La Plata Peak

Featured photo of La Plata Peak

La Plata Peak is a spectacular summit, the fifth highest in Colorado. It is located six miles south of Mount Elbert, Colorado's highest. Its most arresting feature is its rugged north face and northeast ridge, named the Ellingwood Ridge after Albert Ellingwood, a great pioneer of Rocky Mountain technical climbing in the 1920's and 1930's. Ellingwood was the first person to tackle the ridge, which is long and narrow and is comprised of pinnacles, cuts and sheer rock faces. The ridge presents a serious climbing challenge, and no successful winter ascent was made on the ridge until 1974.

Elevation (feet): 14,336
Elevation (meters): 4,370
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Sawatch Range
State: Colorado
Latitude: 39.0294
Longitude: -106.473
Difficulty: Scramble
Best months for climbing: Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep
Year first climbed: 1873
First successful climber(s): The Hayden Survey
Nearest major airport: Denver, Colorado
Convenient Center: Leadville, Colorado

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 69 trip reports for La Plata Peak.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #20572 - by Greg Gooch on Jan 02, 2007
    how many false peaks can one mountain have. seemed to take forever.
  • Log #19405 - by Patrick L. Lilly on Sep 27, 2006
    A day hike from the Winfield trailhead, up the SW ridge with daughter Trish. Very little snow for the date. Sunny, but windy most of the day. Her 17th 14er, my 25th.
  • Log #19719 - by Ralph Rice Jr. on July 11, 2006
    Originally planned to ascend the NW route from HWY 82, we (Randy and I) opted for the Southwest route out of Winfield. We were not disappointed! As many have stated, the false summits may briefly...
  • Log #4359 - by Jeff & Caryn Cahill, Jeff Stewart on Nov 01, 2004
    We were thwarted by severe weather a year ago, but this time we got it. We still had clouds and rain in the top 1500' which made us wish we had gotten started by 6:00 rather than 7:00. This is a...
  • Log #4363 - by David Marcus on Nov 01, 2004
    No trail last 1000' then, just 2nd-class scramble. Beautiful peak and views.
  • Log #4298 - by Mike Sommars on Sep 19, 2004
    Summited the day after what was possibly the first snow of the season. Had about six inches of snow on the summit.
  • Log #4299 - by Karen on Aug 19, 2004
    If you're trying to get away from the crowds to enjoy the mountains in solitude & beauty, the best route is Roaches 11.3- the SW ridge from the West Winfield Trailhead. It was virtually virgin...
  • Log #4300 - by Wayne Schmitt on Aug 16, 2004
    A little more difficult climb than I expected, but still a great trail. No clear path in some places but easy enough to make your way. Some steep climbs. About 9 hours round trip.
  • Log #4301 - by John Nichols on July 23, 2004
    Despite a 615am start at the NW ridge trailhead off CO 82, ended up trail running as much of the route as possible to beat the early, ominous clouds. Route finding was challenging in last 1000...
  • Log #4302 - by Jr on June 07, 2004
    Wow, great climb! There are spectacular views of amazing terrain all the way up. The weather was beautiful all day long, just a tad windy. Good thing too, we ended up spending 10 hours on this one!...
  • Log #4303 - by Frank Reddick on May 05, 2004
    Ellingwood Ridge with a guide, and had a wonderful day. Not a cloud in the sky, and we were able to take our time and reach the summit at our leisure.
  • Log #4304 - by Tal on Sep 12, 2003
    This is a nice hike all the way to the top as long as the weather holds out. Watch the west for storms, it is blocked by a series of peaks so if a bad storm rolls in you have only a short time before...
  • Log #4305 - by Deborah Fronsdahl on Sep 12, 2003
    My 7th successful 14er summit (of 22 attempts at various peaks) and second summit of the year. Might have to do this one again just to take in the breathtaking view of Ellingwood Ridge again....
  • Log #4306 - by Jack Cunningham on Sep 10, 2003
    I believe I took what is known as the southwest ridge trail from Winfield. Really just a good hike. Steep in a couple sections. Much of the hike is through a beautiful high alpine meadow.
