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Peak(s):  La Plata Peak  -  14,344 feet
Date Posted:  10/06/2010
Date Climbed:   10/02/2010
Author:  bergsteigen
 Gurlz rule, boyz drool   

Glitter pink sign, courtesy of Darrin - Photo Credit: mtgirl

La Plata Peak

Route: SW Ridge
Mileage: 7.5
Elevation Gain: 3,623'
Sweet 16: girlslovesnow, guser, Lurabelle, tundratif, birdie, JMo, whit12, Katerina, moon stalker, globehugger, trailsntails, Upstate hiker, mtgirl, sunny1, waller19, & me

The morning broke cool and crisp, and I doubt anyone wanted to leave the warm comfort of her sleeping bag for the icy outdoors. 9 of us camped out, or slept in our vehicles at the Winfield campsite. Ice was on the windshields of vehicles as we carpooled up to the 4WD trailhead that is West Winfield.

The road wasn't too bad, but definitely required a high clearance vehicle. The contents of the back of my truck were certainly shaken, not stirred, creating quite the jumble of camping gear. We didn't drive all the way up to the TH in case there were more gurlz coming. Here we waited for a short time, not realizing the other half of the gurlz were waiting around the bend. We both had the plan to slowly start the hike up, and maybe the other group would catch up. But once my group had started up the remaining road, we ran into the other group. We introduced ourselves with real names and screen names. We had 2 Erin's, 2 Whitney's and 2 Jen's, it was apparent that remembering names was going to be tricky! Then after a group photo, we were on our way!

16 Gurlz starting the day

The initial trail was a nice walk up the valley next to a stream. The fallen aspen leaves making a light carpet of yellow on the ground. We chatted with those around us, and kept a relatively slow pace, so that everyone could keep up. Once we got above treeline, a longer break was taken so that everyone could catch up and remove the extra layers. The sun was removing the chill from the air, and making the hike quite pleasant.

break time


Once above the trees, we could also get a better idea of our route ahead. With the basin surrounding us, we could see the trail snake up a wall at the far end. But first we had to navigate the muddy willow section. The mud was still frozen, this early in the morning, but this area would be one we didn't want to see later once melted.

The far wall to get up to the SW ridge was one of scree and few switchbacks. Yet another area of dread on the return trip. But we all got up this wall of scree, and I was happy to have trekking poles to dig into the ground to anchor my way up.

The scree wall ahead

Almost thought this was Ellingwood Ridge... it connects to 3-5 13ers eventually

Up one of the few switchbacks


Valley below

Once on the upper ridge, the wind started up, and our large group eventually had to break up into smaller groups as we all had to keep moving to stay warm. It was now a matter of counting everyone on the trail, to make sure everyone was doing well, as I bounced between the faster and slower groups on the talus slope.

Windy saddle

The way ahead

A look back, and a kewl 13er - Sayers BM


Counting the gurlz

Once on the false summit, we could see the true summit, just a short distance away. The couple people on the top didn't look too small, so it had to be close! So after a short break to let some gurlz catch up, the first group took off for the final summit push.

Photo credit: mtgirl
Last break spot

Almost there!

Once on the summit, we all donned some extra clothing, to make sure we would stay warm enough, as we waited for the remaining couple of gurlz to come up the trail. mtgirl had enough energy to run over to the semi-false summit to give us an update on the remainder of the groups' progress. With a number of gurlz having asthma, a broken toe, a broken hand, forgotten hiking boots, and a variety of other ailments, it was quite the accomplishment that every single lady summitted on this day. A true testament to the will required to hike up one of these peaks.

When we arrived on the summit, there was a group of 2 other ladies on the summit, who had gone up the standard trail. Also, as we waited, a lone male showed up, but immediately left for more solitude further way. Other than 3 other guys on the trail, we had managed to pull off a completely female trek. And as far as I know, no 14ers guy "crashed" our party. Of course, we were on the summit a bit later than normal for summer, but the weather was holding stable and nice, so there was no rush.

Once we had all caught our breath and ate some lunch, the summit photo sequencing started. Some serious photos followed by a bunch of silly muscle posing photos. A good time was had by all as we hung out on the summit for a while.

All 16 Gurlz make the summit!


A gorgeous day, looking at the southern Sawatch

Someone's serious about those 14ers! Photo Credit: mtgirl
The Elks

Just another pretty pano I couldn't resist

Eventually we needed to head down. mtgirl had to get home to receive a phone call, and Laurabelle wanted some more elevation gain and headed off to do Missouri Mountain. Others were not camping out that evening, and were heading home. So the descent was just as scattered as the final ascent was. Once we were below the horrid scree wall, the remaining group took a long break, to make sure everyone was down the hardest part of the trail. From this point on, the hardest part would be avoiding the mud and willows.

Huron, tomorrow's goal

Time for some sun bathing

A nice break spot

Refueling for the final trek down

The afternoon light was catching the remaining golden leaves and throwing shadows onto Huron and the 3 Apostles, as we made our way back down to the trailhead. Moon stalker went ahead to collect firewood for the evening fire. We knew it would be another cold one, and a fire would throw more heat than the small lantern we had the night before.

