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.
This was an awesome but tiring hike. Many boulders to hop across. I got misrouted a few times which added to my time and tiredness. I missed the summit and started towards the Winfield Trailhead.
La Plata will definitely give you some great views! especially in the Spring time. My girlfriend, Lorena, and I climbed this peak during our Memorial Day Weekend break in 2002. Our high camp was awesome. I have posted a detailed trip report under the trip report section of the La Plata Page. This is not a hard route. Just an arduous one if you are full out camping like we did. The photo was taken by Lorena.
My first mountain I ever climbed.
Climbed with homeboy Uy. Starting in the morning, we kept a good pace until about ½-way up, when Uy started developing a bit of altitude sickness (he'd recently returned from England, i.e. sea level). He pushed through it, though, and we summited. After hanging out on top for a bit, we went back down. Towards the bottom Uy injured his leg, but we slowed down and everything was cool. It was a beautiful day, and seeing the sun come through the trees in La Plata Gulch while listening to the river below on the return was really nice. Overall, a great day in the Colorado Rockies- good climb with a good friend in beautiful weather .
I had tried this solo three weeks earlier and turned back because of some deep snow. I came back with a friend to find half the snow and twice the fun. We barely made it back down before the latest storm moved in.
This is a nice hike all the way to the top as long as the weather holds out. Watch the west for storms, it is blocked by a series of peaks so if a bad storm rolls in you have only a short time before it hits you! While reaching the summit I got slamed by the worst storm I have ever been in. the winds were 35+ mph and visibility was about 5 feet. so be carefull
Monsoonal morning. Plenty of clouds. 5 hours roundtrip.
A good challenging hike the weather was good and the views great as always.
The third fourteener I've climbed was the nicest yet! It was a challenging route, but not forever long like Mt. Massive was. The weather was a little crummy and cloudy but thankfully it cleared up by the time we got to the top! Saw a bunch of rodents and a few birds, but nothing too exciting in the wildlife category. The walk through the basin was long and windey. Pretty wet in places, too. Once you started really climbing, though, you didn't stop!! We followed cairns all the way up the rocky ridge at the top. On the way down, however, I am certain that we were following different cairns. The moral of that story is just go up however you want! Met several nice people on that mountain, as we have on all the others we climbed. Mountaineers are such nice people!
started out very easy, other than the ten quadrillion steps about 1 mile in. other than that the hike was very simple through the gulch. once we reached la platta it was straight up from there. i started to feel a little altitude sickness around 13,500, i continued on and made the summit.