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La Plata Peak Trail #1474
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15 by photographer avatarBobP
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La Plata Peak Trail #1474South Central, CO
South Central, CO
Hiking avatar Sep 05 2014
BobP
Hiking9.25 Miles 4,414 AEG
Hiking9.25 Miles
4,414 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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fricknaley
The odds of us completing this hike were a long shot. But just like hitting that 50:1 horse, it does sometimes happen. I figured we’d drive to the trailhead and snap a few photos and then have the rest of the day to watch football and drink beer. Luckily, we were able to do that and summit a 14er.

The forecast was horrible and it had rained all night and I didn’t sleep well at 10K ft above sea level. The first mistake I made was not packing my lunch. I’m sure that fact and other issues contributed to what would happen to me on the drive home.

La Plata was named in 1874 by the USGS. La Plata is Spanish for silver which was mined in the area. The mountain is ranked 5th on the ruler scale of the CO 14ers. We took the standard NW Ridge route. Most books and gps routes and websites have this route at 9-9.25 miles and 4,500ft of AEG. Nick’s stats were 9.27 miles and 4,414ft AEG, so pretty close.

The hike starts by walking down a road and walking over a newly constructed bridge. The trailhead is about a ¼ of a mile further down and there are no trespassing signs for the private property. You follow the trail to another smaller bridge looking down you see the creek and looking up you see the creek in a cool slot. I walked out to a point and checked out the falls from above. The sound of the rushing water was exhilarating. The next creek crossing was a bunch of fallen trees/branches stacked next to each other. Next up, you ascend the Lincoln log stairs. You are hiking thru the forest along La Plata Gulch and before you know it the real climb begins. You hit a clearing and you’ll put your back to the gulch and put your head down and chug up the steep switchbacks. If you do look up, you’ll see the ridge and the work still needed to be done. It was foggy and sometimes plants looked like Nick.

Once on the ridgeline, you’ve gained about 2.8K of aeg and still have about a Squaw Peak and a half left to summit. Most of what is to come is rocky and add in some spicy snow and now it’s an adventure. I made new tracks in the snow but also at times I covered up Nick’s puny size 9.5 track with my colossal 11.5 footprint. We were wearing the exact same model of brand new Salomons.

I didn’t have a lunch or summit brew. On the hike out, I went from feeling sick to feeling awful. We took a break at the clearing and I ate a few snacks but that didn’t help. I quickly went from awful to grosso and couldn’t wait to get back to the trailhead. But there were still some cool things to see now that we had already summitted. I especially enjoyed seeing the falls and slot from a different angle.

We made it back to the truck and I laid down in the backseat and soon the sweats came. I asked Nick to pull over so I could get in the front. We drove about 50ft and stopped again and I added to the lush green landscape. I won’t go into any more details but later I was able to drink a few post hike craft brews and at dinner I was able to scarf down ½ a 16” pizza and ½ a loaf of garlic bread. This was the first time I had problems in altitude in CO. While I was puking, Nick was checking into alternative plans that didn't involve me.
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