At 14,360 feet in elevation, La Plata Peak is the fifth-highest peak in the state of Colorado, and number 34 in North America including Alaska.
There are two routes for La Plata, with the standard and most popular route being the Northwest Ridge at 9.5 miles with 4,500 feet of elevation gain.
With a nice early alpine start, I was able to clear treeline well before the sun started to show, and made it through the rough switchbacks before the sun started blasting down. At elevation the sun’s radiation is much stronger at sea level, so the earlier start helps to keep you cooler and better protected.
There was plenty of snow above the switchbacks, and I was able to use my snowshoes to avoid a lot of the talus and to do a few glissades to cut off some of the return time.
The summit views were a fitting reward for the effort expended, and this is one of the climbs that I would definitely do again if I was in the area and needed a good workout.
Out Of the Valley
Pick a Path
Peak Peak Peak