  • Log #4307 - by Gary Meyer on Sep 08, 2003
    Started on the Northwest Ridge trail at 6:30am with my friend Ken. The peak was hidden in the clouds and it started to drizzle about a mile up the trail. We decided to press on. We reached the summit...
  • Log #4308 - by Kara Diamond- Husmann on Sep 05, 2003
    Wonderful hike. My husband had already done this peak from a different route. I wanted to take my cousin from Chicago up a Colorado 14er. She loved it and wants to do more next year.
  • Log #4309 - by Jeff Cramer on Sep 04, 2003
    John and I started from the W. Winfield TH at 7 am and approached La Plata from the South face. I found the trek through the woods to be rather welcoming and the hike was very scenic. We were able to...
  • Log #4310 - by Yusuf Siddiqui on Sep 02, 2003
    The view from the top of this peak is magnificent, one of the best -- if not the best (so far, #18) -- I've seen from a Colorado 14er! The Collegiates are so close that they are in your face to the...
  • Log #4311 - by Nitin on Aug 18, 2003
    Awesome..don't let the level 2 rating lull you..its a little tougher than that. A lot of climbing over talus and carefully watching for the rock cairns. On my way up there was a huge thunderstorm...
  • Log #4312 - by CHAD YATES on Aug 17, 2003
    I think I remember this experience correctly... camped at the Difficult Campground just outside Aspen after a concert the night before. Woke up, hung over, in below freezing temps and started hiking...
  • Log #4313 - by Dan Spellman on Aug 04, 2003
    False summits everywhere, so brace yourself. The coolest scenery of any climb I've least 2/3 of the climb is surrounded by rugged peaks. Take a lot of film.
  • Log #4314 - by Chris on July 30, 2003
    Climbed up fro the Lake Creek side. A great hike. about a third of the way in you enter a gorgeous glacial valley. Then you gain the saddle and hike through a boulder field (watch for the cairns)till...
  • Log #4315 - by Susan Subak on July 28, 2003
    Quite an experience, with wonderfully varied terrain on the approach (southern route).
  • Log #4316 - by Dan Miller / Bill Schmitz on July 14, 2003
    Great Mountain - fun climb. A little more bouldering than we expected but still an enjoyable day hike. We only saw about a dozen or so other people - amazing for a nice summer weekend. We approached...
  • Log #4317 - by Lane Keough, John Keough and Keough on July 10, 2003
    We started out on the most perfect of mornings, ascending through the trees above Winfield into the Willow basin and then onto the steep ridge with the cliff outcrops. We summitted the first of the...
  • Log #4318 - by Phil Smith on July 05, 2003
    Came at it from Winfield with a group of summer campers from Sky Valley Ranch in Buena Vista. We were unaware of the ridge which took considerable time to cross. An amazing climb and vista. Beautiful...
  • Log #4319 - by Evan Green on June 30, 2003
    i climbed this peak back in 1995 with a group of 11. i was only 15 a the time but to this day i can still remember the adrenaline rush of climbin up that bad boy. we got caught in a hail storm half...
  • Log #4320 - by Jim Wills III on June 30, 2003
    For being Colorado's 5th highest peak, the climb was rather easy going. Once in the boulder field however the trail becomes very non-descript and is easy to lose. Just keep heading up and you'll...
  • Log #4321 - by justin sterger, sean spinney on June 30, 2003
    I climbed La Plata with my best friend Sean Spinney ( age 23). Sean and I grew up together in Wheat Ridge Colorado. Sean's body was found today in the San Juan Wilderness near Conejos. We...
  • Log #4322 - by Ryan Badtke on Oct 15, 2002
    Beautiful trail, pretty easy hike, doing it again taking Ellingwood Ridge next year. This was #12 of the 34 14ers I summited this past summer. Hope to finish all 54 by 2003 or 2004. If you ever want...
  • Log #4323 - by Adam Wallin on Sep 28, 2002
    the weather can change very quickly on this mountain A storm can come from the west very quikly and very violent. I got caught in a severe snow storm near the summit. All in all it was a good...
