la plata peak - 14336' - NW ridge Class 2
The weekend after Matt and I did Mount Columbia there was a large 14ers.com winter climb on La Plata Peak. I drove down with Josh and Jed and we made it to the trailhead right around 7am to see a bunch of other cars. The group started up the trail which already had a nice trench so I didn't even bring snowshoes. Jed, Josh and I quickly took the lead and went on ahead the rest of the group though. We reached a flat spot on the trail shortly before treeline for a nice break. Just as some others were coming to the same spot, we headed up the steep, loose talus gully to reach the crest of the northeast ridge. This slope was like walking on ball bearings but we eventually crested the ridge where it became flat for a ways. The final ascent to the summit is where Josh and I took off. We were so far ahead of everyone else that when we arrived, Jed shortly after, we had time to relax in the sun and enjoy the views with solitude. Not just that, but we also had time to make an attempt to traverse to East La Plata. We made it most of the way but a cliff on the ridge forced us to be lazy and decide against descending more to walk around it. So we returned to the summit of La Plata and started down. We saw the first of the remaining climbers about 500 feet below the summit! We also saw Matt and Jenny who had a much later start and were quickly passing others on their way up. We talked awhile, and finished the uneventful descent to the car.