Monday, February 18, 2008

La Plata

On Saturday I left Boulder to climb La Plata. Of all the 14er's in Colorado it ranks in at number five for elevation (4369m). We started from the trail head at 7:20 am and after much post holing and rout finding we arrived at camp at 2:30pm. After setting up camp I had a nap, ate 2 two serving dinners and drifted off to a restless sleep until 5:30 am. Our plan we to get up at 4:30am so we could summit and hike back to the trail head by dark. As my old friend Mark Abraham told me long ago - Don't ever plan anything because it will never work. As it turns out Mark has been right on many occasions. My watch alarm didn't work in the extreme cold that we experienced on Saturday night and that is why we didn't get up at 4:30am. Instead after having some hot chocolate and some power gels our team headed to the ridge of La Plata at 7:40am. The climb to reach the top of the ridge took an hour and then from there we spent the next four hours slogging up the ridge to the summit. About five minutes before reaching the summit there was a nice patch of blue sky peaking through all of the clouds but it was not to be. At 12:30 we reached the summit of La Plata in a virtual whiteout. The trip back to camp took two hours and a half hours, things go much faster when you can plunge step through snow on the downhill. After helping my tent mate get some water and some food in to him for the hike back to the trail head we left camp at 5:20pm and arrived back at the van at 7:20pm.

It was my first winter ascent of a 14er and now that I know I can do it, it will not be my last as long as I have breath.


meg & critch said...

I finally got to see your little WST using their high speed.

Congrats on climbing a mountain.

tye said...

that was sooo cool. i'm sure i don't have the fortitude or endurance to do it..but that would be awesome. congrats!