  • Log #4324 - by Eric Jones on Sep 23, 2002
    Ellingwood Ridge - They say that there is a route that does not exceed Class 3...I certainly never found it. This climb takes a good deal of time and competence, and oh yes, fitness too. Do not...
  • Log #4325 - by Paul and Sally Thielking on Sep 19, 2002
    Took Northwest Ridge Route accompanied by wife Sally, children Clay and Brooke and son-in-law Paul Sams. Parked car on Col. 82 at 5:30 A.M. and followed obvious trail to ridge where we were greeted...
  • Log #4326 - by Michael Jake on Sep 16, 2002
    Hiked from the Winfield Trailhead - lots of false summits! Beautiful day! #34 for me #14 for Lori.
  • Log #4327 - by Bryan Ward on Sep 14, 2002
    A great mountain. We did the approach from the Winfield Trail/SW ridge. A nice hike through the trees next to a stream the entire way. Then on through a basin with a view of the looming slopes.
  • Log #4328 - by Chris Monck on Sep 02, 2002
    Fantastic climb. 7 hours round trip. Consumed 65 oz of Gatorade which was enough to prevent dehydration for me. Spectaculr views especially of the Ellingwood ridge as well as many of the surrounding...
  • Log #4329 - by Stuart Nutting on Aug 27, 2002
    La Plata Peak was my first 14er and it was a magnificent hike. We started with five of us and three of us finished, but not without a few moments of doubt. Have a nice water break at the square...
  • Log #4330 - by Derrick Neikam on Aug 05, 2002
    Northwest Ridge. 1000+'/PH. Had a fairly miserable trip. Didn't feel well the entire route up and down.
  • Log #4331 - by Kristen Bjorkman on July 16, 2002
    La Plata was my first fourteener. I moved from Minnesota last August and was convinced that I should experience some fourteeners. What an experience La Plata was! Ascending through the forest next to...
  • Log #4332 - by Mike Wolfe on July 09, 2002
    My first 14er in Colorado. Started from the Winfield side - encountered no one else on the trail until we reached the summit. That darn false summit after the scramble up the boulders was a little...
  • Log #4333 - by Patrick Jernigan on July 02, 2002
    Just a note that I found the comments of Aaron Batte to be very appropriate. I would hate to see our peaks become a Disneyland for "fourteener" goers. If one can not follow a map and route...
  • Log #4365 - by Jennifer Petrik & Ron Gratkowski on Nov 27, 2001
    The best built trail I've seen. I climbed a lot of Colorado's 14ers and this is a great one. not too many people. and you hike up a beautiful green valley with a fresh stream to sit by.
  • Log #4334 - by Daren O'Brien on Sep 14, 2001
    Started out at North trailhead parking lot 6:20am. It was cold so we pushed to start out quick to warm up. Got to the summit at 10:30. We hiked through 2-5 inches of new snow above timberline which...
  • Log #4335 - by Kristine Kinzli on Aug 10, 2001
    We took the "less traveled route" up the south/west facing slope. Nancy, John (from NY - his 1st 14er), Alex and Beau. Initial hike into the valley was beautiful. Your not finished after...
  • Log #4336 - by Aaron Batte on Aug 07, 2001
    Dear Debbie & Michael Helmut, I don't mean this to be a forum for backcountry debate; however, I think that it would be more appropriate for California to "borrow a page" from Colorado on how to let...
  • Log #4337 - by Matthew Murray on Aug 07, 2001
    This mountain was long and tiring, but the views were incredible....not on my short list to climb again, however. Will sign the summit logs for Huron Pk, Uncompahgre Pk, and Castle Pk next year.
  • Log #4338 - by William Linton on July 20, 2001
    Never seperate from your party in low visibility!
  • Log #4339 - by Helmut, Debbie & Michael on July 19, 2001
    As Mt.Whittney Graduates(1999),this was our 1st 14er in Colorado. Our estimated climb of 4-5 hours turned into 7.5 hours and 12hours round trip. As California hikers, we were surprised over the lack...
  • Log #4340 - by Stephen M. Geering on July 16, 2001
    Without a trail map, evidently took what seemed to be the longer route. Straight up through the valley next to the stream. Must have missed the switchbacks up the NW ridge. Went straight at it and...