On the nice trail


Fall is here

Sunset and a fire

Our campsite

I would like to think that we all found some new hiking partners on future trips, and that a couple lasting friendships were made. Many of us that have finished the 14ers, or are close have spent so much time hiking with guys only, that it is quite the treat to go with other ladies. So I hope those that are only just starting out, take advantage of the opportunity to hike with the other gurlz on the trip. I know I look forward to the next gurlz hike/scramble/ski trip, and I hope we will have as good a turn out for future events!

My photos

Day 2: Huron Peak, with a quick traverse to Browns Peak and Pt 13,462

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Comments or Questions
Thanks again Otina!
10/6/2010 8:21pm
For organizing such a great event for the ladies. I enjoyed every minute of this day.....and I think I just might start dressing up as ”Hiking Barbie” on all future hikes and climbs ! It's going to be the new fashion on 14ers next year ! Great hiking with all you gurlz.

SO great!
10/6/2010 8:29pm
Good job ladies! I'll be there next time...

That Tatt is awesome!
10/6/2010 8:30pm
Dont know that i would have the cojones to do that. Great Trip and congrats girlz.

Very nice ladies!
10/6/2010 8:39pm
Sounds like it was a wonderful time ... what beautiful weather and scenery. Love those purple socks, mtgirl. Thanks for posting (on to the next gurlz report). Happy trails!

No boyz?
10/6/2010 8:55pm
You should have invited some boyz! Just kidding. Looks like a great day. Next time you do this, I'll tell my wife. She's not active on this site but would probably enjoy hiking with a group of gurlz.

10/6/2010 9:39pm
Looks like you gals had a great day! I'm shocked that Otina didn't give me a secret invitation to this one.

Doug Shaw
”Glitter pink sign, courtesy of Darrin&rdquo
10/6/2010 11:44pm
Hard to improve on that opening line, but the pic of mtgirl looking like she's using her Freshette is a good effort.

Glad you ladies had a cool shindig.

10/7/2010 12:51am
Looks like you all had a fun hike. That route is one of my favorites and doing it in fall makes it so much better.

Awesome day!
10/7/2010 12:55am
Great TR, Otina! Thanks again for all the effort you put into making this a fun day!
We climbed the mountain in style - from fetching tattoo art to MtGirl's barbie outfit!
Zoriloco, the person with the tattoo DOES have BIG cojones!!
Congrats to all and it was great to meet everyone!

moon stalker
Great TR and great hike
10/7/2010 3:08am
Great TR Otina, as usual! And great photos, we can always count on you for that! The hike was so much fun, it is unusual to hike with only other females. I like it! I also look forward to future Gurlz events and hikes with some of the ladies we all met.

Gorgeous day for a gorgeous group
10/7/2010 4:26am
Y'all rule indeed! An awesome climb by an awesome group of climbers. Wish I'd been there to share the summit with you. But as you say, gurlz rule, and boyz drool. Keep the faith, and keep on climbin'...

I see...
10/7/2010 4:56am
...Paul Perea has changed his username to El Chupacabra - in order to impress Colorado's finest.

Gurlz rule indeed!

Not my tattoo !
10/7/2010 2:53pm
Nope, not my tattoo - I only took the picture of it. It belonged to one cool chick who will remain anonymous unless she wants to speak up. I did, however, offer to add another tick mark to the 12 she already had on there for summits with a Sharpie.....but she declined. As for the perfect hair.....do you have any idea how early I had to get up to perfect that Barbie hair and how much hair spray it takes to keep it lookin' good in the wind ?? Kinda hard to pull off the Barbie look when I'm normally a tomboy in a ballcap. Most impressive of the day was the one (Jay, I believe?) that made the summit with a broken toe !

A very fun day
10/7/2010 4:34pm
mtgirl - Hmmm hiking barbie, I will have to keep my eye on the bargain bin for some pink shirts

Bill - Do you want to come for the Gurlz ski trip I'm thinking of planning? It would be like Charlie's Angels

bjohnson17 - Tough call on the survey, it was a most impressive day 8)

Nice Report
10/7/2010 4:54pm
Nice pics, I climbed this with my kids sunday, good thing we didn't pick saturday, wouldn't want to get beaten with a stick for crashing the party :-)

What a day!
10/8/2010 3:34am
Awesome trip report Otina. Thanks for setting this up and thanks to all the incredible women I had the pleasure to meet and hike with. I had a great time--count me in for future trips! My toe was very happy to get out of my boot at the end of the day I have great photos of you ladies and our hike. I would like to get them to all of you...Any ideas what is best way to make available?? Post or PM me.

Glad you had a great day
10/8/2010 3:33pm
Bummer I had to miss it; hope to be at the next one!

Most impressive?
6/2/2011 2:57pm
Looks like an excellent trip. Congrats all on the summit. I would like to do a survey though.... Wrestling with the question of ”What is most impressive with this trip?” 1) You all made the summit? 2) Mtgirl's tatoo? 3) Mtgirl's perfect hair for the entire round trip?

4/18/2014 7:27pm
I'm drooling at the lovely ladies!

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