2014-04-25 – La Plata Peak ski

La Plata is a peak I’ve been wanting to ski for years, but one thing or another always got in the way. This time the stars aligned though, and I got to enjoy one of my most enjoyable 14er ski days ever. Though the roads were dry, the drive was made interesting by a couple people who clearly should not have been driving at 4:00 in the morning. Matt and I met at the trailhead and were skinning at 5:30 sharp.

IMG_0039 0624

The bushwhack through the trees was tough thanks to the steep pitch and icy snow, but – if nothing else – the snow was supportive and the trees spaced widely enough to make the climb almost straightforward. Right about 7:00 we broke through to treeline and got to surveying what was around us for the rest of the ascent.

IMG_3324

IMG_0041 0711

IMG_0042 0713

We found a simple-looking spot to boot up a hundred feet or so to gain the ridge proper, and ultimately decided to keep our skis on our packs for the rest of the climb on account of the constantly undulating ridgeline combined with pretty hard, sloping snow.

IMG_3325

IMG_0045 0743

From here on it was just one foot in front of the other for a couple thousand feet.

IMG_0046 0743

IMG_0052 0816

I felt as “on” as I ever have in the mountains, and the next thing I knew I was relaxing on the summit, enjoying the absolutely perfect weather of the day. Matt joined me on top a couple minutes later.

IMG_0062 1012

IMG_0065 1035

We pushed off right about 10:30, enjoying the steep entry fee to the line, and then just enjoying amazing snow.

IMG_3327

IMG_0073 1045

I don’t know where it blew in from, but most of the line held a few inches of light, dry powder. It was enough that every few turns you had to stop and/or get out of the way to let the sluff run by down the mountain.

IMG_0069 1044

IMG_0075 1046

IMG_3328

IMG_0076 1054

By 11:00 we were off the north face and got to work on traversing out. We moved quickly as the last thing we wanted was to get stuck in mashed potato snow on the ski out through the trees. Skiing along the creek was our call, and it was a good one. There were only a couple melted through spots, with the vast majority of the creek being covered deeply in supportive snow. Just about noon we got back to the bridge across the creek, and after that it’s just a couple minutes of skating back to the car.

IMG_0078 1204

La Plata was my anti-Humboldt, the one amazing day in the hills I needed to keep me coming back for a few more sufferfests. I can’t wait for the next one.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s