Peak(s):  La Plata Peak  -  14,336 feet
Date Posted:  05/16/2011
Modified:  05/17/2011
Date Climbed:   05/15/2011
Author:  Gueza

 La Plata Peak North Face ski   

La Plata's North face

After getting ideas and texts about what to do this weekend, Sam (slopestyle) and I left the Springs Saturday afternoon in order to camp at the TH that way we didn't have to get up super early. After passing out, Mike (Chicago Transplant) made his way to the TH at around 11. I forgot my sleeping pad plus along with the fact that it was raining, my bivy sack looked less than inviting to sleep in in the grass. I opted to sleep in the passenger seat of Sam's car. After a decent nights sleep, I hit my alarm at 4am, geared up and met Mike. Sam was camped in his bomber 4 season tent just down the road. We were up and moving no later than 530am. Discouraged by the low cloud cover and relatively soft unfrozen snow, we hiked on up en route to the NW ridge.

Sam forgot his skins...

We eventually poked on through the low clouds and got a first glimpse of our goal.

We stuck to the creek for the majority of the route

Then cut a hard left up the steep face to gain the NW ridge

Mike doin work

Mike is a machine, he did this entire route (and all other backcountry tours) in Alpine boots.

The fog came back...

Now its gone..

It was turning out to be quite the day. Pretty warm but with an occasional nice little breeze to cool you off. Some clouds would block the sun every now and then. The snow stayed cool.

The remainder of the NW ridge

Mike followed by Sam

Looking East

The skins came back on for the remainder to the summit, one of two other parties making a nice skin track.

Looking back

The last 150 or so feet of skinning

NW ridge from near the summit

Summit Photo, suns in my eyes...

Sam's lack of skins had put him quite a ways behind Mike and I. We discussed plans with the two other skiers up on the summit with us. Mike wanted to go back and see how Sam was doing, it looked like Sam would take a deep posthole everystep. Mike said he was fine and comfortable with descending the 400ft to Sam alone, while I skied the North Face with the other skiers. Mike you have no idea how much I appreciate going back to Sam so I could ski the North face. Two other skiers had already descended the North Face successfully that day. I clicked in and descended quickly. The steepness of the upper portion just below the summit is high 40's in steepness if not at least 50. Perfect powder conditons made for a very enjoyable descent. Here is my Go Pro footage of it. I tried not to stop that much on the descent.

Once in the basin, a little bit of sidehilling was necessary to gain the bench and swing around back into the standard route. It was a slushy nightmare. Sam and Mike ended up summiting and skiing down a slightly different option than the North Face. Kudos to Sam for summiting without skins, that would have been really difficult. A quick descent was made back to the TH.
Thanks for the great day guys, lets get out again!


 Comments or Questions
Chicago Transplant

Good times!
05/17/2011 15:17
Turned out to be a tougher day with all that slushy snow in the trees, but it was still a fun day. Nice to meet you and I am sure we will get up some more peaks!


Nice Work!
05/17/2011 13:39
I have been hoping to get this line all spring, but have been putting it off due to the never-ending winter. Glad you got it safely!


05/18/2011 22:33
Nice work, Eric.

Like the photos.


05/19/2011 02:26
Nice looking day, Eric.


Great video
05/29/2011 19:42
I enjoyed your video - very nice.

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