La Plata via Northwest Ridge

La Plata via Northwest Ridge

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 15, 2006
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Summer

Friday Night

I decided to hike La Plata Peak after seeing it's majesty from Mt. Elbert. On July 14 I made the long drive to Leadville and to the La Plata trailhead off of Highway 82. Highway 82 had some deep potholes, so I'm glad that i made the drive while it was light out. I arrived at the trailhead at about 6 PM, and quicly set up camp. There are a few campsites here, but be carefull because about 50 ft away from the road the land becomes private property. I arrived afer some light rain showers which afforded me beautiful views of La Plata Peak.
La Plata SunsetSunset


I ate some sausage and cheese and hit the hay before the mosquitos ate me alive.

To The Ridge

I had planned on waking up about 5:30 and being on the trail by 6:00. However, I woke up at 3:00 and could not go back to sleep, so i ended up getting getting on the trail about 4:45. The trail started on the road but veered off to the left after a couple hundred meters. The trail continued through the trees on a great trail over two bridges and a few sections of wooden stairs.
The first creek crossingThe creek below the first bridge crossing.

I was very amazed at the work that was put into this trail, which made the hike to above tree line very pleasent. At about 11,000 feet the trail enters a valley. As the trees thin the remaining route becomes appearent.
The Ridge from the ValleyThe ridge from the valley.

The ValleyThe view of the valley from the ridge.

The trail soon steepens and switchbacks up to the ridge at about 12,700 ft.

The Ridge to the Summit

After the gaining the ridge the trail stays strong for a little while, but soon looses its definition.
The view of the Upper RidgeThe Ridge

After a lot of bouldering hooping and route-finding I eventually reached a small saddle at around 14,100 ft. La Plata Peak is on climbers left. I summited around 8:30 and had the summit all to myself. Well, except for a curious Pika.
Pika on La Plata

After a good 20 minute break I headed down and saw about 30 people on their way up, and one vicious-looking marmot.

I made it back down to the car at 11:30, for a round trip time of 6 hours 40 minutes.


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