La Plata Peak
Ellingwood Ridge - Class 3
The route description for Ellingwood Ridge reads 10 miles, 5900ft, class 3. Given complex route finding and numerous snow issues our day was 10.8 miles, 6500ft vertical and took roughly 13 hours. We travel at a moderate pace but this route was a big day and some of the snow climbs and crossings made a few sections feel sketchy. The snow was too soft to support climbing and the dirt was completely saturated making slide risk significant in a few areas. Looking for alternative routes was also time consuming. The weather was good most of the day with clouds building then dispersing with no real threat. However when we reached the summit a massive storm appeared to the west... it was evident we were going to get hammered. So we immediately started our hike down the class II northwest ridge. Mid way down the summit pitch is when the storm hit us. There was snow, rain and high winds but no thunder or lightning. We were cold and wet and had a hard time seeing with the wind whipping against us. It was uncomfortable but we were thankful to be descending the class II standard route as opposed to still being on the chanellenging maze of Ellingwood Ridge. This route was long and physical and seemed to go on forever. However we had a fantastic day and a true adventure. I wont forget it any time soon and hope to climb this route again.
Here is a link for the GPX file from our trip.