Peak(s):  La Plata Peak  -  14,344 feet
Date Posted:  06/08/2005
Date Climbed:   06/07/2005
Author:  cgrossman
 June 7, 2005 - South Fork Lake Creek Road   

I hiked to the top of La Plata Peak on the "standard" trail from the South Fork Lake Creek Road. I wore normal hiking boots. The trail up to La Plata Gulch was easy to follow and is in great shape. The gully starting at 11,300 ("Photo #2" on this web site) had some snow patches that obscured the trail in spots, but "boot steps" were prevalent for reasonably good footing. The route at 12,300 ("Photo #3") was covered by a very large snow field. I ascended the hard-packed snow by following existing tracks, and completely missed where the trail emerged from the snowfield well below the ridge line. A ways up the ridge, the trail was buried again under a very long and steep snowfield (roughly represented by the snow patch in "Photo #4"). Instead of ascending the snow field, I elected to climb the uncovered boulders on the ridge. Along with the howling freezing wind, the tiring boulder scramble nearly did me in and I came very close to turning around. But I soon found the trail again, and followed it to the summit, carefully traversing just an occasional snow patch. The summit still has a fair amount of snow, with a rather prominent "prow" for a great photo op. The descent was long but routine, with the softening snow making for easier footing. I only sank up to my thighs a couple times on the lower snow field.

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