La Plata Peak & East La Plata
Date:September 11, 2010
Elevation:La Plata Peak - 14,336 ft
East La Plata - 14,180 ft
Trail:Southwest Ridge
Distance:8.38 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:3,380 ft
Difficulty:Class 2 + class 3 to East La Plata
Time it took us:8 hrs including a sprained ankle!

Travis and I hiked Grays & Torreys on Sept. 9th and decided it was a good warm-up for hiking La Plata peak with our friends Beth & Mariah. As usual, we drove up the night before and tented at the trail head. The road to the trailhead wasn't too bad until right at the end. Then there was a fun section that required some negotiating of tires around holes and rocks. It was even more fun to go 4 wheeling in the dark! At the trailhead, there weren't a lot of good tenting spots, but we found enough room for our 2 tents. We crashed and woke up just before 6:00am to start the hike. By the time we had packed up our tents and were ready to go, it was 6:30am and there was plenty of light so we didn't need head lamps. The trail starts out nice, then as you get above tree line, there's a tough short and steep slope up to a saddle. Once on the saddle, you get a little bit of time to relax before you're on boulders the rest of the way! Trail finding was interesting and we all chose our own path for the most part. We made it to the summit and there were a few other people that hiked the standard route up. Travis and I decided to take the rocky ridge over to East La Plata. That was a blast and there was nobody else over there! There was some fun scrambling and some narrow areas, but nothing too difficult. Once over there, we had East La Plata to ourselves so we enjoyed the view. We then headed back to join Mariah, Beth & their pups, took a few pictures then started back down. Not far from the top, Travis stepped wrong and twisted his ankle. He suffered a little while before agreeing to some pain killers and vet wrap to stabilize his ankle. We had a short break while we got him all bandaged up and ready to slowly work his way back down. Luckily we had hiking poles and those saved the day! We all made it out just fine and I got to play on the 4x4 road on the way out. A stop off at Beau Jos for dinner, then back to the real world...

Travis, Mariah, Indigo & Bogie leading the way

Heading up the steep, loose trail to the saddle

A picture showing the slope

Travis and Mariah climbing the rocks below

On the saddle headed for the rocks

Our route up the saddle

Nothing but rocks ahead...

One of the many cairns scattered around

Travis almost to the top of the first false summit

Looking ahead to another false summit

Rocks, rocks and more rocks!

Looking back at yet another false summit that we climbed.

The real summit in sight!

Travis enjoying the view on the way to East La Plata

Mariah downclimbing a class 3 section of the ridge

More loose rock. Almost to East La Plata!

Looking back at La Plata Peak

Travis & Lindsey on East La Plata

Travis on some class 3 rocks

Back on La Plata Peak - Group Shot!

The view of the Elk Mountains

Headed back down the trail

Two Marmots yelled at us for a bit as we went past

Off the rocks and headed down the steep, slick trail

Looking back at the trail

Headed out with Huron Peak ahead

GPS + Google Earth view of our route

Final GPS elevation profile