Well La Plata surprised me. After climbing Missouri, Emerald and Iowa the day before, I didn't think La Plata would be much fun but it was.
Weather was great, the hike through the basin was beautiful. The rocks on the mountain were fun - avoid the trail - it's scree and loose footing. Climb on the rocks and have fun! Very solid.
La Plata is everything a Sawatch Mountain should be.
Have done this mountain twice, which is surprising since for some reason I don't particularly care for the thing. First climb was memorable because the weather was so unbelievably warm, climbing partners Aaron Johnson and Mike Kloepfer took a two hour nap on the summit!
And got away with it...
Very nice day after a long spell of bad weather, the mountain gods were smiling. This is a beautiful hike up a scenic valley, and a great mountain.
I was sure I told Shon 2 nights of camping, so I had to talk him into it once we were there. Great view of Huron and the Apostles and Ice mtn from our camp on the less popular southern basin. steep bushwhack to get out of it, but oh well.
Got a bit turned around in the early-morning dark but once on route had a blast. First half is pretty good rock, but quality deteriates as you go. This climb just sucks your energy out. Lots of up and down. But in the end, the sense of accomplishment and the incredible scrambling and scenery made it well worth it.
CD, Mark, and I summited on my birthday! I had to climb the route after having climbed Elbert and not being able to tear my eyes away from the ridge! We gained the ridge very early (way North of the peak), which made for a very long day. Great clasic ridge climbing with as mush exposure as you want. Many of the obstacles can be avoined by dropping slightly below the ridge, but what fun is that! Also, if anyone tries to tell you that there is a trail that should be used to get you to the route, they are full of it.
Labor Day brought a snowstorm in 2001, so we avoided the mountains for a few weeks before trying another few 14ers. La Plata Peak turned out to be an excellent choice because the aspens along the Clear Creek Road were peaking. The willows kind of suck in the valley, especially with non-waterproof boots, and the southwest ridge felt to us like it took forever to climb, but we had a great autumn day, nevertheless.
La Plata was one of my favorite Sawatch fourteeners (along with Mount of the Holy Cross and Huron Peak). It is a nice climb with asttounding views. The Ellingwood Ridge is dramatic from the north ridge.
Perfect day to climb a 14er. Gary, Dave and myself. With minimal stops on the way up we managed to summit this peak in under 4 hours. The summit was beautiful and it was fun to look down at the Ellingwood ridge which Gary and I attempted the previous year a little too late in the season. This year we may make another attempt to summit via the Ellingwood ridge.
Picking our way along the trail-less ridge was slower going than expected. A fun and challenging route. Reaching the summit by this route leaves a feeling of accomplishment.
This was the second time I attempted La Plata. The first time I had to turn around due to inclement weather. This time Jim and I met at the trailhead in the morning and we hiked up together. Hiking up the valley to the first saddle was fun and beautiful. From there the hike was pretty uneventful and took much a longer than I though it would to make the summit. The views were nice and I was glad to have finished all of the Swatach Fourteeners.
Standard Sawatch climb - the hard part is finding the bridge across the river near the start of the hike.
I woke up late and reached the trail head at 9:00 AM. Upon getting there I met a guy who returned from mid-way to the top saying the weather's too bad. Well that's an ominous start...However since it was my last day there I soldiered on.
Reached the summit at around 1:00 PM. On the way down got caught in a thunderstorm. Instead of taking cover I chose to attempt a "out-descend" the storm and it worked although I was drenched and chilled to the bone.
Now I have done both the routes to La Plata - the standard one and the fiendish Ellingwood Ridge. This is an excellent climb with clearly marked routes and some nice photo opportunities.
Ellingwood Ridge is a long dayhike. The trail is not marked well and hence some route finding is necessary. Also be prepared to do some simple climbing.
This was the first 14er that I climbed. I had just moved to Colorado (from Wisconsin) and Climbed the peak with the outdoor program at my college. I got a headache and dizzy spells, but I loved it and was hooked.
I did this one with a group of guys from my church. It was unseasonably chilly this day. We had dense fog and pretty strong winds above 12,600 feet, so it was difficult to see where we were going. Fortunately, one of the guys had GPS, otherwise we may never have found the summit. I'll have to do this again, when it's not so foggy.
I bailed out on this about 2 weeks before due to some questionable weather. I had a beautiful day this time. Great views of the surrounding mountains. This did make for a long (7 hour) day though.
With my Colorado Outward Bound training group, we hiked up trailless Crystal Lake Creek and camped below all of the large lakes. We climbed a snow couloir to gain the ridge, then meandered along the pinnacles to the summit. A great glissade back to the lakes. We also climbed a prominent couloir on the north side of the peak that forms the SE corner of the basin. Since we were training we set 11 fixed lines just getting to the Ellingwood Ridge!
Magnificent and very diverse trail, poorly marked at the beginning. Once out of the gulch, incredible scenery of what I believe to be Winfield Peak to the South. The sun struggled to shine. Did not trust the cloudy skies. It took me a long time to reach the saddle below the crest for being in doubt to procede several times. Skeptically observed the clouds taking over the peak as I was just below the snowfield (almost noon). I instantly chose to descend; reached timberline in a light rain/snowfall under thunder and lightning. Very slow descend especially from the upper portion; treacherous terrain. Slipped several times. Long, steep and great climb. Am rating this one as the most difficult 14er I've hiked so far but plan to summit from Winfield on a hopefully sunny day.
Turned back by weather around 12,500 feet the previous day. Returned and successfully summitted on a beautiful day.