La Plata Peak, North Face



This is now a very popular route, and deservedly so. I tried it in 2001, but messed up the approach; 7 people were in it when we finally got there. It is common to camp in the basin and ascend the couloir early in the morning, but it can be done in one day. In 2002 we did it by hiking the standard trail to the summit. The upper photo above was taken on June 15, 2001, after a major snowstorm; I hiked the trail to 12000', circled to the north to get into the valley below the face, and climbed a little towards the Ellingwood Ridge for the angle I wanted. The lower photo was taken on June 15, 2008, from the summit of Elbert. The Ellingwood Ridge is in the foreground.

2002 update: I skied the couloir on the left (east) on May 25, 2002, with Bob Portmann and Chet Roe. General coverage was very bad that year. The steeper line on the right had rocks showing and was not continuous from the ridge, so we went east to the slightly less steep, but still totally worthwhile, straight couloir. It measured at 40 degrees for most of its length. Conditions were difficult, as there had been at least six inches of new snow the preceding day, and that was very heavy to ski through, but we found it both enjoyable and challenging. We climbed the peak by the standard summer trail to the top. Here is a photo from the bottom of the couloir.


Here's a shot of John Jaycox skiing a nice section of one of the couloirs on the same day (June 15, 2008) that the Elbert-based shot shown above was taken . Photo by Jordan White.


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