  • Log #4341 - by Aaron Batte on June 27, 2001
    The West Winfeild route is great with little traffic and great views.
  • Log #4343 - by Aaron Money on Dec 19, 2000
    A few buddies and I started at about 6AM and summitted in the late morning, proud to have (slowly) made it. It was a beautiful day until after we'd rested at the peak for about an hour. A storm...
  • Log #4344 - by Patrick ODonnell on Nov 26, 2000
    Try the Ellingwood Ridge (north east side of the mountain) in the winter for a unsurpassed mountainneering experience. It took us 2 1/2 days to summit, what was tricky 4th class was now iced up 5.4...
  • Log #4345 - by Matt Kirk on Nov 03, 2000
    Greetings 14er climbers and enthusiasts. I just wanted to let everyone know that there should be a 14ers forum coming soon at If you have the time, please come by and...
  • Log #4346 - by Craig Ayler on Oct 02, 2000
    In 1978 I had parked at the campground and crossed the creek (river) and worked our way up. Great climb but my then to be wife proved to be a novice. This weekend (20 yrs later) I climbed La Plata...
  • Log #4347 - by craig donaldson on Sep 04, 2000
    hiked up to shelf under ridge set camp spent night very windy in gusts--began accent at 6am sunday made summit at 9am two hours back to camp---did'nt realize I hiked up so high until going out with...
  • Log #4348 - by bryan kruger on Aug 13, 2000
    this was my first fourteener experience. what a great way to start my climbing "career". coming to the top of the first ridge and seeing ellingwood ridge looming over the valley was a sight...
  • Log #4349 - by Jarrett Luttrell on Aug 04, 2000
    One of those days when everyone seems to be at work but you. I could'nt get a hold of any friends for this one. WHO NEEDS'EM! I climbed the standard route (NW ridge) to camp at treeline, summiting...
  • Log #4350 - by Jimn Seiler on Aug 02, 2000
    This peak,like most of Colorados 14ers has a well maintained trail most of the way up.The worst the trail gets is a visible climbers trail.The veiws are incredible,and getting to see ellingwood ridge...
  • Log #4351 - by Carl E. Helton on July 25, 2000
    This was my 5th fourteener. The first 1.5 miles of the trail is pretty tuff in a full backpack but the trail is really nice. We started calling it the "Martha Stewart" trail because it is...
  • Log #4352 - by Jim Mallory on Apr 28, 2000
    Another great day in October. This whole month turned out to be great for climbing. This was my 14th fourteener.
  • Log #4353 - by David Hatchet Dyer on Feb 13, 2000
    West Winfield trail is nice hike.
  • Log #4355 - by Doug Parr and Tim Parr on Dec 09, 1999
    What a wonderful hike! We had a clear, warm day and not too much company. We met only 20 other people and half a dozen dogs. We spent over an hour on the summit with three other hikers. They were...
  • Log #4356 - by Evan Groutage on Nov 22, 1999
    Over the mountains there are more mountains
  • Log #4357 - by Mason C. on Nov 15, 1999
    The peak seeems to be getting further the closer you get to it.
  • Log #4358 - by Izzy Grossinger on Aug 24, 1999
    Summited via the Southwest Ridge in less than 4 hours. Straightforward, trail all the way, although the trailhead is a little tricky to find. Another party did not find the trailhead, became lost and...
  • Log #4360 - by Dan Sutton on July 23, 1999
    Gorgeous day, nice peak, terrific climb. Straight walk-up on NW ridge route. Good workout. Great place for an overnight in the valley.
  • Log #4361 - by Eric Byers on May 03, 1999
    No climbing involved. All hiking. Last 1000' is all rocks though.
  • Log #4362 - by Jim Bauer on Feb 22, 1999
    Attempt this spring after Crestone Needle last year as another of Ellingwood's routes.
  • Log #4364 - by Kirk Mallory on Feb 07, 1999
    Great trail all the way up. The Colorado Fourteeners Iniative did a great job! The weather could have been better. Lots of clouds - I summited about 9 AM, and saw a few flakes of snow. It rained...