La Plata Peak: North Ridge Direct Variation (Winter Route)

Trip Details

Elevation: 14,366 Feet

Elevation Gain: 4,500 Feet

Distance: 11 Miles

Gear: Ice axe, microspikes

For our Advanced Mountaineering School graduation climb, our group decided to do La Plata peak as an overnight trip. It was a successful summit and a lot of fun. The overall trip ended up being about 11 miles and 4,500 feet of gain.

We hiked in Saturday afternoon at camped at 11,600 feet. Since the forecast was calling for 7+ inches of snow by Sunday night, we decided to get an early start at 5am. Despite the early start, it was still a long day and we ended up getting back to the cars at 4pm.

Overall we did pretty good but we both got headaches at the summit. Justin also had some nausea throughout the day but it went away after dropping back below 11k. Just for fun we brought a pulse oximeter up to camp to see how we responded. Jenn was around 86 at camp but Justin was only at 78. Need to look more into that as we get ready for Bolivia in June.

Jenn and I originally thought this hike would be pretty easy in a day but after this weekend we realized it would be one heck of a long day. Not carrying the camping gear up would probably help a bit but it would still be a full day of hiking.

Lessons Learned:

  • Sleeping at altitude is really hard
  • Bring more salty food and less sugar
  • Strategic packing really makes a difference and makes it easier to find things and re-pack when you break down camp


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