left and we aren’t sure where that goes. The one to take is up some steps and goes to the right. Pretty soon, it turns back to the left (East) and follows the highway for a while. Then you will finally come to the log bridge. Image
We couldn’t see the sunrise, but the light from sunrise was beautiful down in the valley. The temperature was very nice. No need for a parka this morning. My husband did have a warm hat on, pulled it off when hot and along with it, his head light. We never did find that. Thanks to those we talked to that day who kept their eye out. Image Image
It is a lot of work getting to the saddle. We got to that somewhere around 8:30. It was a beautiful sight to see and it was nice to bask in the sun. Image Image
We reached the summit at about 10:30. Whew…I felt all 4500 feet. There are so many mountains to see from the top even through the smoke. We have done 4 or 5 trips for 14ers this summer, and I don’t think we had a totally clear view on any of them. I hope we get lots of precipitation this winter and less fires next summer. Image
It was a very pretty view of the fall colors on our way back down. We finished at 2:20. Image Image We are able to see the summit from the parking lot and it never ceases to amaze us that we can accomplish such a feat. We had plenty of time to enjoy the Twin Lakes area and Independence Pass before heading home. We just had to make sure not to run over a photographer on the way. You would think that it is obvious that the highway is not a safe place to take a picture. Oh well, to each their own! Image

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Way to go!
06/25/2013 04:45
Thank you for the report and all the nice pix.

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